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  • Xime does Japanese comfort food with inventive twists in all the right places, in a laidback, stylish setting with decent pricing. Usually a great soundtrack, too. That makes it kind of unique given that downtown Shanghai’s Japanese places, as good as some of they are, tend to be either classic izakayas, all-you-can-eat teppanyaki black holes and performative, high-end sushi spots.

    What really separates it is the menu, though. It goes deeper than sashimi – though they have that, too, at a great quality to price ratio – offering everything from hearty, shareable Japanese hotpot to soba and rice sets, udon noodles and more. They even do Japanese sandwiches filled with things like grilled mackerel and pork katsu.

    My most recent visit was on a Monday night, when they do a killer buy-one-get-one deal on all their bowls of udon noodles. The original prices of these hover between the mid-50’s and mid 70’s, so you can get a big hearty bowl on the cheap and free up some wallet space to split something else between a party of two. I’d recommend the sesame salad, the proper name of which I unfortunately can’t remember (pictured).

    I’m a big fan of the Beef Curry Udon (pictured). It’s a dish I tried when visiting Tokyo and I honestly don’t know why it isn’t more prevalent abroad. The version here is as good as the version I had there – rich curry broth, tender beef slices and toothsome noodles. It contains a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds and raisins, which do wonders for the texture of the bowl and add little bumps of sweetness. The menu is full of these nice little details that add a bit of depth to everything and remind you that this is a more modern, explorative kind of Japanese spot.

    Another udon highlight – the chicken meatball version, which comes in a lighter broth with extra chewy pieces of tofu. It’s chicken noodle soup’s way hipper cousin. Order it on a cold evening.

    That’s a round-up of some very specific dishes, but it gives you a good idea of what you’re going to get here. It’s quality stuff, hearty and familiar while still being interesting enough to get foodies talking over the table. In a chill environment, to boot. A neighborhood spot that’s worth travelling to even if it’s not in your neighborhood.

    Also, when I sat down to eat last week they were playing Outkast’s ‘Spottieottiedopalicious”. That’s an extra point right there.

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SmartReviews is SmartShanghai’s crack squad of amateur reviewers, eating their way around the city and writing about it. They have been chosen from a large pool of applicants and given a set of strict guidelines to follow to make sure their reviews are honest, informed and fair to both potential customers and the restaurants themselves.

  • British

    Michael Russam, from Leeds, England, first arrived in China to live in Wuhan, before coming to Shanghai to work in copywriting and marketing. He is particularly interested in regional Asian cuisines, and when he can, travelling to find them. Other hobbies include debating the merits of Shanghai dive bars and burger deals.
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