3 New Summer Menus: Duli, Frasca and Henkes

By Sophie Steiner, August 13, 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 herePart II here, and Part III here

Duli 

Shanghai’s first fully plant-based casual bistro, Duli, continues to make major waves in the plant-based scene through the continuous use of bold flavors that honor each ingredient for what it is, rather than trying to make it into something that it’s not (aka vegan in a ‘meat’ disguise).

Owner Thijs Bosma has created something truly unique, that normalizes the whole experience of eating vegan for plant-based eaters and carnivores alike. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The spotlight deserving Farro and Toasted Cashew Salad (RMB68) sees hearty pearled farro atop a bed of spinach, arugula, cherry tomatoes and diced avocado. Crunchy toasted cashews, tart cranberries and pickled red onions add a noteworthy textural contrast, a common thread found throughout every dish on the menu. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Al dente ramen noodles are swaddled in a scallion pesto with pickled shiitakes and meaty oyster mushrooms as the Scallion Pesto Ramen (RMB78). Despite the lack of actual meat, a combination of shredded nori, crispy Brussels sprout layers and white sesame brings a refined umami savoriness that translates to next level satisfaction. 

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Seared and Roasted Curry Cauliflower (RMB75) is flanked by crispy potato wedges perched atop a coconut lemongrass curry. A tangy spring onion relish and fried kale crisps add both color and depth of flavor – something Duli excels at – layering tastes in an unexpected, unorthodox way that both surprises and intrigues. 

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Vegan pizza is not exactly something we’re knocking down doors to get our hands on, but the Gongbao Pizza (RMB78) – essentially a stir fry-topped pizza with vegan cheese made from chickpeas – is like a wild veggie forest in pizza form. Gongbao-spiced tofu, oyster mushrooms, bell peppers and fried basil form a thick topping, with a sprinkling of Sichuan peppercorns and spring onions.  

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On the drinks front, kick your everyday coffee up a notch with the Iced Lemon Coffee (RMB35) – a citrusy, fruity blend of lemon and espresso – or go for one of the most balanced versions of a matcha latte, the Jungle Latte (RMB36). Slightly bitter, earthy Japanese matcha is mixed with creamy oat milk topped with espresso for a velvety hit of caffeine. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Inspired by Cantonese flavors, the house-made ultra-moist Black Sesame Cake (RMB65) is garnished with dollops of coconut cream, cherry and waxberry compote, black sesame crumble and mint leaves. 

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Korean Banana Milk (RMB38), Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

And finally, the ultimate summer dessert is back – the Watermelon Granita (RMB58). This is a refreshingly layered flavor bomb of vibrant watermelon cubes, QQ sago and house-made black sesame crumble, all draped in luscious coconut cream. Each ambrosial bite makes tapping into your ‘second stomach space’ worthwhile. 

See a listing for Duli

Frasca 

After welcoming new Chef de Cuisine Lorenzo Merolle to the team a few months ago, Frasca’s already stellar menu has received an upgrade. With over 20 years of experience working in Rome, London, Miami, Sydney and Shanghai, Lorenzo brings his own take on classic Italian dishes to the table. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

An upscale version of the traditional Prosciutto E Melone (RMB198) sees Trieste D.O.P Prosciutto San Daniele spiraled atop Japanese honey melon spheres, adorned with an arugula salad and walnut foam

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Reinventing the wheel isn’t necessary when it comes to Fritto Misto (RMB188). The version at Frasca includes crispy baby calamari, Spanish sardines, halibut fillet, shrimp, borage leaf and a tartar dipping sauce. The portion is hefty, so plan to share with friends or the table next to you.  

