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Cinker Pictures: Unimaginative Space Food With A Private Cinema

Unforgettable for all the wrong reasons

 

Cinker Pictures has the one draw that’ll motivate us to go to the mall, and that’s the movies. They also have a dining room and bar, but most of the food is beyond comprehension.

 

 

Cinker is a Beijing-born concept that centers its business on its top-of-the-line private theater, screening a curated catalog of films from classics, avant-garde, and non-commercial titles, with the hopes of attracting professionals and institutions within the film and culture industry. Located in the newly opened Taikoo Hui mall, the Shanghai venue has a private cinema for 26 people.

 

 

The interiors, inspired by the “Space Age of the 70s and artistic decorations of the 40s”, doesn’t come off as cohesive as they’d have imagined. It feels like we’ve wandered onto a rejected space-type B-movie set piece.

 

 

The bar area is akin to a waiting room, and the dining room is sparse and cold—reflective surfaces, steel, that swatch of millennial pink, and random vintage imagery. It would be more appealing if they threw in some camp, like, have servers dressed in Back to the Future II attire.

 

 

Introduced as one of their signature dishes, the 8 Vegetables & Tuber Puree (RMB48) looks like space food from a squeezy bottle. Each ring may be a different color, but it’s all the same consistency with odd, muddled flavors that remind us of barbecue sauce and ketchup with a hint of earthiness. It’s not a soup, it’s not a spread, and it’s not distinct or enjoyable. It's made with vegetables that have been blitzed in a food processor. We don’t understand its place on the menu.

 

 

The Patatas Bravas (RMB38) fares better. It reportedly takes over a day to cook and prep—sitting in brine, then a slow boil, and finally into the fryer. In the end, it’s just cubed, fried potatoes with garlic puree. It’s difficult to mess up. It came highly recommended by our server and is lauded by the chef, making it sound like it is best that Cinker has to offer.

 

 

Burrata Di Bufala Campana (RMB108), served like a xiaolongbao with light vinegar and chives, is the most enjoyable of the bunch. Again, burrata is hard to fault.

 

One of the “Preview Bites”, the Wagyu Beef Short Rib (RMB88), served with piquillos and mint, sounds great on paper, but turns out to be two small, unimaginative bites that are simply not worth the price tag.

 

 

The Wagyu Carpaccio (RMB168) is unnecessarily blanketed in black truffle, manchego and chives. All you’ll taste is cheese.

 

 

The Suckling Pig (RMB268) main has that desirably crackly skin, and is sufficiently salted and juicy. However, the plating is sad—two cutlets alongside a stack of cured apple slices and mixed veg that don't add to the dish and appears to be an afterthought.

 

 

The lunch set is anything but “great value”: Two courses for RMB138, three for RMB188, four for RMB228. The snapper carpaccio (+RMB12) lacks a dash of seasalt.

 

 

The recommended lunch main, the baked bomba rice with squid and guanciale, also on the dinner menu, fades into mediocrity, and is also measly in portion—about three spoonfuls worth.

 

 

The food, like the space and concept, is stiff. The service is good, but no matter how you spin it, the dishes are simply not up to scratch. Some of the portions are unacceptable for the price, too. It was an unforgettable experience, but for all the wrong reasons.

 

Obviously, they’re still testing out the Shanghai market. Based on what we’ve seen, Beijing seems to do better with brunch items and seafood towers. The theater does look impressive, but that's about it.

 

Our Rating: 2/5 Stars

 

Details

What: Cinker Pictures

Address: L379B, 3/F, Taikoo Hui, 789 Nanjing Xi Lu (near Shimen Yi Lu) 石门一路288号兴业太古汇3楼L379B (近石门一路)

Tel: 6266-1708

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Rachel Gouk
Rachel Gouk is the Managing Editor at City Weekend Shanghai. She's a ball-buster, but manages to charm her way back into people's good graces. Likes food, cooking, photography and heavy metal.

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Comments

Comments

Chinatown_hustle

WOW. Where to even start? I stumbled on this review because I wanted to find out what time this restaurant opened for happy hour but HOLY HELL this has brought the meaning of mediocre reviews to a whole new level of low. With science fiction being one of my favorite genres of film (followed closely by movies that involve things that blow up) I am offended by how gloriously bad the reviewer missed the mark on practically ALL THE CLEVER CUES the owners painstakingly reference in their interior design. Did you notice the beautiful coat of steel-like paint that resembles that of a spacestation typically found in any random star trek and/or star wars episode? Or an homage to any of the Alien spaceships? Did the cinema room covered in that particular crimson red evoke any of the movies by one of the most influential science fiction directors at all? Saaaay, I don't know, Stanley Kubrick? The colorful neon installation that's in practically every bar fight scene of every single Star Wars movie? And brought back in any of the MCU movies? How about how the dining area that transports you to any number of starship canteen rooms? Clearly, the reviewer is no science fiction fan. But even if you aren't, GO DO SOME RESEARCH. Seriously, what did you think inspiration based on the "Space Age of the 70s and artistic decorations of the 40s" would look like? While I’m at it, regarding the food: having been in Shanghai for 10+ years, I've had my fair share of bad attempts at creative food items and this, in comparison, is pretty damn good. I do agree the vegetable purée dish was meh, but the suckling pig was really good. In fact, it's good enough for me to meet a friend from out of town there because I wanted to share cool and new dining experiences in Shanghai. And unfortunately, you didn't mention their pretty decent cocktail menu which is the reason I stumbled across this atrocity of a review in the first place. Last rant: recommending the servers dress in Back to the Future garb is tacky, outdated and a sad attempt to be "science fiction". The fact that this was the reviewer's point of reference for science fiction film is a clear indication that she made zero attempt to try to understand the creative aesthetic endeavor of Cinker. I think Cinker does a hell of a job replicating an environment that transports me to any number of my favorite sci-fi shows growing up. It’s a shame there was no credit given for actually trying to do something daring and different in the Shanghai dining scene.
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