Now considering I’m going to be staying at the Oakwood again fairly soon before my imminent departure from Hangzhou, I thought it prudent to check out the new menu. I’ve actually been popping in there a fair few times recently and have been impressed with their menu revolution and innovation. Just a few weeks ago at Easter I was treated to Beef Wellington, Eggs Benedict and a faithful interpretation of bread and butter pudding and I still salivate when I think about it.
Anyway, on with the new menu and to what is by far one of the most neglected food groups in Hangzhou. I’m talking about the humble sandwich here and everybody knows that Hangzhou simply does not come close in this area to anything you can get in Shanghai. Well that’s all just changed, albeit in one restaurant alone, as the Oakleaf are now making killer sandwiches that will leave anything else in town dead in their tracks. The new GM, Brian Connolly, has a real taste for homeliness (which you’d expect, considering that’s the business he is in) and using that as a starting point, he has cajoled and nurtured the chefs to create, after many trials and tribulations, finely honed renditions of some real classics. First up I sank my teeth into the Philly Cheesesteak, with beautifully seasoned tender slices of rib-eye steak with sautéed onions, green bell peppers and pickles, topped off with melted cheese on a large freshly baked roll of bread. Now at this point, I was thinking Wow! Awesome! And Winner! But little did I know that the legendary Reuben Sandwich up next was going to be a taste explosion on the scale of the birth of our own galaxy. Simply put, this Reuben was righteous in every possible way. The succulent corned beef (wet cured and boiled brisket) was creating the best kind of culinary chemistry there is with the sauerkraut, pickles, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing between two thick slices of freshly baked rye bread. This is food porn at its best and I’m honestly feeling a little uneasy about giving you that description, but hopefully you’ll see it for what it’s worth.
To round things off, I tried a bite or two of the grilled vegetables on focaccia, which was lightly seasoned with balsamic vinegar. Again, another winner, and certainly more of a female choice than the hungry man hoagies, but nonetheless equally appetizing and appealing for the vegetarians amongst us.
I also tried out the Cobb Salad, which was heartily authentic in every way and is a large enough portion to satisfy a very hungry man. Essentially it is a platter of all the required ingredients, which is then scraped into the bowl. The dressing is then poured on and tossed before your very eyes if the staff are non-too busy, otherwise, get busy yourself!
The Oakleaf menu retains some of the old favourites including the burger, nasigoreng, Hainan chicken rice and the pizza and pastas, but do look out for the New England crab cakes, the Malaysian Laksa and the Smoked Salmon with Bagel Chips and cream-cheese dip.
The salad was 78RMB and the sandwiches are from 68RMB to 78RMB ++ and are served with French fries, cross-cut fries or potato salad.