New & Noted: Raw Eatery And Wood Grill
What: A return to basics from the team behind Malabar
Where: 2/F, 98 Yanping Lu, near Xinzha Lu. Tel: 5175 9818
Why: For good, honest, high-quality food in an up-andcoming neighbourhood
Situated on the second floor of the space that used to play host to La Stazione, the restaurant has a warm, wooded interior, and although still in soft opening phase when we visited, it was fully booked. The team at Raw Eatery And Wood Grill claim that they have placed an emphasis on quality produce and the use of cooking methods that respect the natural properties and flavours of the ingredients.
The inspiration for the menu was taken from the installation of a firewood, Josper Charcoal Oven situated, quite deliberately, in the heart of the kitchen, pride of place for Head Chef Juan Campos, who took us in to marvel at its wonders and breathe in that charcoally scent of roasted garlic.
True to its promise, dishes were served with the hallmarks of their original taste and texture, yet often enhanced with a smoky after taste. This was beautifully in evidence when it came to Chilean Wagyu beef tartare (RMB 128), with an irresistibly shiny looking smoked egg yolk. We burst the yolk sac and mixed it into the raw beef, and in doing so, a wonderfully rich, smoky taste permeated the whole dish.
We also enjoyed the somewhat “raw” starter of smoked yellowtail tiradito (RMB 98), with purple causa, and a spicy mango sorbet. An eclectic dish that was perfectly balanced with the tart, yet sweet, taste of the sorbet and seafood. The burrata (RMB 138) was rich and creamy, as it should be, and served with the addition of smoked tomato, creamy avocado and an indulgent truffle dressing.
From the famous oven, we sampled the Chilean free range Wagyu thin skirt (RMB 358 for two people including two sides). This restaurant takes pride in its cuts of imported meat, which can be seen in the selection on display in the dining room. Luckily for all, this steak did not disappoint, being grilled to perfection in the Josper oven. The sautéed dragon beans with chilli and garlic were our favourite side to this dish, and a well thought out nod to the Asian palate.
Finally, we enjoyed the rich and hearty rice pudding with Valrhona chocolate to end the meal. We are already looking forward to going back for second helpings when the restaurant is fully operational.