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[Industry Nights]: Hilary Ambrose

From hot pot to high-concept cocktails to aspirational haute cuisine, MOCA's new chef offers his recommendations on the Shanghai scene.
2011-02-17 10:52:56

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.

Hilary Ambrose hails from the Caribbean via New York City. He got his start in Shanghai as Executive Chef of Avalon. He's since moved on to the newly-re-reopened restaurant on the third floor of MOCA in Peoples' Park.



Normally, I only drink Johnnie Walker on the rocks. So, I'm not supposed to like this place. But I really like the creative, outside-the-box approach they take with everything there. I just love watching Ryan [Noreiks] perform – yes, I said perform – behind the bar. He thinks like a chef. So I can relate to him on a fundamental level. Not only that, I never in my life would have thought that smoke or cotton candy would be a good accompaniment to a drink. Both work beautifully. And Chef Kelley Lee is the perfect complement to his craft. I've three words for you, popcorn pig brings. Try them! They're outstanding.

Table No1


Jason Atherton's food reminds me of my days as an apprentice under a very talented British chef. I like the homey, fine-dining feel of the place. The few times I’ve been, the food has always been fantastic. It's all about beauty in simplicity. I particularly love what he does with beef bone marrow. It's something I myself have experimented with at Avalon. And that corn sorbet with crab meat is just awesome.



I don’t think anyone can say a bad thing about this place. It's nothing flashy, but it is the definition of consistency. Try the barbecue pork and fried rice - the one in the clay pot - mmmm, pure loveliness!

Hot Pot

Several locations

It doesn’t matter from where. I’m a huge fan, regardless. Besides, it ends up tasting the same no matter where I go because I have a strict hot pot ritual. It's got to be the ma la broth. And I always dip my food in the chili sauce. But, since I have to give a recommendation, let’s go with Hot Pot King or Macao Dollar.



That's right. My restaurant. What can I say? What kind of chef would I be if I didn't? I also like seeing the faces of my kitchen staff when they see something crazy or different come off the line. Local cooks don’t have the advantages of Food Network or certain fancy cookbooks we get back home. So I love getting to teach my team some new chops. Anyway, enough with the shameless self-promotion. Come try my food!

Ultra Violet

Location as yet undisclosed

Yeah. I know it’s not open yet. I know Paul’s [Chef Paul Pairet] been saying it’s going to open for over a year now. But it will open eventually and I am really excited about it. Paul is a true visionary and I can’t wait to see what he brings to the table. So I’m giving this one my advance endorsement. If what he does at Mr & Mrs Bund is any indicator, this place is bound to be a hit.