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Peru National Day Serves Up Delicious Dishes

Yesterday, the promise of free food from Shanghai’s F&B prince Eduardo Vargas and unlimited cups of pisco lured us to the Expo to celebrate Peruvian National Day. After noshing on Peruvian delicacies like butifarra limena (a delightfully fatty pork sandwich garnished with red onions, cilantro and whole lot of flavour) from the kitchen of Eduardo Vargas, we lamented the lack of Peruvian cuisine in Shangers. Sure, Vargas nailed it with Brasa, but if the food coming out of the Peru Pavilion is any indication, this former Incan empire has a lot more than chicken to offer the hungry masses.

Luckily, it’s Eduardo Vargas to the rescue. He’s got a Peruvian bar in the works on the corner of Fuxing Lu and Sinan Lu (which is also blowing up for another one of the city’s F&B royalty), and he plans on serving tapas not unlike what he’s dishing out at the Peruvian Kitchen. If you’re hungry in Expo land, head over to Peru and grab yourself some antichuco de carne and a pisco sour for a preview – or you can wait until October when the real deal will open just south of the Huangpi metro stop.



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Review: Jo Vino

This wine bar, describing itself as a wine service (they do deliveries) situated in a charming 1930s building is a pleasant recent addition to Shanghai’s growing wine drinking scene. Wines by the glass are precisely measured so the regular 100mls in a “Universal Tasting Glass” barely makes an impression. But add another at Happy Hour and they’ll give you a third, so it gradually adds up. The wine we chose, a New Zealand Pino Gris, was served perfectly chilled. But at RMB 59 a glass, you’re paying RMB 118 for a decent measure. It’s a nice place, well worth popping in for a look, but it seems to be on the road to nowhere in particular. A larger measure and a more abstemious price might go a long way towards building this new enterprise a fan base.

527 Shaanxi Bei Lu, near Xinzha Lu. Tel: 6255 3218


King of Nitrogen and Ambassador of Produce Fire Up the Kitchen

What happens when the “The King of Nitrogen” and the “Ambassador of Produce” meet in the kitchen? Well, curious foodies need only head down to Gran Melia’s Acqua to check Week Nine of the Spanish Pavilion’s epic Gastronomy Fiesta. Germany’s Michael Hoffman and Spain’s Dani Garcia have joined forces to showcase the fresh flavours of Andalusia, the alleged home of tapas.

Michael Hoffman is known as the Ambassador of Produce thanks to his unbridled love affair with vegetables, more specifically organic ones, at Margaux in Berlin. Meat lovers, never fear! The Frankfurt-born chef is no slouch with fish and he’s got a pigeon on the menu just squawking to be eaten. With his wife by his side in the kitchen, Hoffman churns out impressive and creative dishes that will make even the pickiest kid eat all their greens. Sample his rice with cuttlefish ink and cabbage ash (don’t ask questions – just do it!) or prawn with sobrasada chutney and bok choy to see why this chef is on his way to his second Michelin star.

Dani Garcia is not only the King of Nitrogen, he’s the face of Andalusian cuisine with quite the reputation. After beefing up his molecular gastronomy chops with the world’s top chefs (Ferran Adria, Heston Blumenthal), Garcia was awarded a Michelin Star and the Spanish National Gastronomy Prize. Oh yeah, and the Spanish Better Chef and  European Better Chef titles. When he’s not on a whirlwind award collecting tour, you can find him at Calima in Marbella. Like all good chefs who call Andalusia home, Garcia is a whiz with olive oil, fish and Iberian ham, not to mention the region’s most famous dish: gazpacho. You can slurp on Garcia’s spin on the classic dish – a cherry gazpacho with fresh cheese flakes and anchovies – at Acqua. The caramelized coconut torrija with strawberry juice and mint is another winner.

The “large menu” features a total of 10 courses – five each from the King and the Ambassador for RMB788 +15 per cent surcharge. Smaller menus are on hand for those foolish enough not to spend a couple extra RMBS – RMB 658 and RMB 528, plus service charge.


Oven Roasted to Perfection

 For years, the only place Shanghai residents could get a decent roast chicken was at City Shop… and, to be honest, decent was stretching it. Now, there are finger-licking good rotisserie joints springing up all over town, with Commando Express and Brasa’s three outlets leading the charge. Even KFC is switching their “F” for an “R” in an attempt to lighten up their artery-clogging menu. But for the past couple months, the city’s undisputed oven-roasted chicken star has been Mr. Willis – until now. Shane Wilkins, the new executive chef at Barbarossa, has thrown his feathered hat into Shanghai’s poultry ring, and he’s giving Craig a run for his money.

The roast chicken at Barbarossa (RMB 148) is marinated for 24 hours and seasoned with a magical dusting of paprika, sea salt and about 11 other top secret herbs, which turn the tasty skin a delicious shade of red. Flavourful and tender, there’s not much more you could ask for from a half of a chicken, but that doesn’t stop Wilkins from heading back to the oven and completing the plate with some perfectly roasted new potatoes and a mouthwatering medley of seasonal roasted vegetables. The plate’s big, but I’d be impressed to see anyone walk away from the table without licking the bones clean.

 Barbarossa. 231 Nanjing Xi Lu, inside People's Park. Tel: 6318 0220

Pizza Marzano Opens in Shanghai Centre

Following on the overwhelming success of their Xintiandi location, Pizza Marzano recently added a second location – an oasis of pizza at the Shanghai Centre. Tastefully decorated with artwork and furnished with beautiful Italian chairs, Pizza Marzano fits right into its new, elegant location. The decor is nice, but a little less-than-authentic – the place doesn’t exactly recall a Mom & Pop pizzeria of Italy.

The food, on the other hand, does. Countless different pizzas are offered with a choice of either Roman or Neapolitan crust, each garnished with the freshest of ingredients. And then there’s the tomato sauce – sweet, tangy, delicious sauce. It’s the ingredient that makes or breaks a pizza and in Pizza Marzano’s case it’s an absolute victory.

If the Pizza Marzano name sounds familiar to you it’s because they’re not exactly dough-spinning neophytes. If you are from UK you will recognize this place as the ubiquitous Pizza Express (they adopted the Pizza Marzano name for Asia). The Shanghai Centre location is expected to be the first of five new outlets opened in Shanghai over the next few years.

Pizza Marzano. Shanghai Center, Suite 107, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu.

Madrid Week Brings Four Michelin Stars to Shanghai

The Gastronomy Fiesta that plans to bring 49 Michelin stars to Shanghai throughout the Expo is celebrating the culinary stylings of Madrid by bringing not one, but two two-Michelin star chefs to the Gran Melia this week. Paco Roncero, chef of Casino, and Michel Roth, chef at the Hote Ritz of Paris, are wow-ing guests in Restaurant Acqua until July 25, so skip breakfast and lunch and get down there to experience what four Michelin stars tastes like.

Dubbed Ferran Adria’s most promising disciple, Roncero is famous for his mastery of molecular gastronomy and his liberal usage of olive oil. Nicknamed the King of Olive Oil, the chef has created a 15 course dinner using olive oil as the star component, including creating pasta made solely from the oil. Diners at the Gastronomic Fiesta can sample the use of his favourite ingredient in his “butter” olive oil appetizer and orange sorbet dessert which features a soup of olive oil. Roncero’s intense version of the homestyle classic ham croquetas are another don’t-miss item on the menu.

Michel Roth has won over 27 culinary awards in his career, including the impressive Bocuse d’Or and the Taittinger prize. Roth’s cooking style focuses on simple flavours from exceptionally fresh ingredients. He brings some of his most delicious techniques to the Paris of the East, including a delectable royal crab and mango dish that is a tastebud triumph and sautéed foie gras with a green apple foam that is worth the cost of admission in and of itself.

The “large menu” features a total of 11 courses from the two culinary giants and runs RMB788 plus 15 per cent surcharge. Considering menus at the chefs respective restaurants are in the hundreds of euros, this is an absolute steal. Smaller menus are available too, but honestly, bite the bullet and go big – you won’t regret it. Regional wines from Madrid are on special too, so get sloshed Spanish style to make your meal even more enjoyable.


Shanghai Sevens Tickets Now On Sale

Tickets for the 2010 Shanghai Sevens Rugby Tournament are now on sale. Sanctioned by the International Rugby Board, China Rugby Football Union and the Asian Rugby Football Union, this fast and furious competition features some of Asia’s best international and amateur athletes competing in non-stop, bone-jarring matches at Wai Gao Qiao in north Pudong. The three day event takes place on the weekend of 3 – 5 September. As is tradition with rugby tournaments worldwide, Shanghai Sevens will be complimented by high quality corporate entertainment, kicking off on the Friday with the official Long Lunch at the new Guoman Hotel in Changning District at RMB 880 per head or RMB 8,000 for a table of ten.

Corporate Hospitality continues on the Saturday and Sunday with an exclusive VIP area featuring five star food and beverage, premier pitch-side seating, air conditioning and priority access – One-day VIP passes are RMB 1,200, two-day VIP passes are RMB 2,000. VIP table and seating are in limited supply for this popular and exciting sporting event, so do not delay in reserving space. An all-encompassing ticket that includes the Long Lunch and Two-day VIP access is RMB 2,500. Standard admission tickets will be on sale the day of the event, RMB 70 on Saturday and RMB 100 for the Sunday finale; a two-day pass is RMB 150. All children under 1.4 metres enjoy free entry. For more information on the tournament, please visit For booking contact Sammy Zhu at 021 5132 5122 or email at [email protected].

