There are some restaurants in Shanghai that have been around for quite some time and I have always wanted to try them. Daikichi Kappo is one of them.
Daikichi Kappō 大吉割烹 is located on the ground floor of a dilapidated building on Jinxian Road. In addition to the bar counter and two square tables seen at the entrance, there are only a couple more square tables and a couple of box seats in the adjacent area. The design and environment create a warm Japanese hospitality atmosphere.
If you are interested in communicating with the chef, you can choose a counter seat. If you just want to dine along quietly, like the Lonely Gourmet guy, you can simply sit down and other through their online app.
Kappo 割烹 simply means ‘to cut and to cook’, an all-encompassing word for a less formal cuisine that emphasises the proximity between the diner and the chef who is cutting and cooking the food. This is omakase but in a more casual setting.
The long bench on the counter displayed all the cooked dishes for the day that the 65 year old Japanese chef prepared using the freshest ingredients he gets from the local market.
Every customer at an izakaya is charged a cover charge, but usually an otoshi お通し will be served as well. This is a small appetiser that sometimes would be absolutely delicious. Tonight was a cold appetiser string bean with black sesame. But this was given for free as it is not an izakaya.
This simple meal started with a sweet appetiser, cooked pumpkin 南瓜旨煮 kabocha umani. Perfect accompaniment with my highball.
金目鲷煮付け Boiled Japanese Sea Bream is one of my favourite cooked fish dish. Came with a piece of konjac, mushroom and leek that were also simmered in the same sauce, the fish was cooked perfectly. Sweet, salty and umami all in one dish.
やりいか煮付け Simmered Yari ika (cuttlefish) was slightly overcooked in my opinion. The flavours were good, but it was similar to the ones used for the kinmedai. So I have double-ordered in terms of flavours.
Yellowtail 鰤 (ブリ) sashimi was in season during my visit. The buri was fatty and melted in mouth. And the chef was very generous with the cut, the cut was double the thickness then usual. You can see the knife mark on the fish as he moved along during the preparation.
The best comfort food for a cold winter night. Oden おでん is a type of nabemono, consisting of several ingredients such as seaweed konbu, radish daikon, konjac, beef tendons and chikuwa 竹輪 stewed in a light, soy-flavoured dashi broth. My favourites were the radish and tendon. These ingredients were tasteless on their own but when simmered in the dashi stock, they imparted flavours into the soup and inherited a sweetness of their own.
Winter bamboo shoots 冬筍 (冬竹の子) are harvested before they ever see daylight. They were boiled in water and had a crunchy and almost fibrous texture. They were served with Kewpie mayonnaise and wasabi.
穴子 天ぷら Conger Eel Tempura is a dish I seldom see in China. Once in a while, the fishermen along the coast of Shandong will catch some, but they were not delicate enough for tempura. These were high quality conger that were soft and creamy, like the ones I tasted in Japan.
Daikichi has a homely feel – very small crowd, NHK playing on the TV on the wall. The tight space meant that everyone was sitting close to each other. Strangers at the bar talk to one another, something very rare these days. I was dining alone, but I had a lovely evening sharing food notes with the persons next to me at the counter.
It was a meal long overdue. I came on the last night I was in Shanghai and I regretted it immediately as I could have gotten to know this place earlier and come more often.
Daikichi kappō 大吉割烹
Tel : +86 21 6236 6115
Date visited : Jan 2022