Nestled in between the mom & pop shops on Wushan road behind HubinInTime, you’ll find the new concept restaurant Elochee. This is a restaurant that is almost exclusively social media driven, from the marketing to the ordering to the paying of the bill. True, this isn’t exactly a new idea, but Elochee is going beyond this to focus its efforts on tourists looking for authentic regional food without the prices of Lou Wai Lou and The Grandma’s annoyingly long wait.
The restaurant is smallish, but bright and clean. It’s an open space and there are lots of tables; this is meant to be a place for visitors to get a good bite of Hangzhou food, not an extravagantly decorated place to hang. Elochee was started by a local tech guy, Chen Hua, who saw an opportunity to get into something real. The couple who ran a restaurant on this spot for years were looking to freshen things up a bit, and he decided this was his time to start something from the ground up. He partnered up with the couple, threw in his tech savvy, and up sprang Elochee.
We visited on opening night.Not surprisingly, the staff was still working out the kinks so were a tadinattentive. But you won’t need much of their help because the majority of your work is done using your smartphone. Just scan the QR code to link up with your WeChat and you’re off: select, select… and scan the QR code on the tabletop to send in your order. Easy as pie. Despite the fact that the food came out in the wrong order (cold dishes came last) it came out fast and it was solid. The Longjing Shrimp was fresh, fresh, fresh and definitely the best dish of the night. Don’t pass up on the nan rurou,which is a similar dish to Dong Po Pork but it’s cubed, thus making it easier for a table to share – mantou is 2 kuai each extra bun (and you will need them). The choudofu was right on: crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The sweet sauce was awesome, though the spicy could have used a little more salt. The drunken shrimp wasn’t available on the first night, but we will for sure sample it when we go back. In all, three of us ordered five dishes and it set us back only 229RMB. Not too shabby for a locale smack dab downtown.
This spot on Wushan is just the beginning for this young company.Plans to open up a second Elochee on Nanshan road are in the works. In the future, they’ll be looking for partnering opportunities in other touristcities throughout China, so you will have to follow them on WeChat to keep abreast of their expansion, and that way, you will always have a place where you’re travelling to get reasonably priced authentic food. This is really what Elochee is all about. Picture menu. No English menu. Parking available at HubinInTime.