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[Industry Nights]: Brian Tan

You don’t have to know Brian Tan personally to see that he has a sweet side to him. But it turns out he’s got a savory side, too.
Nov 29, 2010 | 16:11 Mon

Industry Nights is a semi-regular column featuring the haunts of chefs, restaurant owners, F&B managers, and other marginally sane people with good eating recommendations.

You don’t have to know Brian Tan personally to see that he has a sweet side to him. If you’ve ever been to House of Flour, C, or either of the Hofs, you already know. And that’s why his list is so surprising. I fully expected to need an insulin shot after even reading it. But it turns out he’s got a savory side, too.

Yang Jia Hutong's Grilled Lamb Leg

2/F, 356 Longhui Lu, near Baiyang Lu View ListingTaxi Printout

Cheap and good is hard to find in this city. But these guys do an awesome grilled lamb leg. It’s well-seasoned with cumin and nice and crispy on the outside. Inside it’s moist and tender and the meat falls right off the bone. Not only that, they’re small enough that I can a bunch of them.

el Willy's Scallop Ceviche

20 Donghu Lu, near Huaihai Lu View ListingTaxi Printout

This is a great dish, with beautifully balanced flavors. I love how Willy puts fried red shallots on top to give it a new dimension of flavor, too. In a strange way, it reminds me of the street food I eat when I'm back home in Malaysia.

Gourmet Café’s Crackajack Burger

1/F, Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Xikang... View ListingTaxi Printout

They use quality ingredients: Great buns, great beef. And the Crackajack is just a kick-ass burger. They coat the patty with coarse-ground black peppercorns so each bite bursts with so much spiciness that I break out in a sweat.

Lost Heaven’s Cocktails

17 Yan'an Dong Lu, near Sichuan Nan Lu

Or anywhere bar man George Nemec consults these days, for that matter. When he was at Chinatown, his Cuban Blazer was amazing. I loved his single malt Scotch Old Fashioned at Kee Club. And now at Lost Heaven he does a Yunnan Mule with passionfruit vodka, ginger beer, fresh lime juice and homemade tea bitters. The guy is a top-notch bartender.

Fulton Place's Rack of Lamb

Surpass Court 1/F, 570 Yongjia Lu, near Yueyang Lu View ListingTaxi Printout

It’s just a lamb rack sitting on top of a bed of braised lamb shoulder with a nice consomme. It’s so simple, yet so satisfying. I really love this one.

Mr & Mrs Bund's Lemon Lemon Tart

6/F, Bund 18, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Nanjing Do... View ListingTaxi Printout

Of course, my list wouldn’t be complete without at least one dessert. And as a pastry chef, I know that this one is deceptively complex and difficult to make. Paul Pairet fills a fully-intact candied confit of lemon rind with lemon crème and sorbet. Great balance of flavors, great execution.