Mikkeller Xintiandi: A Danish Comfort Food & Beer Nerd Mecca

By Sophie Steiner, May 28, 2021

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The Place 

The Danish brewery and beer brand Mikkeller made its way to China last year, with its first location off Yanping Lu. With over 20 taps, a beyond extensive bottle list and every weekend events appealing to any interest imaginable, it's no surprise that this beer outpost has garnered quite the following.

Riding on the taproom’s success, Mikkeller – led in China by Martin Aamodt (previously of Inferno, Roxie and Stone Brewing) – just opened a second spot, Mikkeller Xintiandi, in the old El Luchador space. Split across two levels, the beer bar features Danish comfort food for brunch, lunch and dinner, along with spirits, wine and champagne. 

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Image courtesy of Mikkeller

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

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Image courtesy of Mikkeller

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Image courtesy of Mikkeller

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Table and booth seating mimic the minimalist Nordic design style of the Yanping Lu digs, as well as the sprawling sunny patio with space for over 40 people.

Upstairs hosts an open kitchen, a long American red oak table perfect for group dinners, Danish imported chairs and lamps, a merch corner and the hippest, Swedish-designed colorful floral wallpaper.

In a word, it’s all really bright. We’ve never felt more welcomed at a beer bar – a style of venue that tends to feature hard rock, dark décor and manly vibes.

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The main floor sees 10 well-curated beers on tap, along with a fully stocked beer fridge sporting upwards of 60 different varieties of imported cans and bottles – living up to its reputation as a beer nerd mecca. 

The Food & The Beer 

The menu is mainly designed by the head chef for Mikkeller Denmark and Sweden taprooms – a Michelin star chef, of course. Instead of focusing on farm-to-table New Nordic cuisine, like most contemporary Danish-style restaurants, Mikkeller Xintiandi is all about paying homage to Nordic comfort eats. This is the kind of food your Danish grandma would serve you (if you had one). 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The Roast Pork Sandwich (RMB88) is a street food stand version of a Danish Christmas dinner. Danish Crown-imported roast pork is sliced, seared – it’s all about that shatteringly crisp crunch – and hit with a liberal lashing of salt and bay leaf. Perched atop a schmear of Dijon mustard remoulade, tangy pickles and sweet pickled red cabbage, the whole holiday meal’s worth of fixings is nestled inside a fluffy toasted bun. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Rustic and chunky, dice-sized, dark purple cubes of Chilean Wagyu form the base of the Beef Tartare (RMB108), one that conjures images of Queen Grimhilde ordering the huntsman to bring back Snow White’s still beating heart. Mixing together the tender beef with roughly chopped pickled mushrooms, horseradish, a raw Japanese egg yolk and crouton cubes creates a tartare that is truly the ‘fairest of them all.’

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The Danish Style Roast Chicken's (RMB88) taut, brittle skin pulls away to reveal succulent meat below, begging the question why it’s so hard for everywhere else to nail a perfectly roasted half chicken like Mikkeller does. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Pause for a digestion break with a beer (of course!). Of the 10 taps, eight of them offer Mikkeller brews, with two rotating guest drafts. The beers span juicy New England-style hazies to spontaneously fermented wild ales aged on cherries and vanilla beans.

The tap list is always changing, evolving with the season, the local palate and the whim of the bar manager. But if we’ve learned one thing, it’s to expect the unexpected when it comes to pushing the boundaries on Mikkeller craft.

DSC02538.jpgGratinated Icelandic Cod (RMB128), Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Denmark’s take on a loco-moco (a burger sans bun, doused in gravy, for those not following Hawaiian cuisines trends) the Traditional Minced Beef (RMB98) is a dish that dates back to the Vikings (ok, maybe not that far, but a Vikings reference felt necessary). Kicked up a notch with ground Chilean Wagyu beef, the patty is drowned in a tomato-based mushroom gravy, and flanked with blanched green beans and lush Parmesan mashed potatoes.

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

If the goal is sunshine lounging (when is it not?) then the Seafood Platter (RMB488) is your best bet. Chock-full of oysters, tiger prawns, mussels, crab legs, ceviche and half a lobster plus bread, aioli, mignonette sauce and garlic butter, this plate easily feeds 2-3 very happy people. The shrimp is Icelandic, the crab is Norwegian, and the majority of the seafood on the plate – and entire menu – is as Nordic as possible.  

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Every week sees three dishes chosen from the regular menu and served up during lunchtime for RMB68, with the option to add a coffee or tea for RMB15. The rest of the menu is still available at regular price.

The number of dishes on offer will most likely double in the coming weeks, with 25-30 plates total to round out the summer. Just like in Denmark, expect seasonal specials focusing on imported seafood and pork, along with fresh veggies. Also look forward to an oyster and champagne deal kicking off in the next few weeks. 

The Vibe 

Everything Mikkeller touches oozes cool. That’s just how it is. It’s a fun brand that leads the charge on noteworthy collaborations, supports interesting causes and touches all sorts of unexpected mini communities (like starting the first ever brewery running club). So it makes sense that the same trendiness translates over to Mikkeller in Shanghai. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Compared to the Yanping Lu location, it encourages more of a daytime vibe, but that’s also just Xintiandi versus Jing’an in general. With a surprisingly larger food menu than expected, it’s ideal for day drinking – come for brunch or lunch and drink your way into dinner. It’s a place you want to waste time at; it’s airy, inviting and always encouraging you to order just one more beer. Just one more. Those famous last words... 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Upcoming 

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Danish National Day is this coming June 5, and to celebrate, Mikkeller will be hosting a Flæskesteg Sandwich Pop-Up to applaud all things Denmark. What’s Flæskesteg, you ask? It’s a Danish pork roast, similar to the Roast Pork Sandwich mentioned above, but smoked in-house and smothered in more of that addicting mayo-mustard hybrid remoulade sauce for just RMB68 a pop. Contain your excitement… or don’t. It’s the Denmark constitution’s freakin’ birthday – if that doesn’t mean it’s time to party, we don’t know what does. 

Price: RMB140-RMB250
Who’s Going: The craft beer nerd contingency, the Xintiandi office crowd, curious locals keen for all things Nordic
Good For: Beer-fueled lunches, Nordic comfort fare consumption, restocking your beer fridge with impressive brews 


See a listing for Mikkeller Xintiandi. Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews.

[Cover Image courtesy of Mikkeller]

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