2 Noodle Lover New Menus: Bastard & Qieve by Diner

By Sophie Steiner, June 26, 2024

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Modern-day food rebels without a cause, Bastard owners and DongXi cofounders – chef Michael Janczewski (Jukeand his business (and life) partner Jiro H  aim to be the antithesis to everyday Chinese street food.

READ MORE: Bastard: Trendy Permutations of Chinese Street Eats

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

After winning over the Shanghai masses with their experimental, contemporary Chinese concept, the pair have broadened their daytime horizons into the wonderful world of lunch offerings, with four ‘bastardized’ – hence the venue name – noodle bowls, plus some sharing plates. 

Naturally, we sampled all four, doing the leg (and stomach) work on your behalf, dear readers. 

DSC06285.jpgImage by Sophie Steiner/That's

Off the bat, all four of the carb-laden plates orbit the same Sapporo-style alkaline ramen noodle base, cold-imported straight from the source (Japan, duh).

A chewier, thicker noodle than its Shanghainese counterpart, its crinkly irregularity makes it all the easier to soak up whatever sauce or broth it’s served in.

“Focusing mainly on the Shanghainese and Guangdong pulled noodle flavors that influenced Japanese ramen the most, our aim with the newly launched lunch noodles is to bastardize something that has already been bastardized,” explains Chef Michael, slurping a slippery chili oil noodle.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Beginning with a base near and dear to our Shanghai hearts, the Scallion Aburasoba (RMB68) is an amalgamation of the city’s beloved scallion oil noodles (cong you ban mian 葱油拌面) and Japanese aburasoba (or soup-less ramen made with a simple, pantry-staple sauce of soy and pork lard).

READ MORE: Shanghai's Most Slurpable Scallion Oil Noodles

We have a real thing for this Shanghai champion, and Bastard’s rendition delivers, with the bonus of a six-minute soft-poached ramen egg, pickled bamboo, fried and fresh scallions, crispy Sakura shrimp for even more umami aroma, and a thick slab of some epically charred pork chashu – braised belly with a broken glass level of crispiness on one edge and melting fat-ribbed meat on the other.

But the kicker is the smarmy sauce on which the noodles rest – a union of fragrant scallion oil, pork lard, and smoked oil that amps up the wok hei undertones (smoky aromas and flavors imparted by a screaming hot and seasoned wok), a necessary component of tried-and-true scallion oil noodles.

Like scallion oil noodles, the key here is tossing the noodles in the oil immediately upon receiving so the steam warms the sauce, allowing it to slickly coat each individual string. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Jumping down to Guangdong, the Bastard Wonton Noodles (RMB88) embody a Japanese chicken tonkatsu broth-meets-Cantonese wonton soup, a feat achieved by adding dried flounder powder and prawn roe to a milky chicken bone broth, emulsified (and thus thickened) with chicken fat. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Three traditional Hong Kong-style shrimp wontons swim on top of the broth, their lacy skirt floating in the rich soup. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Over to Sichuan, the Chongqing Xiao Mian Mazesoba (RMB68) sees the same chicken tonkatsu base as the wonton noodles, augmented by lip-numbing Sichuan peppercorn chili oil.

The requisite Yibin ya cai (or Yibin-style pickled vegetables) make a showing, along with wood ear mushrooms, bamboo, a soft-poached egg, and more chashu pork belly. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A play on Taiwanese cold noodles, the Shredded Chicken Cold Noodles (RMB58) features the same squiggly strands tossed in a thick sesame paste, with shredded chicken soup-poached breast and thigh meat, alongside julienned cucumber, cilantro, pickled bamboo and a gooey yolk egg. 

A classic bowl of comfort, in a more than ample lunch portion. 

For all noodles, additional accoutrement, like an extra slice of Chashu (RMB12), a Japanese Ramen Egg (RMB8.8), or pickled Bamboo (RMB10) are available, plus vegetarian-friendly adjustments can be made to the Scallion Aburasoba and Shredded Chicken Cold Noodles. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

As the bowls all involve Guangdong butter chicken (huang you ji 黄油鸡), prized for its succulent yellow fat content, it’s a logical next step to throw together the Hot and Sour Chicken Kastu Sando (RMB68) – a mix of thigh, shoulder, and drum meat breaded in panko and fried katsu-style.

Slathered in a Sichuan peppercorn spicy and sour glaze, the meat is topped with a creamy cabbage salad and nestled inside a chicken fat-brushed toast. 

It’s excess at its finest, a worthy contender on any lunch menu lineup.  

Lunch is currently available Monday to Friday from noon to 2.30pm, with last orders taken at 2pm.

No reservations are required (for now…)

Bastard, Room 102, #30, 319 Jiaozhou Lu, by XInzha Lu 胶州路313弄,30号102室,近新闸路

Qieve by Diner

Taiwanese chef Gina Chen cut her teeth at culinary school in Abruzzo, Italy, before working at numerous lauded fine dining restaurants around town, like 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana – primarily in the pasta station – for five years.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

This seasoned chef then decided to set out on her own, launching a series of popup dinners at Eat by Diner, now rebranded to qieve by diner – the coveted third floor of the Wuyuan Lu outpost that plays host to chef’s table meals, only available through pre-booking. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Her current Contemporary Italian Set (RMB688) is available every Thursday at 7pm, with seating for just eight lucky diners who have an affinity for all things pasta.

The menu will be tweaked weekly based on seasonality  in the spirit of Chen cooking from her heart and inviting guests into ‘her home’ – but the 10-course set will follow roughly the following lineup.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Firm-fleshed Koji-aged Kampachi, or amberjack, is encircled by marinated tomatoes and savory dashi jellies, finished with a liberal lashing of Sicilian olive oil and a dusting of geranium sea salt. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Commonly seen in Guangdong and Fujian Minnan cooking styles, the Smoked Mackerel is famed for its higher fat levels that translates to meatier, tender flesh.

Layered atop a parmesan biscuit and wrapped in a shiso leaf, a piping of zippy horseradish emulsion lends a necessary kick of heat.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Onto the reason we are all here, the handmade-to-order pasta. 

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First up is the Tagliolini, the dough made with seasonal crown daisy – or tong hao (茼蒿 ) – pesto.

An avocado emulsion unctuously coats each noodle, further supplemented by snappy sweet river shrimp. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Hailing from Puglia, Cavatelli are rolled pasta shells, in this case smothered in an indulgent carbonara-esque gravy, with parmesan, crispy pancetta, and seasonally appropriate broad beans for added oomph. 

The fresh made pasta boast that perfect chew, expertly al dente and oh-so addicting. 

DSC05023.jpgImage by Sophie Steiner/That's

This is where the fresh-baked Herb Focaccia comes into play, pillowy air pockets serving as the ideal crevices for soaking up any and all excess sauce in the dishes to come.

DSC05114.jpgBusiate – Grilled and roasted mackerel, clams, squid, shrimp, tomato, seafood stock. Image by Sophie Steiner/That’s

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Pillowy puffs of Gnocchi are roasted with parmesan cheese for a crisp exterior juxtaposed by a plush center, astride a complimentary cheese potato mousse and sautéed chanterelles, all dribbled in truffle oil. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The pièce de résistance showcases a Chongming Chicken dry-aged for two days then slow-roasted, the fat pooling onto the plate.

Carved tableside, the juicy meat is served with sautéed mushrooms and harissa.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Dessert arrives in two courses: an Italian Fried Bread, or pizzetti, crowned with creamy burrata drizzled with Shanxi craft vinegar and flanked by a crunch-contrasting jamon Serrano-wrapped cheese and green grape-filled roll...

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

... and a Banana Tiramisu with espresso-soaked lady fingers doused in a dense banana mousse. 

Reserve your spot for the next popup by messaging Diner’s Official WeChat Account: dinersh

qieve by diner, 145 Wuyuan Lu, by Wulumuqi Zhong Lu, 五原路145号,近乌鲁木齐中路.


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[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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