Shoom is a popular and busy Cantonese-style Chinese restaurant located at Fraser and 49th. The restaurant is only open for dinner service starting from 5 pm until 2 am.
This past weekend, I visited Shoom for the first time with friends and family for dinner. My friend had made a reservation for Friday night at 6 pm. Here’s a look at our very *interesting* experience.
Before visiting Shoom, I did my research by looking at a few food blogs and online reviews. The ratings were generally noted to be around average. Shoom seemed to be known for their salted egg yolk seafood dishes and many reviews mentioned the restaurant to be pricey but portions were reasonable.
Catered towards large groups
As soon as I stepped into the restaurant, I immediately noticed many large groups dining together. Most of their tables have lazy susans and there are very few 2 to 4 people dining tables.
The restaurant is has a main dining area as well as a two separate dining spaces which you get to by walking past the kitchen.
Shoom is CASH ONLY. I only know this because of online reviews. But seriously, what kind of sit-down Chinese dinner restaurant accepts cash only? It’s not like a mom-and-pop restaurant where you have a bowl of noodles for $10. What if you had to pay for the entire table? I guess you would need to bring a stack of cash to the restaurant.
Shoom Menu [Discrepencies, Shady Pricing]
Since many reviewers mentioned that Shoom was on the pricier side, I wanted to look at the menu to check out how much things cost. Shoom’s website only noted the items they serve but no pricing and photos of the menu from customers seemed to be lacking.
After our party of 5 got seated, I decided to take photos of the menu binder. You can download my photos of the menu in a compiled pdf format here.
The menu seemed a bit sketchy at first look because the prices were handwritten on round labels. I can understand a few price corrections requiring labels but all the menu prices were handwritten. Furthermore, the handwriting was not very clear and I couldn’t make it out the last digit of the price for many items ending in .95, .97 or 99?
We had two copies of the menu and I noticed that there were price discrepancies. Take for example the House Famous Peking Duck which was priced as $53.95 on one menu and $58.99(?) in the other.
The half-portion Truffle Chicken is priced $30.95 on one menu and $33.99(?) in another.
When I asked the server about the price discrepancies, she said that it was the HIGHER PRICE. Of course, it is.
Shark Fin on the Menu
I also found out that they serve Shark Fin on the menu.
What We Tried
To start, we were presented with complimentary seaweed soup served at tableside.
Our next dish was the Prawn with Salted Egg Yolk ($26.95). The prawns were reasonably sized, bouncy and had a good amount of salted egg yolk coating. Buttery and aromatic, this was a very good dish.
Next up, we had the 2-course House Famous Peking Duck ($58.99?). The first course featured duck skin pieces on a bed of shrimp chips. The golden brown duck skin pieces were reasonably crispy. We made wraps with the crepes and condiments (scallions, cucumber, Hoisin sauce).
The second course was the stir-fried meat dish with lettuce wrap. The duck meat was moist, flavourful but perhaps could be more tender.
There was also the House Special Egg Foo-Young ($18.99?). It was a Chinese-style egg omelet filled with small shrimp, purple and green onions, and bean sprouts. It was a saucy dish that was pretty flavourful. The server portioned it out for us at tableside.
We were then served complimentary desserts which were choice of red bean soup or mango pudding.
Just like the menu, the bill was also handwritten and barely legible. It was CASH ONLY. We paid around 30 per person and there were 4 adults plus a child.
The service was more-or-less reasonable. Dishes can to our table in a timely manner and we didn’t really need to flag our server down for attention.
Our tables was located in a room that is past the main dining area. At first, the area wasn’t too busy and we enjoyed a nice ambiance. However, as the evening progressed and our area started filling up, the noise level got pretty high.
Overall Impression of Shoom
- Prawns with salted egg yolk
- Price to portions were reasonable
- Complimentary soup and desserts
- Generally well-executed dishes
- Shady pricing & menu discrepancies
- CASH only for a place where you could be spending a lot. It’s not like a $20 pp dinner.
- THEY HAVE SHARK FIN ON THE MENU
In general, I wasn’t a big fan of the shady pricing stemming from the poorly handwritten menu prices and receipt and CASH only payment form. Despite presenting the price discrepancy for the Peking Duck to the server, I still had to pay the higher price. All in all, these potentially leave room for the restaurant to “cook their books” so to speak.
While the dishes were fine, I don’t see myself ever returning to dine at Shoom nor would I recommend it.
Shoom Chinese Restaurant
6555 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC