This one's the most obvious new menu on the list because it's Michelin-anointed Tai'an Table's raison d'être: their monthly-changing degustation menu. For this edition, however, they're pumping the breaks a bit by reducing the amount of new courses in the series — to eight — and then offering more of a choice for how people want to round out their experience: you can revisit some of the earlier favorites from the past two years in their "Classics" section or try something new in their "Daily Specials", which go from 50rmb to 250rmb or so depending on the dish.
So, if you've been missing a dish on a previous edition of the menu, now's a good time to head back, and get a taste of the old hits with the new material. Part of the fun of eating at Tai'an Table is the surprise when the courses come out, so hopefully this isn't giving too much away with the photos...
Asparagus "Pahna Cotta"
Seared Hokkaido Scallop
Alfonsino Fillet Bouillabaisse
From "The Specials": Carabinero Tartar & Caviar - 265rmb
Purple Shiso Sorbet
Charcoal Grilled Pigeon
Almonds and Raspberry
I respect and am slightly awed by the passion and seriousness behind the endeavor of Tai'an Table; it's almost like they present an entirely new theatrical event every month. And hats off to them for two years of menus. If you haven't been back in a while, this new format might make it more accessible and you've also got the opportunity to sample their "Best of" for the past two years of meals, in a la carte ordering style.
The new food is, as it always is, intricate, finely-wrought, elaborate, surprising, subtle, charming, and clever. These dishes, like little solar systems unto themselves.
I get the impression that Stiller would be really good at building impossible bottles.
You gotta give it up to The Nest. Even though it feels like everyone is trying to do what they do — upscale-casual-dinner-into-cocktails-into-late-night-bites-again-with-decent-atmosphere-and-accessible-music-for-the-normals — no one is really doing what they're doing. On the menu anyways. And that holds from the new drinks on through to the new food.
Starting with the new cocktails, Mac Ross, lately of (sadly) shuttered Tour cocktail bar, with bar manager Lei He, is making his influence felt on the drinks. To wit: All these boozes come with a lil' snack guy to enjoy along with the cocktail. The show-stopper is "The Flamingo", of course, which comes with a gigantic marshmallow lollypop treat. (!) It's a Patron Silver-based thing with yellow chartreuse, and it basically hits the pallet like your first seven or eight birthday parties combined.
The Flamingo -128rmb
The correct method of drinking The Flamingo is to shove your fat smiling face behind it, take a bunch of selfies with it, and post them on your moments so that everyone can see that you're kind of a dickhead, but the fun kind of dickhead that it's hard to get mad at.
Broccoli & Cheddar - 98rmb
Even more interesting is the new broccoli cocktail... which is savory. Yeah, it's a broccoli and cheese alcoholic beverage. This sounds like a bad idea, and at first tastes like a bad idea, but then when it lingers... I don't know... it's kind of surprising, clever, and delicious. Recommended. Interesting.
Brooklyn Waffles - 88rmb
Brooklyn waffles. A little bit more straightforward. Yeah, the one with the mini waffle is comparatively straightforward. Like the broccoli one, it's a gin base. The Nest: Known for their gin.
But they're also known for their vodka. Great vodka at The Nest. I wanna say... yes, I think it's Smirnoff. Recommend their Smirnoff brand vodka.
In the menu sections "From the Land"; "From the Sea"; "From the Earth"; "From the Heavens"; "From the Chronicles of Narnia" is a collection of new offerings mixed in with old favorites that trade in the icy, silver nordic hues and forest greens that Chef Freddy Raoult has become known for (at least to me anyways). Crisp seafoods, shell fish, and veggie flavors are mixed in with heartier, meatier, Viking-saluting, we-let-no-part-of-the-reigndeer-go-to-waste sorts of dishes.
Hunter Soup - 88rmb
Dacha Salad - 68rmb
Bold Icelandic Halibut - 278rmb
You're looking at fine, consistent food, and then variously food that comes across, from presentation to taste, as extraordinary. I can't remember if this is an original thought of mine or if I stole it from somewhere but the food at The Nest is really better than it needs to be. They could rest on their success, one imagines. They don't. Good for them to keep reaching for those northern lights and taking chances with some of these.
By which I mean these next two seasonal offerings in particular. There's no other way to describe it, sorry... it's like the "East-Meets-West" (sorry) of classic summer dishes:
A classic, big ol' slab of ribs...
Raspberry-n-Stout Grilled Ribs 458rmb
...and a big ol' crayfish party.
Kraftskiva - crayfish on ice - .5 KG 298rmb; 1kg 488rmb
Yeah, you gotta give it up to them. For anchoring their big summer dishes around two items that can totally destroy their clientele's hair, make-up, and outfits. Dates will be ruined! No one's looking good eating stacks of ribs and crayfish. You're chomping on things, sucking things out of heads, bones and broken shells flying everywhere, BBQ sauce all over your face, hands dripping in garlic sauce, it's a nightmare. A delicious, delicious nightmare.
Something fun. Something different. Something that deflates the whole pretentiousness that The Bund address implies.
The Chop Chop Club was French Chef Paul Pairet’s next venture after Mr & Mrs Bund and Ultraviolet, opening in 2017 to warm reviews. The restaurant takes over the grounds of Unico every night before the club action begins. It’s a large dimly-lit lounge with enough tables to accommodate about 60 guests.
The idea for Chop Chop Social Club is to curate a dining experience where strangers sit at one table and share a meal. The menu is always secret and always changing; sometimes they’ll print off the menu half an hour before the meal with last minute changes. Pairet’s team says the experience is not unlike eating at your mom’s house, you take what’s given to you, no ordering. They've been saying that from the start, but now they're also giving you who you will be eating with as well. Timing is everything, so they instruct you to arrive by 9pm for a cocktail at the bar before dinner begins promptly at 9.30pm.
Smashed Grilled Potatoes, Salmon Roe, and Ash Lemon Cream
The meal comes out in three waves, but all starters are placed on the table just as the party sits down. And boy is there some variety here. There's a simple guacamole made of avocados sourced from Mexico served with intentionally burnt toast next to a more complex Salmon Roe and Ash Lemon Cream which was a joyous journey of textures and tastes. The Grilled Piquillos and Watermelon left something to be desired, while the star of the starters was hands down the Charred Grilled Octopus, perfectly cooked and rich in flavor.
Fresh Green Peas
Roasted Leg of Lamb
The mains are simply labeled "Carvery" with Grilled Sea Bass, a Char-Roasted Chicken, and a huge Roasted Leg of Lamb. First came the chicken. Dramatic music cues as they bring out whole roasted chickens held up on wire by staff for everyone to fully take in all the juicy glory. It was returned to the table in slices and indeed tasted as good as it looked. The Lamb was second favorite drenched in a rich creamy sauce. The mains felt like the grand finale, followed by desserts that kind of left you wanting more lamb leg.
The cost of the Chop Chop Social Club is 300rmb for the three-course secret menu and one cocktail, additional drinks are 50rmb from 9.30-10.30pm. If you want in you can book here.
Rhum Raisin Alaska
Chop Chop Social Club is for the everyday foodie at an accessible price point considering the swanky Bund locale. In terms of what’s on offer, there is nothing too overzealous, just good food. The sweet spot definitely seemed to be the mains, with the octopus so delightfully rich and the ginormous juicy lamb leg. The atmosphere is nice and doesn’t take itself too seriously—this paired with the shared table and culinary theatrics make for a memorable dining experience.
- Sarah Boorboor
And also... New Late Night Menus on the Bund and More
Same Scarpetta; lots of new wonderful things on the menu
Late night menus on The Bund. It’s a thing. Popular Italo lounge resto Goodfellas has lately unveiled theirs, available daily until 10.30pm. Comparatively affordable at 258rmb per person for starter, main, and dessert (Canadian cod or Aussie beef, your choices). Likewise, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is hosting a lux French repas, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 9pm. 488rmb + 10% service charge per person with choosing any three dishes on the menu plus a glass of wine. Say hi to Chris St. Cavish when you see him there. We’ve also heard good things about Scarpetta’s new summer menu. A very reliable source recommends the following: the vongole vongole pizza, the bone marrow orecchiette, and the Wagyu beef carpaccio. One of our favorite Italian spots, Gemma also recently trotted out a new menu. They’ve taken their comfort Italian faire into more of a colorful, fine dining sort of direction. Last but not least: Cages. Has a new chef. In Mr. Jason Oakley. A familiar name around Shanghai's F&B industry for the past couple decades. We’re not getting anywhere near Cages to try his food until the World Cup goes away but we asked him about it: “We’re taking classic sports bar cuisine and using better ingredients.” He’s adding pizzas to the menu, amping up the vegetarian and vegan options, and launching brunch to coincide with the upgrading of the kid’s playground. Shanghai people with kids, there’s one to look out for.