Thursday, April 26, 2007

Azul Viva

Azul has a reasonably big lunch menu and for RMB100 you get to pick 3 courses. Bring it on!

The bread looked so good we snatched them off the plate before I got a picture of them. They were warm and freshly baked and I wished there was more. Here's the reconstructed version:
U had the smoked salmon and it was juicy and fresh.

My bresaola salad was excellent. I liked the unusual toppings of blue cheese and walnuts, which made the dish it a lot more interesting then the regular version.

U's lamb sandwich did not live up to the usual Azul food quality. It was swimming in chili oil and it made the sandwich way too spicy and soggy. Disappointing to say the least.

I decided to give the dish Moroccan chicken another try after the horrible experience I had at Katheens 5. Azul's version totally redeemed my faith on this dish! The chicken was moist and tasty and the tangy sweet salsa on top was a perfect match to the chicken and the nicely flavoured couscous.

For dessert we had the tiramisu - it was very rich and creamy. 10 out of 10!

The home-made ice cream was OK. Nothing special or memorable (I am still sulking because I wanted the chocolate kahlua cake but they didn't have it).
Azul Viva
18 Dong Ping Rd.(near Wulumuqi Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 6433-1172

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Goodbye Biscuit

Last week we had a new tenant in our building and I named her Biscuit. Her patches remind me of ginger nut biscuits (what is it with me and food).
She's so cute she would lean on people whenever she could. We figured she was hungry.

She began getting quite a lot of attention and was getting fed by the building guards.
Then she's gone! No one has seen her for the last couple of days. Biscuit where are you?

Moon River Diner

Pudong (aka the Dark Side) isn't all that bad - at least there's a Moon River.

J and D started the meal off with a green salad. It looked OK . To be honest it had too many leaves for my liking. I prefer my salad with meat like ham or salami...or at least give me tuna my friend!

My husband went for the chili cheese fries(RMB25) - that's my boy. The cheese came very runny and there didn't seem to be a lot of chili on it. I tried a few of the fries without the chili and they were still too salty. Nothing like the version in the Gubei branch.

J's Boston clam chowder(RMB45, with salad) was served in a cute little bun. She said it was pretty good and it stood up to the version she had at the Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. Wow.

I wanted something other than burgers so I picked the prime beef hash(RMB50) from the rather big all-day breakfast menu. Although I wasn't asked how I wanted my poached eggs they were done to perfection. The yolks were soft but not runny. The prime beef hash was also extremely tasty and full of flavours. Loved the chunks of celery, peppers and potatoes. I don't know why they put fruits on the same plate. It was hard to avoid the fruit juice from getting on the food. Besides, the strawberries looked like they had seen better days.

D's fish and chips(RMB55) looked fresh and crispy. I know this is a diner but still, minus 10 points for not providing vinegar with the dish.

My husband's classic diner burger(RMB50) was not very surprising but nonetheless rather nice. I think it is cheeky that you have to add RMB6 for cheese though.

Moon River Diner (4 locations in town)
Big Thumb Plaza, 199 Fang Dian Rd. (near Ding Xiang Rd.) Pudong Shanghai. Tel: 5033-5900

Castle Oktober

A new (and beautiful) beer garden in our neighbourhood, Castle Oktober is also a micro brewery! Woohoo!

There are 3 house brews on tap: weissbier, pilsnerbier and dunklebier. My husband was quick to say he wanted a liter of pilsener, and I followed suit with the weissbier. My weissbier was definitely nicer than his and it was not headache inducing - bonus! A liter was way too much for me with the meal though.

There are 2 food menus. If you are seated on the 2nd floor dining room then you can order only from the dinner menu (with most things from the grill). The bar downstairs and the garden have a bar menu (with all the sausage dishes) plus the dinner menu.

This is the nurnberger sausage plate J had - I got to try one and it was a lot nicer than the ones at Dan's Farmhouse. I never liked nurnberger but I have changed my mind after these ones.

The tenderloin looked pretty fatty but D didn't seem to mind. He said it was good but he likes everything.

My husband had the sausage plate which came with stir fried kimchi (!). The sausages were as tasty as sausages can ever be, except one of them. It was really smoky and dotted with small bits of fat and we couldn't work out what it was. The kimchi, while very spicy, was an interesting addition to the meaty sausages.
I ordered the grill teller because as usual my eyes were bigger than my belly. While the sausages were excellent I can't say the same about the chicken and the breaded veal. They were both pretty hard and bland unfortunately. I ended up leaving most of my veal on the plate as my jaws were starting to hurt with all that chewing.

We were told that it was their soft opening and they were hoping to get our feedback. We thought the service was excellent and the food was definitely above par. I liked the effort they put in with all the different side dishes.
Main courses are around RMB120 to RMB200 with most items from the grill around RMB200. Desserts and starters are about RMB50. Remember to ask for the bar food menu for the selection of sausage dishes.

39 Tao Jiang Rd. (near Wulumuqi Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 6433-0186

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Signs in China

We heard on the news that Beijing will start correcting all the English signs in the city before the 2008 Olympics. Nooooooooooooooooo!


Once again we were back at Whisk. It's hard to say no to the chocolate treats.

As the weather was heating up it was time to finally try the iced drinks on the menu. The one on the left is the Spanish iced chocolate and the right one the chocolate shot. They both tasted like a thin chocolate shake and there must be ice cream in them. We had no idea what made the left one "Spanish" since they tasted very similar.

D and I both went for the pananis; his was tuna and mine mortadella. They both came warm and crisp , just as nice as the one I had last time.

