Shanghai Restaurant Review: Open Kitchen

By Cristina Ng, April 1, 2019

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The Place

Healthy eating concept Hunter Gatherer has come a long way since opening their first (now shuttered) location on Anfu Lu in 2014. In addition to the DIY canteen-style bowls, they’ve now added more composed options like ‘Back to Cali’ and ‘Smokehouse BBQ’ that continue to balance protein, carbs and veggies in a delicious manner. 

Continuing in this vein, Open Kitchen presents a collection of small bites and mains befitting a much fancier restaurant like Thought for Food, where Hunter Gatherer’s executive chef Alexander Bitterling previously worked. 

The Food

The first dishes to hit the table – the Spiced Beef Kebabs with Pesto Dip (RMB58) and Sichuan Spicy Rice Balls (RMB28) – are both delicious. The latter is like the best arancini you’ve ever had, spiced up with the numbing kick of Sichuan pepper. The beef dish, on the other hand, evokes flavors of the Middle East. 

Image by Cristina Ng/That's 

Hunter Gatherer sources ingredients from their two organically certified farms, so salads are a must. The Ricotta and Roasted Heirloom Carrot Salad (RMB72) is dressed with honey and garlic for brightness, but the kale could use a massage to make the leaves softer.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

The Pumpkin and Bacon Fusilli with Onsen Egg (RMB68) is a missed opportunity due to overcooked noodles and a bland sauce. Their fresh peas and pumpkin deserve better treatment. 

Luckily, that pasta was the meal’s only misstep. The Farm-style Char Siu Pork Ribs (RMB98) served with a zippy cabbage and pear slaw and Grilled Mackerel with Beetroot Barley (RMB78) both feature multiple layers of flavor. 

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

The mackerel, in particular, skillfully combines the divergent flavors of land and sea by nestling the fish in a bed of scarlet-hued barley with cashew curry cream whipped to the consistency of hummus.  

Food Verdict: 2.5/3

The Vibe

Let’s face it, we can all stand to eat better, and Open Kitchen takes on the main values of Hunter Gatherer while churning out much more exciting and well-executed dishes. The newly renovated space also has a bakery, a grocery section and a cooking area. They even have cocktails under RMB68, so there are many ways in which Open Kitchen can be added to your rotation of regular hangouts.  

Vibe Verdict: 1.5/2

Total Verdict: 4/5

Price: RMB100-200 per person
Who's going: wellness junkies, lifestyle bloggers, families
Good for: lunch, casual dinners, meetings

[Cover image by Cristina Ng/That's]

Leave Your Review

Have you been to Open Kitchen by Hunter Gatherer? Post your review here for a chance to win a Saucepan voucher.

See a listing for Open Kitchen by Hunter Gatherer. Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews

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