Splurge-Worthy Sets: HIYA, Da Vittorio, 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana

By Sophie Steiner, November 12, 2021

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If you're planning on splurging, Shanghai's got options. Lots of options. The city is your oyster – a foie gras, caviar and sea urchin topped oyster, served with a flute of champagne. 

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So, be it a souped-up date night to impress, a special occasion celebration or just a downright need to go all out, if you're looking to lavishly indulge in life's finer things, that just so happen to also be edible things, here are three food-centric, stellar options for putting that money to good use.

HIYA

HIYA is Jason Atherton’s Japanese-inspired restaurant, with a modern fusion thread running through the entire menu, in the chic Shanghai EDITION Hotel. Slick, sophisticated and glamorous, the restaurant is modeled after Atherton's London restaurant, Sosharu, and has become a nighttime destination for Shanghai's elite.

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The tight menu spans sashimi, chilled plates, temacos (don’t worry, we’ll get to those later), mains from the hibachi grill and desserts.

If you can’t decide between all the stellar options, opt for the Taste of HIYA menu (RMB1,488 for two people, plus optional RMB598/person for five course sake/wine pairing), available for both lunch and dinner, seven days a week. 

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The eight-course menu starts out with House-Made Snacks, including homemade pickle – like cucumber with plum sauce, daikon with mustard and carrots with sweet chili sauce – kimchi rounds and salt and pepper-speckled edamame. 

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Following closely behind comes a cold glass tray of the Chef’s Selection of Sashimi (six pieces). Unlike typical sashimi, Atherton’s restaurants indulge in added flair – sour-marinated bamboo shards sandwiching a thick slab of tuna belly; crunchy sesame seeds and lemon zest encrusting salmon, delicately adorned with charred lemon peel; and sweet, luscious sea urchin perched atop a shiso leaf, a dab of nose tingle-inducing fresh wasabi to bring it all together. 

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A trembly custard-like Hokkaido Pumpkin Chanwamushi is exactly how it sounds – tiers of steamed egg and pumpkin flesh, flanked by dashi jelly made from a fish broth. A fragrant spoonful of smoked crab and salmon roe provide a textural chew and pop, respectively, to compliment the velvety base. 

While most don't think of tacos when it comes to Japanese eats, HIYA's most ordered dish is a funky combination of two go-to take out favorites: sushi and tacos. The tortilla shell is swapped out for a tempura fried seaweed cracker in the aptly named temacos.

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Most closely resembling an actual sushi roll, the Tuna Temaco (RMB118) is stuffed to the gills (pun intended) with soy sauce-marinated raw tuna belly, sushi rice, tobiko and dabs of avocado and fresh wasabi cream, with a spiced aioli served on the side. The tender tuna juxtaposed by the crisp seaweed shell is as balanced of a bite as can be. 

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To kick the appetite into gear, the Roasted Mushroom Miso Soup is laden with aromatic truffle, accented by a hint of grilled sudachi lime, hailing from Tokushima, Japan. 

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Next arrives the Pan-seared Black Cod, an expertly seared filet of fish with a brittle crust that gives way to a tender, flaky interior. Anchored in a buttery pool of furikake-flecked lobster curry, we would be committing a cardinal sin to not soak up every last drop of that lush gravy.

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A true masterpiece, the Beef Gyudon involves a slow-cooked clay pot of steamed rice cooked in an aromatic chicken soup, studded with shitake mushrooms and garlic chips and crowned with a fan of thinly sliced Wagyu beef. 

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A globular raw egg yolk sits in the middle, calling out to be mixed in, creating a sticky sauce to coat each individual rice kernel.

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The set culminates at the pinnacle of Mount Fuji with the Fuji Mont Blanc – a white chocolate mousse, coated in activated charcoal and served with a lake-like chocolate sauce, leaf-shaped hazelnut cookies and tangy yogurt ice cream. 

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Tart dots of yuzu miso sauce and a hidden inner ‘molten’ core of orange curd purée cut through the cocoa’s richness while adding an extra layer of decadence. 

See a listing for HIYA

Da Vittorio 

Da Vittorio is a three Michelin-starred restaurant originating in Bergamo, Italy, where it opened back in 1966. This fine dining Italian outpost currently offers two set menu options, available for both lunch and dinner, served for the whole table. 

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The first set, The White Truffle Menu (RMB3,988/8 courses) is only for the short white truffle season (ending around early December), encouraging connoisseurs of this fine fungus to explore its diverse usages. Wine and beverage pairing can be added on for an additional RMB1,988. 

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More readily available throughout the year, the Vittorio Menu (RMB1,888) is one primarily of fish and crustaceans, prepared according to market availability, with wine and beverage pairing available for an additional RMB1,288.

Here’s a smattering of plates from both of these two sets to illustrate the high-end level of experience you can expect from this fine institution. 

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Starters begin with Crisp Crepes, laden with cubes of marinated amberjack, mascarpone cream and a generous topper of shaved a la minute black truffle, a soft inner filling sheathed in a crunchy taco-like shell.

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Delicately sliced Hokkaido Scallop is layered – in none other than a scalloped pattern – as a succulent carpaccio, resting on a purée of cauliflower and mandarin, surrounded by an aromatic almond milk foam.

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More seasonal cauliflower purée is served with Langoustine Scampi. A balance of tart raisins and earthy white truffle serve as a formidable backbone to enhance the seafood’s natural sweetness. 

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Unconventional for fine Italian dining, the next course sees a humble, British-style Meat Pie elevated with tender, pulled pork ribs and chunks of guanciale – or caramelized pork fat slivers – accented by leeks and black truffle, all encased in a buttery, flaky coating. 

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Traditional Potato Gnocco is stuffed with gooey Fontina cheese and cooked in chicken stock, resulting in a velvety bite of utter plushness when topped with shaved pork, browned butter and more white truffle. 

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The meal culminates in Australian M5 Beef Tenderloin, seared and salted with a deft hand, and topped with Brussels sprout shavings. The prime cut is accompanied by a steamed cabbage leaf ravioli, swathed in a fried lotus root crisp and a drizzle of jus. 

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For an equally sweet and playful ending, the Hazelnut Egg looks like a sunny side up egg, yet breaking the ‘yolk’ reveals a sweet layer of English cream poised on a hazelnut cake, topped with, of course, more shaved white truffle. ‘Tis the season, after all. 

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Diners can also look forward to a colorful ending with creatively sweet petite fours. 

See a listing for Da Vittorio

8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana

An extension of the 3 Michelin Star venue (of the same name) in Hong Kong, Chef Bombana and Sicilian-born Executive Chef Riccardo La Perna have recreated the same lux, fine dining affair on the north Bund at the now two Michelin Star venue 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana.

About nine months ago, Chef Gabriele Delgrossi joined the team in Shanghai, after moving down from Beijing, bringing with him years of expertise. 

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The entire experience here is pure indulgence, with the highest quality ingredients being thrown wherever they will stick, coupled with an unmatched level of service and stellar Bund views. And your WeChat balance will take a hit for that, but every shameless bite of expertly executed everything makes it worthwhile. 

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The most affordable way to live that ‘baller on a budget’ lifestyle is with the RMB698 (+10% service charge) 4-course lunch set, with the option to add on any of the a la carte starters, pastas, mains and desserts. The menu changes seasonally, but here's a quick snapshot of last quarter's menu. 

An array of table bread and crisps is customarily served first with your choice of three different olive oils, spanning an aromatic Sicilian blend hailing from the chef’s hometown to a fruity Tuscany alternative with a slightly bitter, earthy finish. 

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Lightly pan-roasted Australian octopus, or Polipo, arrives in cylindrical pleats, dotted with a slightly acidic yet fruity citrus emulsion. The charred exterior gives way to a tender, snappy chew, cooked to a level befitting, well, two Michelin stars.

An umami-rich chutney of petite diced olives, celeriac and tomato is hidden below the cephalopod’s tentacles.

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An unorthodox rendition of Lasagna sees a dense spread of zucchini, leek and parmigiano swaddled by homemade fresh egg pasta, all perched atop a whipped eggplant sauce. A creamy layer of soft-melted burrata holds a crisped culatello ham slice in place, resulting in a bite that is unmistakably Italian. 

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For a main course, choose between the Merluzzo, a pan-roasted Antarctic Ocean toothfish bathed in a yellow bell pepper emulsion, flanked by cherry tomatoes and lemon jelly, all soaking in a vegetable clam broth...

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... or the Vitello, a roasted veal rib eye center cut coated in a thin layer of both porcini flour and semolina, then butter fried and crowned with slow-braised porcini mushroom stalks. The delicate meat is coupled with an equally subtle quenelle of whipped celeriac, fresh summer peas and chiffonade basil. 

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Dessert offers two colder items. First up, a Sicilian Cassata showcases whorls of vanilla, pistachio and chocolate semifreddo encasing a freeze-dried piece of tart rhubarb. The spiraled dessert rests atop a blanket of cherry and berry coulis, garnished with meringue tufts and candied orange. 

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The classic Sgroppino, arguably the most refreshing dessert in town, involves a tableside display of mashing lemon sorbet and vanilla ice cream together with grappa, limoncello and champagne, resulting in a fluffy whipped custard that is equal parts bright and tart yet lusciously creamy, speckled with shaved lemon rind. 

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A meal ends with an assortment of Petite Fours – citrus jelly, lemon curd-dolloped biscuits and a traditional chocolate opera cake – best enjoyed with the restaurants signature Shakerato, available both with or sans alcohol. 

The menu evolves every few months to ensure only the highest quality and in-season produce and proteins are utilized, and that repeat diners always have something new and exciting to look forward to. 

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For dinner, the menu unfolds into a full-on sensory experience, with a 6-course RMB1,880 seasonal dinner menu, and the option to add on wine pairing for RMB880. Or RMB2,680 for a 7-course meal focused on in-season truffles and the classics, with the option to add on wine pairing for RMB1,180 for four glasses or RMB2,080 for five. 

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See a listing for 8 1/2 Otte e Mezzo Bombana.


[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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