Shanghai has already made up their mind up about M1NT
, and generally we fall into two camps: on the one hand, the Bund club/ restaurant is a symbol of Shanghai's emergence as a "world-class city" -- a venue with the means, knowledge, and overt mandate to cater to the idiosyncratic whims and predilections of the global elite for which, as the saying goes, money is no object. These people are also known as "members".
Conversely, however, M1NT is also seen as the most high-profile embodiment of the worst kind of Shanghai-specialized artificiality: vulgar insincerity, commercial dubiousness, and stylized excess -- money is the only object.
These people? "Non-members."
Personally, I don't really care either way; I'm more interested in the food. Does that make me a "prospective member"?
Anyways, I recently set aside the socio-political significance of the venue itself and went and ate there.
Who wants to eat like a millionaire?
M1NT is on the 24th floor of an office tower a few blocks from the Bund. Perhaps a bit unusual in location, this space is remarkably... spacious. Very high ceilings, large view windows, an open kitchen, black wood and red lighting form the basis for a remarkably understated and tasteful interior. It doesn't feel like a restaurant attached to a nightclub, and we were surprised by how easy it was to have normal conversation despite the full, boisterous house.
The kitchen offers "Free Asian" cuisine that defines itself as "tearing down the conventions usually associated with ethnic cuisine and cooking from the heart."
But what if your heart is as cold and black as night?
In practice, however, this results in a menu that reads like a pan-Asian cookbook with dishes meant for sharing.
We started with cocktails -- a Manhattan and a Martini -- that came competently mixed from the bar on M1NT's club side, and ordered a spread of appetizers:
-Vanilla-Cured Salmon, Kaffir Lime Leaf, Pickled Celery (70rmb)
-M1NT Hot & Sour Soup, Fresh Herbs, Smoked Duck (75rmb)
-Wagyu Beef Tataki, Avocado & Herb Salad, Nahm Jim (90rmb)