Shanghai Restaurant Review: Jin Hua

By Cristina Ng, March 29, 2019

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The Place

The previous occupant of this space, Café Daliah, combined classic Austrian fare with the artistic streak of the eponymous proprietor. In addition to pretty decent schnitzels, the restaurant was well known for an indoor slide and hosting art exhibitions, LGBTQ+ events, fashion shows and animal adoption days. Occupying a special place in the community, it was understandable that we received some panicked messages when construction of Jin Hua was underway.

Daliah’s fans will be relieved to know that she’s sticking around and is partnering with some friends, including Niu Yan (of Slurp! and Pilipala), to transform her café into a Yunnan concept.

The Food

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

Jin Hua’s menu features many dishes you will recognize if you frequent either Slurp! or Pilipala. They’ve also included some playful additions such as a Dai Spiced Burger (RMB65), a cool riff on a traditional banana wrapped barbecue pork dish. Here, the secret blend of Yunnan chilies and spices – prevalent throughout the menu – is combined with fresh ingredients such as Thai coriander, laksa leaves, leek and garlic.

fish.jpgImage courtesy Jin Hua

A beautifully presented Roast Tilapia (RMB58/98) with lemongrass and Dai mixed spices features wild Yunnan peppers, ground dried chilies, black cardamom and cumin that suffuses the flaky fish, giving it multiple layers of flavor.

We never go for Yunnan food without ordering Fried Goat Cheese (rubing, RMB36), and their version is served with a sweet house-made Yunnan rose jam that softens the flavors of the main star.

assortment.jpgImage by Cristina Ng/That's

A cuisine famous for fungus, their Mushroom Assortment (RMB58) cooked in a stone pot are woefully ordinary. Another less successful dish is the pulled Chicken Breast Salad (RMB32), but for the opposite reason. With an intensely spicy lime dressing, the cold starter could be great if they turned down the acidity and saltiness just a little.

Quirky cocktails such as the Menstruation Monster (RMB75) with gin, Cointreau and crème de Violette and Support Your Local Girl Gang (RMB48) with Campari, white rum, vermouth, tropical fruits, yogurt and a red wine flip are a celebration of femininity, something we can get behind.

Food Verdict: 2/3

The Vibe

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

With vintage knickknacks and lots of lush plants, the newly redecorated (and very pink) space combines elements of the old Daliah (including the slide and swing seats) with an old school Chinese appeal. This part of Jing’an doesn’t have much competition for authentic Yunnan fare, and this is a nice place for a laidback dinner and drinks. The friendly service, fun crowd and reasonable prices make a good case for frequenting Jin Hua on the regular. 

Vibe Verdict: 1.5/2

Total Verdict: 3.5/5

Price: RMB100-200 per person
Who’s going: artsy locals and expats
Good for: casual dinners and cocktails 

[Cover Image by Cristina Ng/That's]

Leave Your Review

Have you been to Jin Hua? Post your review here for a chance to win a Saucepan voucher.

See a listing for Jin Hua. Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews

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