“Moon” and Earth Partner for a Greener Tomorrow

Hilton Shanghai is gearing up for the Mid-Autumn Festival season with a moon cake that is not only delicious, but good for the environment. The 2010 Hilton Shanghai Moon Cake Sustainability Project will use 100 per cent certified “green” moon cake boxes manufactured with recycled board paper and printed with non-toxic ink. In addition, for each box of moon cakes sold, Hilton Shanghai will donate RMB10 to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to support their conservation effort in the Wild Giant Panda Habitat in Qingling Mountain.

Hungry Moon Festival revelers can pick up their box of moon cakes at the Gourmet Corner in Hilton Shanghai’s Lobby and do their part to help save the giant pandas this holiday season.

Hilton Shanghai. 250 Huashan Lu. Tel:6248 2007. 


Wanted: Animal Lovers

Every summer, the fostering resources of Second Chance Animal Aid (SCAA) become overrun by the demand of kitten season. At the moment there are over 50 cats and kittens in foster homes around Shanghai, waiting to find a permanent, loving family to call their own. Unfortunately, the summer season (when there are the most cats and kittens), coincides with the most popular time of year for people to leave Shanghai for their annual summer holidays, which leaves the SCAA foster program stretched even further.

Fostering is a great option for people who love having animals around, but can’t commit to life-long adoption because they’re not sure where they’ll end up next, or those who travel often, or those from countries such as Australia and New Zealand, which have very strict animal importation laws.

Over three years of fostering animals through SCAA, I have played foster mum to 28 cats and kittens and one (cat-loving) puppy dog. Being from Australia, where it’s virtually impossible to take animals from China, fostering with SCAA has been a great option.

I have always had pets and fostering gives me the opportunity to continue to enjoy the companionship of animals, even though I’m working in China with a demanding job that requires a fair bit of travel. The animals my husband and I have fostered over the years have stayed with us for a matter of weeks, or sometimes many months, but they have consistently proven to be extremely sweet and affectionate (although some take more patience and getting-to-know-each-other-time than others).

Being a foster parent involves caring for rescued animals in your own home. This means taking responsibility for feeding, watering, cuddling, littering and occasionally administering medication to your foster animals, as well as taking them to SCAA’s vet if they get sick, or when they require routine veterinary care (such as vaccinations or spay/neutering). Veterinary expenses are covered by SCAA, but we still have to be on the ball about getting our foster animals to their vet appointments when necessary.

SCAA’s animals find permanent homes through meeting potential adopters at our monthly adoption day at O’Malley’s (this month’s adoption day is this Sunday, 18 July), so it’s important that our foster animals make it there to have the best chance of finding their happy ending.

There are times that I have been unavailable to take our animals for adoption day, or have been away from Shanghai for either work or pleasure, but by giving SCAA enough notice, they have always been able to work out alternate arrangements for my animals while I’m gone.

People often ask me whether I’m sad when our animals are adopted. In all honesty, I almost always feel a little pang of sadness, particularly when saying goodbye to a kitty we have bottle-fed since infancy, or a previously sick animal we have nursed back to health. But the overwhelming feeling I have when our animals are adopted is happiness. Finding these little critters a permanent, loving home is what it’s all about, and it’s very rewarding to see animals you have grown to love find their happy ending. Besides, there are almost always more animals on the horizon to distract me from missing our adopted ones.

If you are interested in finding out more information on fostering animals through SCAA, visit the website or email me with any questions.

Restaurant Rebranding: Alfie’s by KEE

The stylish lounge, Alfie’s by KEE unveiled itself this week. Part of the flagship Dunhill store, the restaurant lounge, which was once called The Aquarium, is stylishly decorated with tan colored chairs and soft black leather couches. Located in Plaza 66, Dunhill is not a place you would expect to find a restaurant lounge, but Alfie’s by KEE combines the brand with the luxury lifestyle that it promotes.

The restaurant plays homage to a gentleman’s smoking room but its dishes and cocktails are appealing to taste buds of any gender. By day, the lounge is a sophisticated restaurant with an impressive menu and many dishes of different flavours to choose from. The restaurant then turns into an after-work sanctuary for business people to lounge, have a cocktail and share news of their latest ventures and adventures. Alfie’s boasts a great ambiance that makes it an ideal place to relax after work with a high-quality cocktail.

Originating in Britain, the brand has had great success in Asian cities like Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. The restaurant, opened by KEE has made appearances in other major Dunhill flagship stores around the world. Founded by Christian Rhomberg, the classy interior, tasty menu and fresh cocktails make it a first-rate choice for an after-work drink.

Alfie's by Kee, Unit 111A, Alfred Dunhill, Plaza 66, 1266 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Xikang Lu. Tel: 6288 3822



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