Houjie struggles to cater to Western palates compared to bountiful Dongcheng, so it was a pleasant surprise when I recently heard that it has its first restaurant-bar run by a New Yorker. Situated a stone’s throw from “66 Mall” near Shanmei Metro Station, “Dreams” has been steadily gaining notoriety. As soon as this old hat heard about it, I simply had to see for myself what all the hype was about.
Having previously overseen a similar venture in the big apple, owner Scott commented, “At first I envisaged drinks only, but I love cooking and figured I would show the people of Dongguan my culinary skills.” Sticking to his original script, Scott has a basic snack menu consisting of the usual suspects. Burgers, chili dogs and meatball pizza are all on standby for any weary traveler passing through.
Added to these are various steak options, such as filet mignon for only 98 RMB, along with more extravagant dishes. Priced also at 98 RMB, the notably spicy “penne a la vodka” is a dish which Scott said he came across while on his travels. “Having spent five years living in the Ukraine with my wife, I picked up a few things,” he humbly stated during a Ukrainian dinner-party he recently hosted in the restaurant.
Naturally the restaurant has its own set menu, but they also accommodate special requests if given notice. Having seen his confidence and what he was capable of, I made it my prerogative to host my birthday party there. I told Scott exactly what I wanted and in return I was given additional suggestions and 110% effort from Scott and his staff.
Tender roast turkey and pork accompanied by “pigs in blankets” and an assortment of vegetables were perfectly rounded off by a delectable homemade strawberry pound cake dessert. What you will realize if you go to Dreams is that they do not do things by half. Their portions are very generous! And reasonably priced too, meaning that you really feel you are getting maximum bang for your buck.
My only bugbear is that Dreams is a little short on space. This cozy and intimate setting is ideal for small groups of friends or couples, but more difficult for bigger parties. However, it certainly does not affect the vibe. I am looking forward to trying their regular Sunday barbeque soon and having been a HERE! food writer for some years now, I will honestly say that this place is destined for success. and longevity.
Address: Building No.8, Hong Chang No.1 Road, Lan Shu Xia, Shan Mei Area, Houjie (next to Han Bang 66 Plaza and Xing Long Market)