2 New Winter Menus: Italo Trattoria & Sui Tang Li

By Sophie Steiner, January 29, 2023

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That winter chill has set in, and there’s no escaping it 'til spring graces us with her presence. These next few months are going to be all about the hearty, homey dishes that keep the cold from seeping into our bones. Thankfully, we’ve got a handful of new warming winter menus to get you through the iciest of months.

Italo Trattoria

After some COVID-related ups and downs, Italo Trattoria has made sure to maintain that same beloved neighborhood Osteria feel through it all, bringing on a new consulting chef, Fabio Camilloni (previously of Seve) for his take on Italian classics.

Chef Fabio has overhauled the previous menu with about 75% new dishes that span all of Italy for a pan-Italian comfort eats-focused lineup. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The dishes are the straightforward and value-driven favorites you expect – from frito misto and prosciutto with burrata to cheesy lasagna; from Bolognese sauce fettuccine and pizza to tiramisu – it’s approachable for all diners. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Chef Fabio switched up the Vitello Tonnato (RMB108) of Italo’s previous menu, recreating this much-loved starter using his recipe from Seve. A fluffy tuna and anchovy mousse is the focal point, resting on thinly sliced sous vide veal, accented by briny capers. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Quick-cured, shaved tuna is the key element of the Bresaola di Tonno (RMB108), topped with a refreshing and crunchy fennel and orange salad dressed with acidic white balsamic vinegar and avocado cream.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Italo Trattoria for the first time is also offering pizzas – well 9-inch personal pizzas brought up from Funkadeli – ideal for group sharing when you want to try many dishes.

Opt for the more traditional offerings like Bufala (RMB88) – a simple pie with buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil – or the Piccante (RMB88) with spicy salami and mozzarella.

Or, spring for one of their more creative selections like the Tartufo e Burrata (RMB118) with black truffle paté. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Slowly braised veal belly is stewed with herbs and minced before being rolled up with parmesan cheese and egg into homemade pasta dumplings, rather than the more expected ravioli.

The Cappellacci (RMB128) is like a cap-shaped version of a Bologna tortellini, nestled in a thick 24-month aged parmesan cream and egg fondue, topped with a lashing of basil and parsley oil plus a sprinkle of crushed pistachios. The longer-aged cheeses are dryer, making for a richer-flavored sauce. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Handmade spinach and egg spaghetti “alla chitarra” – a square-shaped noodle made by pressing the pasta dough through a wooden box with metal strings similar in appearance to a guitar, hence the name – are the base in the Chitarra e Scampi (RMB158).

Adorned with seared Iceland scampi, roasted tomatoes, and shrimp cooked in an aglio e olio sauce of garlic, oil and the added spice of both dried and fresh chilis, the al dente noodles receive an extra hit of oceanic salinity from a drizzling of homemade scampi bisque. 

DSC06716.jpgLasagna Bolognese (RMB118), Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The menu’s tour de force is the Branzino al Sale (RMB488) – a Seve favorite that has already made a name for itself yet again at Italo Trattoria.

Baked for 25-30 minutes, an entire sea bass encrusted in a sea salt case is served via trolley, with all the theatrics of a circus monkey – a tableside unsheathing of the crust, a piece-by-piece portioning of the fish atop a bed of fresh arugula, and a finish with a minimalist drizzle of premium olive oil, salt and pepper to let the fish’s high quality shine. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The sea bass is humbly stuffed with lemon and thyme before baking – and nothing else – yet the fish remains moist, tender and flavorful, enjoyed by all regardless of diet. The portion is ideal for sharing between two to three people, with the complimentary accompaniment of assorted roasted vegetables. 

DSC06799.jpgImage by Sophie Steiner/That's

A bright finish is served in the form of Sgropino (RMB58), a Venetian dessert beverage made from tart lemon ice cream, prosecco and vodka – a modern-day smoothie; or Tartufo Limoncello (RMB58) – a lemon semifreddo ice cream with a liquid limoncello core and crushed meringue. 

Italo Trattoria, 2/F, 291 Fumin Lu, by Changle Lu 富民路291号悟锦世纪大厦2楼, 近长乐路.

Sui Tang Li 

Sui Tang Li at The Middle House – along with restaurants at all four of the House Collective locations across Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Hong Kong – have partnered with Fujian-based tea brand Basao to offer a sensorial experience based in the spirit of gungfu tea.

Inspired by the locality of each House, the four teas each embody elements of the city for which they are named, with thoughtful backstories. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Chef de Cuisine Tony Ye has taken these Basao teas and incorporated them into a tea-based dining menu, showcasing the broad range of uses for tea beyond just drinking. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

First smoked with Bai Ya Qi Lan tea – a type of white bud oolong tea from Fujian province – Chef Tony uses molecular gastronomy to seal a luscious blend of roasted pumpkin and egg yolk back into an egg yolk shape, that is then placed on a boiled tea egg white base as the Smoked Bai Ya Qi Lan Tea Egg (RMB78).

As the ‘yolk’ is pierced, it dribbles down the plate, emulating a perfectly runny soft-boiled egg, accented by caviar and pork floss shreds. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Jasmine Silver Needle tea undergoes a lengthy 12-hour process to preserve its fragrance, one that comes through elegantly in the Poached Rice Jasmine Silver Needle Soup (RMB168).

The soup is poured over the puffed rice tableside so as to maintain its crunchy texture. A springy mandarin fish ball is placed inside each bowl, mimicking a sliced scallop.  

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Showcasing tie guan yin tea leaves in two ways, the Wok-fried Pork Ribs (RMB228) are seasoned with a ground tea leaf and salt blend, and served over a bed of fried tea leaves. The tender meat pulls away from the bone easily, crisp yet succulent. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A Zhongshan Pigeon with Summer Shimmer Tea Leaves (RMB128) is marinated for six hours then smoked with Basao summer shimmer tea for a peachy, fruity aroma to balance the pigeon’s gaminess, served atop plump porcini mushrooms. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A fluffy puff is stuffed to the brim with juicy beef as the Wagyu Beef Pastry (RMB68), paired with Basao White Luna-soaked highland barley ‘rice’ cakes.

But the dessert showstopper comes in the form of the silky Bai Ya Qi Lan Infused Milk Pudding (RMB78), matched with the cool Da Hong Pao Oolong Ice Cream – the ideal balance of floral and earthy aromas in an elegantly sweet finish.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Besides the food, Head Bartender Rachel Yuan from Café Gray Deluxe has curated four tea-based cocktails, including low ABV and non-alcoholic options.

An upgrade from your everyday bubble tea, the Joyful (RMB68) features the delicate aroma of the Shanghai Basao blend of Bai Ya Qi Lan tea.

A milky, whipped and slightly salted cream cheese foam floats on top, garnished with candy-coated red dates, reminiscent of tanghulu – a Chinese favorite street snack in winter. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Offerings span a ‘punchy’ Oolong Punch (RMB108) – with Basao oolong tea cold brew gin, tomato, peach, camellia, lemon and milk; the Tea & Tea (RMB108) – a twist on an Aperol spritz – a blend of Basao seaside honey oolong kombucha and Basao summer shimmer cold brew vermouth rosso; and the non-alcoholic Tea Me Up (RMB68), with Basao summer shimmer coffee bean infused NA spice spirit, coconut milk and cold brew coffee. 

These dishes – along with the limited-edition tea set composed of the House Collective four teas – will be available at Sui Tang Li from now through March 13. 

Sui Tang Li2/F, The Middle House Residences, 366 Shi Men Yi Lu, by Wujiang Lu 石门一路366号镛舍公寓式酒店二层, 近吴江路.

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[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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