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One of Chef Lorenzo’s signature new dishes, the Cosa Bolle In Pentola (RMB268) is comfort food at its finest. Tubular paccheri noodles are smothered in a rich stew of Italian guanciale, onions and agromonte datterino tomato sauce, sprinkled with shaved Pecorino Romano. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Made with an actual chitarra – a square, wooden box with metal wires running lengthwise, similar in appearance to a guitar – gives these noodles their name, slicing the handcrafted Chitarra Spaghettoni Cacio E Peppe (RMB148) into their signature shape. The Tuscany’s pici-like spaghettoni are topped simply with Pecorino Romano and black and pink peppercorns, for a seemingly simple yet divine chewy bite. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Although this dish has preceded the new menu as one of the most-ordered since Frasca’s inception, the Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese (RMB248) has received a facelift, with handcrafted al dente tagliatelle noodles topped with an eight-hour slow cooked Bolognese made from Mayura Wagyu beef, pork shoulder, veal ossobuco and bone marrow. 

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Basil-studded homemade spaghetti is topped with all manner of sea creatures as the Scialatielli Al Fruitti Di Mare (RMB228). An ocean of Mont St. Michel blue mussels, New Zealand scampi and clams and Argentinian calamari cover the top.

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Seared Dover Sole is served on the bone as the Sogliola (RMB388), along with a braised fennel salad and an earthy chutney of taggiasca olives, homemade sundried tomatoes and lemon salsa. 

DSC07161.jpgLombo Di Agnello (RMB298), Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

One of Shanghai’s most classic renditions of Tiramisu (RMB88) is emboldened by its deft use of Italian espresso to cut through the dessert’s usual richness. Fluffy ladyfinger biscuits are draped in a lightly whipped mascarpone, allowing a bite to be enjoyed by both people who love sweet desserts, and those that don’t. 

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A citrusy alternative to Baba Au Rhum, the Baba Al Limoncello (RMB88) offers diners a traditional Napolitano baba cake trickled with a buttery limoncello Chantilly cream sauce, accented by chocolate salt. Still packing a boozy punch, this refreshing rendition is ideal for a hot summer day.

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Pistachio gelato hides inside a dome of Baked Monte Bianco Al Pistachio (RMB98) – Italian meringue is set ablaze when topped with Grand Marnier. 

See a listing for Frasca

Henkes 

Henkes, from the Mr Willis family, is a gourmet village of urban dining experiences that span the globe, known for its simply great food and friendly service. The contemporary restaurant serves a cosmopolitan menu – modern Australian flavors with a classic Italian influence, La Strada pizzas and Danish smørrebrød, plus traditional Japanese cuisine. The summer menu expands that multicultural vibe with dishes that take diners across Europe, from the Nordic coast to the Mediterranean. 

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Cooked with roasted onions and a sweet tomato jam, the Steamed French Mussels (RMB128) are served atop grilled licorice-hinted fennel with a dusting of Provençal herbs. 

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A lighter alternative to the customary Beef Wellington, the Cod Wellington (RMB138) sees a generous slab of Nordic codfish encased in a lemon spinach risotto, all baked into a flaky bread crust. The red wine beef bone jus served on the side adds a hit of that traditional wellington flavor without the heft. 

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 Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Spiralized swirls of Australian Black Angus are scalloped atop each other as the Beef Carpaccio (RMB138). Fresh basil, pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil add a refreshing earthiness, perfect for the warm months. 

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Although not new, the Coconut Cake (RMB58) is exactly what you want out of a summer treat – a dense, cold cake is smothered in a lashing of rich mascarpone cream, studded with sugar syrup-soaked berries and crispy coconut shreds. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Combining French and Italian desserts – arguably two of the world’s tastiest – Henkes’ Mille-feuille Tiramisu (RMB68) sees flaky puffed pastry interspersed with rippling globules of tangy mascarpone cream. Fresh berries and a dusting of cocoa powder adorn the top of this fusion treat, making it lighter than its booze-soaked counterparts.

Despite having no lady fingers or coffee aroma, the crisp coarseness of the mille-feuille ‘thousand-layer’ pastry sheets add a welcoming crunch, making it more memorable, despite being unconventional.  

See a listing for Henkes

READ MORE: 

[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]


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