In addition to the food aspect of this resto, I wanted to set aside some words to talk about what I have observed in relation to the overall management of this family-run style resto. I am no expert in running a restaurant at all but I am interested in this one among all the others because it so happens this restaurant has been recently featured by one of the popular Chinese food publication and one can find a copy of it on every other table or even a few on a large shared table.
There is nothing wrong in following the recommendation from food magazines but one has to be prepared for some surprises depending on the type and size of restaurants. Shanghai Mei Wah 上海美華菜館 is an old school Shangainese resto tucked away in To Kwa Wan with its decor remained unchanged for the last 2 decades perhaps. When we arrived, a small crowds surrounded the entrance, each group holding the mentioned magazine in hand. (Quite a scene actually)
No waiting numbers were assigned, only by memory of the Shanghainese lady (one of the owners) who seemed to be doing 3 roles at the same time. After a 20 minutes wait, we got our seats finally. There were much yelling all around, staff calling out dishes because of wrong orders and wrong dishes for the wrong tables, missing orders and everything along the line. We got ourselves a wrong dish as well so we did not miss out any action. .... Anyhow, the bottom line of my story is that ... load management / capacity management / stress management or whatever you want to call it ... is a very important aspect of a resto business. The weakness (including food quality of course) will surface immediately when you have a sudden spike in business due to whatever reasons and not ready for it.
If you do want to pay a visit, I recommend you to do it later when the hype dies down a little bit. In any case, I consider this more of an experience than a great meal that would lure me back any time soon.
We started off with the marinated bamboo shoot (cold dish) but it was quite warm because the whole tray of it was literally sitting right next to me above my shoulder where the shelf was without any sort of cover. We each tasted once and we all decided we should stop. Both texture and flavors were a bit ... off. It was super extremely firm and the taste was ... hard to describe. the lady owner saw our plate barely touched at the end of the meal so she asked us if it was no good. We told her what we thought and she politely said that she will cancel it and apologized for the less than perfect cold dish.
Xiao Loong Bao was disappointing with a very dough tip and tick dough / skin. The meat filling was rather dense and lacked juice inside.
Stir-fried eel was really ... thick, both the sauce and the shredded eel pieces. Flavor was rich and deep but too much in my opinion.
Scrambled egg with beef. It looked more like beef with plenty of starch! Lacked flavors did I mention that? Thumbs down.
Rather ordinary wonton chicken soup plus it wasn't not very hot when served.
Shanghainese Stir-fried noodles were ... very doughy which I think can be cooked a bit longer in my opinion. Unexciting.
- Caring service form the lady owner
- Rather chaotic scene during peak hours with wrong and missing orders, likely due to sudden peak of business as a result from recent coverage by Chinese food publication. Thanks to the lady owner and her strong / deep voice, she managed to control the whole serving crew from kitchen, dining area and cashier.
- Xiao Loong Bao - thick dough / skin & tip
Shanghai Mei Wah 上海美華菜館
13 Maidstone Lane, To Kwa Wan