Second Helpings: Fount

What: Japanese restaurant opened by popular Shanghainese actor, Hu Ge
Where: Bldg. 5, Surpas Court, 570 Yongjia Lu, near Yueyang Lu. Tel: 6073 7785
Why: To try the cheese tofu – trust us on this one…
We headed back to this Japanese restaurant last month, a stalwart on Surpass Court, which has proven to be popular with the local Shanghainese crowd, but is now looking to improve their relevance to the city’s expats.
The restaurant’s interior design and table settings are chic and sophisticated; there is also a large, outdoor seating area - perfect for the summer months. Dishes are priced reasonably for Japanese fare in the area; however, some sashimi plates yield eye-watering prices. The menu was rather confusing, given to us on an iPad, yet entirely in Mandarin. Expats who cannot read Mandarin might struggle and may need to refer to the photos, although we have been told that it will be translated soon.
Our dinner started well, with one of our favourite dishes making its entrance early on. Although we were sceptical when we saw cheese tofu (RMB 58) on the menu, we had to try it, and our curiosity was rewarded with a delicious rectangular slice of silky smooth tofu with a creamy, crème fraîche aftertaste, perfectly offset by a pink peppercorn topping. We also tried rolls of fresh fruit and vegetables wrapped in seared, fatty salmon and a miso mousse (RMB 88). We weren’t convinced on some of the flavour combinations, but the seared fatty salmon was of a high quality and melted in the mouth. To round off our starters, we selected a tasting dish with three pieces of batter fried shrimp tempura and two pieces of prawn papaya cheese stuffed spring rolls (RMB 88). The traditional tempura had a modern twist, being coated with deep fried spring roll wrappers, which made for an interesting texture that was crunchy and not too crispy. The spring rolls themselves were deep fried with a hidden shisho leaf inside the wrapper.
For our main course, we shared a sukiyaki hotpot with beef, vegetables and tofu (RMB 328). This was a standout dish for us and we would come back again to eat high quality, marbled beef boiled in the slightly sweet, and umami rich, sukiyaki soup. We also enjoyed the stack of teriyaki aubergine, radish boiled in hambone soup and French cod (RMB 98), with the delicate flavours perfectly complimenting each other. We completed our meal with a not-so-Japanese Catalan ice-cream (RMB 88).
This restaurant has promise, and is in a wonderful location at Surpass Court. Let’s hope their English menu appears soon!