My husband thought his proscuitto pizza looked odd with the white sauce (and leaves!) on the top. The base was nice and fresh as usual and the toppings worked well together. The prosciutto was very salty and we were dying of thirst the rest of the day.

J got the tuna salad as I really liked it last time. The tuna that day was exceptionally salty unfortunately.

We were pretty full but decided to cram down a dessert. The new addition on the menu (there are always new items on the dessert menu) for the day was the chocolate cupcakes and they looked tempting surely. The topping was so sweet it was good to have the comparatively not-so-sweet cake on the bottom.
1250 Huai Hai Middle Rd. (near Chang Su Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 5404-7770

Friday, April 20, 2007

M on the Bund

M on the Bund's location is so perfect it's always a treat to go there. The killer views on its roof top terrace justify the occasionally way-to-salty food.

On this visit the food was not salty at all! Thank God. U and I picked a full 3-course meal (as usual) for our lunch session, while J and D were being conservative (as usual) and decided on just having the main course. Made us feel like pigs but hey.

U had Parma ham and melon to start - it was nice but it's difficult to screw up to be honest.

My grilled squid salad with grapefruit was done to perfection. The squid was actually tender as opposed to the slightly chewy texture you get normally. I do think the Thai way of doing squid with chili and lime is the best though.

D and U both decided to have the steak. It looked juicy but upon closer inspection the meat was actually really fatty. (At least U's serving was fatty and we have no feedback from D but he ate everything.)

J opted for the chilled lamb terrine with salad and feta. She said it was tasty enough but the consistency was too gelatinous but then it's a terrine after all.

My fish cakes were fried with flakes of salmon and sea bass in the mashed potato. I should say the fish/potato ratio was about 30/70 and I was stuffed after eating one. Could use more fish! The aioli sauce on the side had a nice zing to it.

D didn't tell us what he had ordered but we suspected it was a chocolate souffle cake with strawberry coulis. No feedback but again he polished it off very quickly. A good sign.

The fruits with the cat's tongue cookie. Too bad there was only one cookie cos I really am curious now.

We were told that we must have 3 scoops of ice cream if we wanted the M's ice cream special. Fine by us. Our order for orange, chocolate and passionfruit came sans passionfruit after all. A little disappointing but the orange ice cream was interesting enough to make up for it. The crispy thing (please tell me what it's called) on top was the steal.

My orange ice cream and cake was a little boring but yummy enough. The orange slices were really sour for some reason.

The monthly lunch menu offers starters at RMB58, mains and desserts at RMB118 and RMB48.

7/F, 5 on the Bund (near Guang Dong Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 6350-9988

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Da Marco

Last night was our first visit to the notoriously busy Da Marco and we have lived here for 2 years! We need to get out more. The place was packed solid all the way from 8 till 11pm - reservation is a must. We left J in charge for the ordering he he got us a whole bunch of dishes to share.

The complimentary bruschetta came promptly and man they were divine. The bread basket was also very hearty and I loved the bread sticks.

The first dish to arrive was the pizza with parma ham (sorry I forgot to take pictures). The ham was thickly sliced and there didn't seem to be any sauce or other toppings on the pizza but it was really tasty. The freshly made medium crust was really yummy.

Then we had the buffalo mozzarella salad. Looking fresh, it tasted as good as a buffalo mozzarella salad can get. I never quite understand this dish to be honest. How delicious can it get?

Next we had the beef carpaccio and I loved the size of it. The beef was very fresh and moist it didn't need a lot of olive oil. (I hate it when they rehydrate the beef with oil in some places.) The parmesan was tasty and not too salty and crumbly...hmm..I am getting hungry again just thinking about it.

The bresaola was also nice but it paled in comparison to the carpaccio.
Next came the excellent and extremely yummy clams and mussels in white wine sauce with garlic and parsley. I had to control myself from eating too many of them so I wouldn't embarrass myself in front of J.
Everything was excellent up to this point. Then came the 2 disappointing main courses. We had some kind of grilled beef dish which didn't have the aromatic meat taste. The meat was a little bland and stringy.

Then there was the suckling pig dish. If I hadn't read the description on the menu I would have guessed the pig was older than me. The meat was so tough it hurt my jaws. (Sorry no pictures as I was fully preoccupied with the wine by that point.)

As full as we were we decided to give the desserts a try. The tiramisu was disappointingly bland and had no taste whatsoever. I suspected the watery bottom was a result of defrosting.

The panacotta was edible and mediocre.
The profiteroles had extremely chewy bottoms which made cutting difficult (especially with just a spoon). Marginally edible.
I wonder why the main courses and desserts sucked so much? I guess you have to know what to order. I would love to go back for more starters and pizzas!

Da Marco
103 Dong Zhu An Bang Rd. (near Jiangsu Rd), Shanghai. Tel: 6210-4495

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hallo Knut!

I am sure most of you have seen Knut on the news, as he is one popular baby bear! I found a few more pictures of him on the Spiegel Online site:
I can't believe some people has suggested that Knut should be killed. The argument goes something like he'll lose touch with the bear necessities because he's raised by human hand, and it's not appropriate to the species and therefore a violation of animal welfare laws.

Knut was born in a zoo and his parents are zoo animals! Should we breed animals in zoos? I would say yes if we are to keep this whole zoo idea going, it beats capturing more animals from the wild. Knut unfortunately will live in a zoo setting for the rest of his life without the possibility of rehabilitation in the wild. I should think that makes him different from the polar bears captured at the Churchill polar bear "jail", where contact between bear and human is strictly prohibited. I feel terribly bad for the animals in zoos but killing a healthy baby bear?

Check out the Knut blog for pictures and videos!!