4 New Spring Menus to Reawaken Your Taste Buds – Part I

By Sophie Steiner, April 1, 2021

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With spring just around the corner, both the weather and Shanghai’s F&B scene are heating up. Shanghai’s greatest mover and shaker chefs are putting pen to paper, meaning a fresh round of spring menus, featuring the most seasonal of ingredients. Screw the approaching swimsuit season; we’ve got new dishes to try! Check out Part II here, Part III here and Part IV here

Apollo 

Over a year ago, Apollo revamped the entire concept of their venue, moving away from the Nordic farm-to-table roots and gravitating towards a Spanish tapas theme, along with an updated name – Apollo Bar de Tapas. 

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The upgraded menu sees the usual tapas mainstays, like Seafood Paella (RMB198) loaded with jumbo prawns, squid, mussels and a creamy dollop of aioli; Marinera Mussels (RMB68) coated in a tangy bath of tomato, chili, garlic and flecks of cured ham; and springy Grilled Octopus Leg (RMB88) atop sweet, smoked paprika-spiced piped mashed potatoes. 

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Last month, Apollo launched new seasonal specials, perfect for whetting that spring appetite. Think Spanish Air-Dried Wagyu (RMB98) – thinly sliced strips of cured meat acting as a bed for airily light potato foam and a sous-vide egg to rest on, all generously drizzled with truffle oil; and Marinated Pork Fillet Skewers (RMB108) charred and served with a Canary Island Mojo Picón sauce. Deep-Fried Mixed Seafood (RMB88) and Argentine Tenderloin (RMB138) with fried mushrooms and a whiskey sauce are also on offer. 

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The Coconut Rice Milk (RMB52) is the icing on the torta, with a symmetrical quenelle of in-house made passion fruit & mango ice cream perched atop brûléed porridge-like coconut milk-based rice pudding. A sprinkling of lime rind adds aromatic citrus notes reminiscent of the beachside vacation we all currently crave.  

See a listing for Apollo


J. Boroski

J. Boroski has rebranded the Chamber Room for all of spring as the Chamber Tea Room. The space is focused solely on tea cocktails, a re-work of the traditional tea house service catering specifically to cocktail culture. 

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While J. Boroski is renowned for its bespoke cocktail style (aka no menu), the Chamber Tea Room does sport a set menu of eight cocktails to choose from for RMB188 each – four of which use traditional Chinese tea bases (like Oolong tea from Wuyi, citrus Pu'er tea and Lapsang Souchung tea) and another four that use modern tea bases (like Rooibos tea, blueberry tea and peach Oolong.)

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For a lighter, refreshing start, the Plum Blossomrica sees plum blossom tea from Huangshan mountain (that typically sells for a cool RMB20,000 per 500 grams) infused into Rinomato Americano and topped with sparkling wine. Earthy and slightly sweet winter blossoms are balanced by bitter aperitif for a libation that beckons the coming of spring. 

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A play on a Manhattan is served in the form of the Wuyi cocktail, where floral Ooolong tea infused bourbon whiskey is accented by nine month long sun-dried tangerine peel and orange bitters. 

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If you're still holding on to the last grips of winter, The Darb is the holidays in a glass. Rooibos tea infused Calvados, apricot brandy, white vermouth, lemon, apple and egg white come together in a creamy, booze-forward cider like bevvie. 

See a listing for J. Boroski


Ginger Modern Asian Bistro

Ginger Modern Asian Bistro is one of the longest standing southeast Asian restaurants in Shanghai. And how has it survived the ups and downs of Shanghai’s food scene? High quality ingredients, consistency and a killer patio.

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While a few of the dishes, like the Ginger Laksa (RMB115), Spicy Beef & Puffed Rice (RMB120) and Nigari Tofu Salad (RMB88) have remained for over a decade, owner Betty has decided to mix up the menu a bit with a few newcomers. 

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First up is the Fresh Coconut Slow-Cooked Stew (RMB230), a Vietnamese flavor-inspired dish that involves hearty chunks of tender beef cheek slowly braised in fresh coconut water and Vietnamese spices. Candy-like carrots and aromatic Thai basil add depth of flavor, while a crispy French baguette is just asking to be torn into pieces to sop up every last drop of stew. 

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Just in time for spring, the Nanyang Braised Uni Seafood Rice Vermicelli (RMB175) is a riff on Singaporean white beehoon, enriched with fresh sea urchin for that extra oomph. Black tiger prawns, flower clams and squid bring a sweet, umami balance while egg, cabbage and spinach thicken the broth into a rich soup. 

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After trying the elegantly fluffy Matcha Cake with Yogurt Mousse and Raspberries (RMB58) – one of Ginger’s longstanding desserts –  we are greatly looking forward to trying the newly released Coconut Pandan & Matcha Cake (RMB55), a play on the former with a stronger Southeast Asian influence. 

See a listing for Ginger Modern Asian Bistro


D.O.C. Gastronomia Italiana

While D.O.C isn’t changing it up too much for spring (why would you when you’re already crushing the Italian classics?), they did recently add Grilled Halibut on Cedar-Smoked Wood (RMB220)

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A flaky, tender halibut filet is expertly seasoned, drizzled with chimichurri and smoked on a cedar plank resulting in the moistest, most tender white fish. Since halibut is a leaner fish, it can easily be overcooked, but D.O.C has got the smoking technique down to a science. 

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Porridge-like mushroom risotto dotted with fresh asparagus, roasted plump cherry tomatoes, grilled asparagus and a singed lemon wedge adorn the rest of the inviting plate.

See a listing for D.O.C Gastronomia Italiana


READ MORE: 4 New Spring Menus To Reawaken Your Taste Buds – Part II, 4 New Spring Menus To Reawaken Your Taste Buds – Part III and 4 New Spring Menus to Reawaken Your Taste Buds – Part IV

[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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