Shanghai Restaurant Review: BOR Eatery

By Cristina Ng, July 26, 2019

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The Place

After three years of cooking ‘New Nordic’ cuisine at Pelikan, Danish chef Kasper Pederson has moved his entire team to Anfu Lu. Perched above Funk & Kale, which is also backed by the Wagas slash Mr Willis dining empire, BOR Eatery inhabits a light-drenched space broken up by the graceful curves of Scandinavian design. And yet, the food veers off the Danish track laid by Pelikan, completely unleashing Pederson’s creativity. 

5901564112726_.pic_hd-copy.jpgImage courtesy of BOR Eatery

Time flies at a frantic pace for Shanghai restaurants, demoting hot spots into forgotten castoffs. Sure, Pelikan probably had a few good years left at the top of the heap, but we can’t blame them for switching gears. The move is still fresh, but crowds are already flocking for a taste of the new venture. 

The Food

Snacks and small bites set up a casual experience marked by a lively juxtaposition of flavors and textures. While an established trend worldwide, Grilled Baby Corn (RMB32) has been popping up on Shanghai menus a fair bit these days. Pederson’s interpretation gains depth from a brown butter and corn dip sprinkled with crunchy buckwheat groats.  Another successful dish places Crisp Grilled Sardines (RMB68) in finely tuned contrast to a bright and creamy parsley sauce.  

A favorite of the chef, the Danish Hotdog (RMB58) provides a taste of a Copenhagen street food staple. The diminutive wiener extends beyond the boundaries of an even smaller bun. Topped with mustard, ketchup, pickled aioli, pickles, fried onions and raw onions, it’s the most Nordic thing on the menu. 

WechatIMG585.jpegImage by Cristina Ng/That's

Moving into more dangerous territory, Pederson swipes salted caramel from the dessert station for Fried Scallops (RMB98) with grapefruit and hazelnut. The bitter citrus juice dilutes the caramel into a kind of dressing. While certainly unique, we are not 100% sure where we stand on this dish. 

Grilled Radicchio with burrata cheese, olive paste, toasted buckwheat, serrano ham and burnt garlic (RMB148) also makes quite a statement. Luckily, milky bursts of burrata and thin layers of ham offset the fire’s work on a naturally bitter vegetable. 

WechatIMG579.jpegImage by Cristina Ng/That's

The charcoal grilled Wagyu Flap Beef (RMB300) with asparagus, brown butter hollandaise and black pepper glaze or Barbeque Smoked Pork Ribs (RMB160) with sour apple, mustard seeds and shallots are fine choices for carnivores, but the Hot Smoked Salmon (RMB188) is the dish to order.

WechatIMG575.jpegImage by Cristina Ng/That's

It is cured in salt and sugar for two days before smoking slowly. A tender lashing of honey becomes a crystalline crust atop silky layers of peach-colored fish. There’s an herbal note in the fresh dill, sweetness in the mustard and tartness in the pickled shallot accompaniments. Grilled dumpling skins are strewn across the plate and ready for filling. Rooting this into its Shanghai setting is a nice idea, but the jiaozi wrappers are distractingly tough. Tortillas or perhaps flatbread might be a better vehicle for an otherwise perfect salmon. 

Sides run the gamut from serviceable to even better than the mains. Falling into the latter camp, the Pelikan Beets, Beets, Beets (RMB48) asserts itself with a Jackson Pollack-esque splash of beet on the bowl’s rim. The earthy root appears buttered, pickled and raw to flawless effect. 

WechatIMG581.jpegImage by Cristina Ng/That's

Also stunning, Caramelized Onions with Blue Stilton and Pear (RMB48) feels like the cheese board came early. We only wish the seeds had been blitzed with the dressing in the Romaine Salad with Black Sesame and Salted Anchovy (RMB38) rather than thrown on top.

WechatIMG577.jpegImage by Cristina Ng/That's

Likewise, Gnocchi with Onion Cream, Garlic Salsa Verde and Smoked Salted Duck Shavings (RMB65) misses the mark.

Sweets fall in line with the expectations set by earlier courses. Our Pelikan favorite Honeycomb Smash (RMB60) with honey ice cream and milk jelly survived the move only to be surpassed by the intensity of Salted Raspberry Sorbet with Pine Nut Oil (RMB50). 

WechatIMG583.jpegImage by Cristina Ng/That's

As always, Pederson attends to texture using freeze-dried berries to provide crunch. The pool of savory, almost spicy pine nut oil takes this number over the top.  

Food Verdict: 2.5/3 

The Vibe

WechatIMG591.jpegImage courtesy of BOR Eatery

The restaurant gets its name from the Danish ‘Jeg bor her’ meaning ‘I live here,’ so the laid back and comfortable experience is par for the course. Like the best of hosts, Pederson hops from table to table flashing his megawatt smile as he explains his food to diners. This interaction is aided by an open kitchen to end all open kitchens, where the action revolves around two giant islands. A complete lack of walls allows everyone to pull up a seat at the ‘chef’s table.’  

Vibe Verdict: 1.5/2

Total Verdict: 4/5

Price: RMB400-500 per person, including one drink
Who’s going: everyone who’s anyone 
Good for: easy date nights, casual dinners

[Cover image courtesy of BOR Eatery]


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See a listing for BOR Eatery. Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews

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