3 New Summer Menus: SOiF, Bull & Claw, Il Ristorante-Niko Romito

By Sophie Steiner, July 26, 2021

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It’s finally summer. Yay!

Wrong. You’re in Shanghai, a city that turns into an armpit this time of year. After surviving the plum rains, steamy humidity now permeates the entire city as we attempt to make it through sanfu – the hottest and dampest period of the Chinese calendar. But let’s be real, even 40+ degree weather isn’t going to stop us from indulging in these newest of menus. 

Check out Part I here and Part II here

SOiF 

The cozy natural wine bar that seemed to set off Shanghai’s never satiated wine bar craze, SOiF sports a tight menu of well-curated cheeses, home-cured meats, pickled everything and all-around expertly executed dishes that – no surprise here – pair perfectly with wine. 

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Although the food isn’t the main focus, according to co-owner Francois Seguin, (it is first and foremost a wine bar) we beg to differ, since we’ve yet to have a non-standout bite. 

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The newest iteration of the menu sees the addition of brighter summer plates, with even more vegetarian-friendly options to come. Unassuming, yet always a good choice, the Shrimp Cocktail (RMB68/6 pieces, RMB128/12 pieces) offers tender tiger prawns surrounding a glass of horseradish-heavy cocktail sauce. Succulent, with just the right snap, we paired ours with bubbles. 

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Although advertised as Burrata (RMB78), the serving is actually stracciatella drizzled with olive oil, the choicest part of the burrata that involves all the superlatives for the creamiest, stretchiest, freshest piece. Embellished with rolled whorls of pickled butternut squash, sweet sundried tomatoes and crunchy homemade granola, the play on texture makes it everything you’re looking for and then some. 

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Smoked Herring Fillet (RMB78) is cured in oil before being garnished with pickled mustard seed, shaved pickled beetroot and carrots. Served atop potato slices and dots of homemade sour cream, this cold dish brings us to the summer shores of Scandinavia. 

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Pure year-round comfort is a warm bowl of Sausage Bolognese (RMB88), an honest plate of al dente Italian casarecce noodles smothered in a sausage-laden tangy tomato sauce. Delicately thin slices of in-house made squid ink pork salami cover the dish in a meaty polka dot pattern. 

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The warm Chocolate Cake (RMB48) – made from 100% rich chocolate and just a bit of cream – is stuffed with a dark chocolate ganache and a tart raspberry and red wine coulis, then topped with Madagascar vanilla bean ice cream for both a pleasing textural and temperature contrast. There is no secret ingredient needed here, just high-quality components that work well together to create true dessert magic. 

See a listing for SOiF

The Bull & Claw 

One of Shanghai's mainstays when it comes to steak, seafood and brunch, The Bull and Claw has just completed one of the largest menu overhauls in the history of its existence (that just so happens to align perfectly with the launch of its revamped boho chic patio). Covering all the bases, the new menu stacks up high in the protein category, plus a number of vegetarian-friendly options. 

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The zippy citrus marinade coupled with a sriracha aioli coats the Lobster Ceviche (RMB158) just right, enveloping the mix of lobster meat cubes, calamari, mussels and prawns, with a liberal dose of garlic chips, plus homemade spiced tortilla chips for scooping.

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Expertly seared Roasted Japanese Scallops (RMB148) are tender and sweet, topped with an arugula salad of crispy prosciutto and green apple slivers, marinated sultanas and macadamia nuts with an earthy black garlic dressing. 

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Diving even deeper into the sea, we highly advise upgrading the already delicious Citrus Salad (RMB108) – a refreshing blend of mixed greens, charred tomato, sliced avocado, roasted shallots, candied beetroot and citrus segments – with half a grilled lobster, scallops, prawns and calamari for RMB348. The salad is a treasure trove of bits and bobs, each more scrumptious than the last. 

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Battered in a five-spice salt blend, the Korean Fried Chicken (RMB98) is shatteringly crisp with just the right amount of spice, balanced by cooling kimchi aioli. A trio of pickled onions, kimchi and pickled cucumber add a vinegary pop and an added dimension of crunch. 

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Our favorite of the new plates, the Crispy Halibut (RMB178) perches atop a black and white rice coconut curry, interspersed with ginger pickles and a verdant herb chutney. A spiced scallop, and crunchy pakora-like spinach bhajis, crown the top. 

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Adding to the expansive steak selection, the Bacon Wrapped Angus Filet (RMB298) sees 200 grams of medium-rare cooked Australian tenderloin stuffed with a house-blend of emmental and mozzarella cheese and a wrapping of spinach, served with a buttery mushroom sauce, truffle whipped potatoes and Brussels sprouts. 

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For a lighter, seasonal alternative, thick papperdelle noodles are woven together with cubes of roasted pumpkin and soft feta cheese as the Pumpkin Tagliatelle Pasta (RMB138). Tangy sundried tomatoes and roasted pumpkin seeds add texture while a creamy roast pumpkin cream sauce makes it hard not to lick the plate clean.

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As for dessert, the menu sees the addition of ginger-infused Crème Brulee (RMB78) with a burnt sugar crust, a vibrant Eton Mess Sundae (RMB78) with homemade meringue, fresh berries, red fruit jam, raspberry sauce and both vanilla bean and strawberry ice creams. 

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And for the chocoholics (you know who you are) the Chocolate & Oreo Tart (RMB78) is the dessert of your fantasies. A crisp Oreo and salted miso crust is filled with a dark chocolate mousse, vanilla Chantilly and alternating beads of white, milk and dark chocolate spheres. 

See a listing for The Bull and Claw

Il Ristorante – Niko Romito 

At the end of June, Il Ristorante – Niko Romito at the Bvlgari Hotel Shanghai kicked off its Taste of Summer menu, a lighter alternative featuring seasonal produce, refreshing flavors and greens aplenty. 

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The classic Italian staple lasagna is reimagined in vegetarian form as the Vegetable Lasagna (RMB340) with homemade sheets of al dente pasta hugging a mix of leeks, green peas, asparagus and spinach. A light parmesan cheese emulsion and herb infusion adds a balanced herbaceous creaminess. 

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Spanish Iberico Pork Neck (RMB450) is marinated for 24 hours, steamed, then drizzled with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and thyme, before being adorned with a crown of caramelized figs – a warming fruitiness that cuts through the meat’s fattier sections, both parts equally velvet-like in texture. 

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Oven-baked wild Sea Bass (RMB630) is served in creamy bone confit sauce, garnished with seasonal tomato slivers. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A slow-roasted Braised Lamb Shoulder (RMB660) is smothered in a sauce made from a green pea extraction, served with sautéed asparagus and peas, plus savory lamb jus. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

To end on a sweeter note, a diamond-shaped Sfoglie Soffiate (RMB180) sees crunchy short bread cookies sandwiching a dolloped pattern of white chocolate and apple mousse with a warm caramel dribble. 

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Sugar and dill-compressed watermelon showcases this favorite summer fruit, while sugared Bombolone donuts oozing with fresh custard act as a sinful finish to an equally indulgent meal. 

See a listing for Il Ristorante – Niko Romito

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[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]


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