Everyone deserves a second chance. It was a Japanese restaurant, but after a year that has closed due to stiff competition. The original owners opened a Shanghainese restaurant in the same location.
Spring in Shanghai 春在上海 is their second restaurant of the same name, the first is located along the Pudong riverside at LuJiaZui Financial Area. In a town with cut-throat competition and many outstanding Shanghainese restaurant, it’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks. And Spring in Shanghai intended to do just that.
Taking the classic Shanghainese cooking techniques and modern presentation, they have come up with something really chic.
Take their 凉菜 Appetisers, instead of the usual boring wine marinate and braising, they have made the appetisers look better with presentation and more delicate taste.
For example, 北极贝捞汁秋葵 Okra, pacific clam in vinegar sauce, they take the humble okra, blanched it and collapse the okra into a weaving starlet with nifty knifework. Then, it is topped with julienned pacific clam and scallions. The whole dish is topped with a vinegar soy sauce with pacific clam juice for that extra umami.
四季糟香拼盘 Four seasons in wine marinate is the classic Shanghainese wine marinate dish. Shrimp, pig stomach, duck tongue and edamame – all of them are infused with the sweet yellow wine marinate to the right level. The stomach is crunchy, the shrimp firm and sweet and the edamame is not mushy. Presentation is clean and simple.
潮汕水晶鱼冻 Teochew fish aspic is not exactly Teochew origin. Although the fish is similar to the Teochew fish rice 鱼饭, the fish is thinly encrusted with a layer of jelly from the gelatine dried from boiling the fish like an aspic. Very simple but very flavourful.
The first of the hot dishes that came next was 龙虾麻婆豆腐 Lobster mapo tofu. A variation to the Sichuan classic of mapo-tofu, it is made classier with the introduction of lobster. It didn’t disappoint. It remains distinctly mapo-tofu, but the addition of lobster gave it the surprise and update required to a very tired dish.
江南鹅肝煎藕饼 Minced meat with foie gras with lotus roots take the traditional stuffed lotus lotus and update it with foie gras, The result is a very rich and satisfying dish. Who would not like a pate filled stuffed lotus root that has been deep fried.
荷香腊味蒸鸡 Lotus leaf wrapped steamed chicken with preserved meat in contrast is not that exciting. It reminded me of the Cantonese lotus wrapped chicken. But this method of steaming chicken is quintessential Huaiyang cuisine. Instead of bamboo shoot, preserved sausage is used.
家烧杭白菜 Home-style Hangzhou cabbage is the simplest of the lot. Sliced pork belly that provides the bacon-like texture to the stir-fry cabbage. The stock is rich with meat taste that lifts the bland cabbage. The thinly sliced pork belly reminded me of salted pork that my mom used to make.
Finally, Shanghai wanton upgraded with 黑松露大馄饨 Truffle wantons. The classic pork wanton is enhanced with truffle bits. The wanton is then cooked in pork stock. Very satisfying end to the lunch.
This could almost be fine dining in terms of food quality, but the environment is not up to scratch (the tables are too close to each other and there’s no privacy) and the service is patchy. Given the price level of the dishes, it is going for the long run.
Spring in Shanghai 春在上海
Date Visited : Jun 2019