Shanghai Restaurant Review: Oxalis

By Cristina Ng, September 28, 2018

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The Place

Although Oxalis has been open for months now, this addition to Shanghai’s French dining scene is still flying under the radar. While The Waterhouse at South Bund is a masterpiece of contemporary design, there’s just not much else going on in the area.

Chef Jonas Noël’s creative take on ‘bistronomy’ is inspired by a 1990s culinary movement whereby chefs applied fine dining backgrounds to more casual concepts. His own journey began at Michel Bras where he foraged for an edible herb called oxalis. He then honed his skills at Oslo’s Bagatelle, Hong Kong’s Caprice and our own L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon.

The Food

Single bites such as chickpea fries (RMB48) with a creamy center and crisp crust are good teasers to the chef’s style. Raw scallop, savory lemon curd and coriander topping make this an intensely flavorful starter.

DSC07801.jpgImage by Cristina Ng/That's 

Raw and hand-cut Aussie Angus beef (RMB168) goes beyond your typical tartare thanks to the addition of some of the chef’s favorite flavors: Laphroaig whisky, caviar and Indian almonds. Instead of the standard raw egg yolk, Noël experimented with cooking it at five different temperatures until he found a way to give it a buttery texture that works perfectly in this dish.

Image courtesy Oxalis

The gloriously flaky Atlantic halibut (RMB128) served under a bread crust with snow peas, radish, beurre blanc and chives is a memorable main.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

We also enjoyed the spinach and ricotta ‘ravioli’ (RMB108), where the additions of mushrooms, hazelnut and edamame provide notes of earthiness and freshness.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

The most impressive dish on the dinner menu is roasted Berkshire pork shoulder blade (RMB698), which has a layer of perfectly crisp skin on top of meat cooked to a beautiful tenderness. 

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

A surprising combination of raw, cooked and pickled apple slices complement the protein in a lovely manner.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

Sadly, one of our favorite dishes, the free-range chicken terrine made with Shaoxing wine, is no longer available on the dinner menu. To get a taste of that, you’ll have to check out their express lunch sets (starting at RMB188).

Image courtesy Oxalis

We are often too full for dessert when we visit Oxalis, but missing out on the exquisite Grand Marnier soufflé (RMB88) would be a crime.  

Food Verdict: 2.5/3 

The Vibe

Image courtesy Oxalis

We are big fans of Oxalis’ deceptively simple food. The spacious and comfortable dining room shines during the day when the space is bathed in light, which is great as their brunch and lunch sets are reasonably priced. The service is consistently excellent, but if we could change one thing, it would be the boring downtempo playlist, which does nothing to uplift the atmosphere. 

Vibe Verdict: 1.5/2

Total Verdict: 4/5

Price: RMB300-500 per person plus 10 percent service         
Who’s going: French food lovers
Good for: well-priced lunch and brunch, soufflé and that pork

[Cover image courtesy Oxalis]

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See a listing for Oxalis. Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews

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