Newly opened in the increasingly busy Yanping-Wuding neighborhood, this upscale South American grill delivers on all fronts: ceviche, steaks, tartare, wine, cocktails, you name it. There’s enough smokey grilled deliciousness for a classy group dinner or a romantic date for two.
It was a bistro-style menu, quality by limited choices. Most of the grilled stuff can be shared by two or more. We were on a business dinner, and so we ordered a couple of starters and a couple of meat to share.
The bread basket was complimentary and was served with a moreish and smooth smoked salted and black pepper butter, and a savoury and rich seaweed and garlic butter. Both were addictive.
Oysters on the rocks, they had some fresh French belon available. Usually I would not order raw food in China, but in recent years, the oysters trade seemed to be doing fine, so I can safely order some in reputable restaurants.
Another of the starters we ordered was their signature Icelandic codfish ceviche, seafood tempura, leche de tigre (‘tiger’s milk’, a citrus-based marinade). The ceviche was balanced, with the mild fish had been soaking in the zingy and peppery citrus juice, and teaming well texturally with the fried corn kernels and slivers of chilli.
We opted for an old world wine from Spain, as the others were either too new for drinking now, or did not suit what we ordered. Luis Cañas Reserva is a red wine from La Rioja produced by Bodegas Luis Cañas. It is a blend of Tempranillo (95%) and Graciano (5%). The grapes used to make this wine comes from vineyards that are 40 years old. The alcoholic fermentation is carried out for three weeks at a temperature of 28º. Subsequently aging takes place in barrels, two-year-old French oak (70%) and American (30%) oak. Luis Cañas Reserva is aged for 18 months in the barrel and in the bottle for another 18 before marketing.
Bodegas Luis Cañas produce excellent value wines, the best found on the market. This vintage was marked by a very rainy and cold spring just at the time of the growth cycle. This fact caused it to ripen unevenly and with a certain delay. Thanks to a fairly dry September and October, the grapes that ripened with a certain delay were harvested in a selective manner. A complicated vintage, but with good results since there was an exhaustive selection of the grapes. A good balance between concentration and acidity in their youth define the wines from this vintage. Parker gave it a 89, so-so, but it paired very well with both the chicken and beef that we ordered.
Raw boasts a Josper oven – good for grilling meat at high temperatures and for enhancing natural flavours with charcoal. This was evident in the smokiness in the roasted Argentinian half chicken, served with a sous-vide egg with sprinkling of bacon bits and charred stuff that I could not fathom what they were. The chicken was tender and moist, one of the best specimen I have tasted in Shanghai.
Steaks played an important role on the menu. Although the selection was considerably small (only Chilean free-range Wagyu and Argentinian Aberdeen Angus were on offer), the focus was on quality over quantity
We ordered the 250g Chilean wagyu thin skirt that arrived pre-sliced on a wooden board with fried onion, a garlic bulb and salt perfect for sharing. The meat was cooked to our preference of medium-rare and each bite was packed with the real meaty flavour that’s often absent in easier or softer cuts.
For the complimentary two sides, we chose Josper baked cauliflower and mixed tomato salad, fresh oregano, shallot vinaigrette. The cauliflower was really tasty and the tomato salad added the tang required for a really fatty piece of beef.
Taking over the second storey of the building formerly home to La Stazione, Raw has been fitted out with a large bar in the dining room’s centre and a dry-aged beef cabinet that evokes love at first sight. The atmosphere is friendly and warm.
Don’t go to Raw Eatery and Wood Grill if you’re after foams or sauce smears. This newcomer is keeping things simple by focusing on fresh ingredients prepared or cooked in a way that best preserves their natural flavour. The result is honest and hearty food, and dishes that are easy to enjoy.
The simple but authentic food and warm and welcoming ambience look set to make Raw Eatery and Wood Grill a Jingan dining hotspot. This is definitely one to check out – especially if you enjoy stepping away from fine dining and eating honest (and not to mention damn tasty) food.
Raw Eatery and Wood Grill
98 Yanping Lu, Jing’An District, Shanghai, China
Tel : +86 21 5175 9818
Date visited : Dec 2017