Friday, August 31, 2007

MOCA Caffee

MOCA Caffee is on the 3rd floor of MOCA - Museum of Contemporary Art. To be honest I had not known about the place prior to our visit as it seems pretty low key.

The small museum is pretty funky looking and its location can't be more perfect. We spent the morning trying to gasp the concepts of funicular polygon and hyperbolic vault (love Gaudi BTW) we were positively hungry by noon.

The restaurant was deserted, I guess not many people know about it. As quiet as the place was our food took a long time to arrive - the wonderful bread and focaccia saved the day! We were particularly impressed with the individual dips we got.
There is a set lunch deal and for RMB88 we could pick 1 of the salads, pizzas, or sandwiches, together with a freshly squeezed juice. We all went for the deal and here are some of the dishes:
Caesar salad with shrimps.

Mozzarella and tomato salad. I thought it's cheeky that it's classified as lunch given its portion.

Pizza margherita.

Pizza salami with anchovy. A little fishy (duh!). Should have gone for the parma ham one.
We were satisfied with the food overall and we particularly liked the RMB20 discount on the food when we presented our museum entry ticket.

MOCA Caffee
3/F Museum of Contemporary Art, People's Park Gate 7, 231Nanjing Rd, Shanghai. Tel: 6327-0856

Otto Gourmet Cafe

We would never consider going to Otto if it wasn't for a review we read. Somehow the name Otto sounded a little off-putting and the look from the outside of the restaurant didn't help neither. Fortunately we gave it a try because the food turned out to be great.

Our visit to Otto was relatively late and we were just in time to catch the set lunch (its appetiser buffet ends at 2pm). For RMB88 per person we could pick between an appetisers buffet or soup to start, 5 choices of main course, and a creme brulee.

Our bread and 3 dips.

I had a bit of everything from the buffet. Everything was tasty and I particularly liked the chickpea salad with olives and chunks of lamb meat. The fried potato cake was nice too. I didn't like the salmon after all as I thought it'd be smoked but it was actually raw and served with avocado. Odd.

U decided to have gazpacho instead. At first she thought she had missed out on the buffet but upon tasting her soup she had no regrets. It was the best gazpacho she had in Shanghai she exclaimed! The flavours were all there and the ingredients were all correct (she couldn't stress enough how much she hated the version in Azul with crab meat).

My sea bass steak was average. The fish did not taste too fresh (previously frozen perhaps?) and was a tad too fishy. The "soup" was tasty with beans, olives, and interestingly thin slices of fried potatoes. Nice dish, shame about the fish.

U's beef cheek stew. At first we thought it meant the lower cheek (haha) as in rump stew but we immediately decided it was the face cheek when we saw the size of the cut. The meat was so rich and succulent it's out of this world. The little cube was packed with flavours and it just fell off her fork. She wanted more.

Somehow we were full after our mains and we were surprised to see we each got two little pots of creme brulee. Loved the subtle orange twang.

Overall we were very happy with the food but I was told that the RMB88 deal ends in end of August. Nonetheless we will go back to check out the rest of the Spanish and Italian (a bit odd)menu again.

Note: the extensive wine-by-the-glass list is extremely expensive.

Otto Gourmet Cafe
85 Fumin Rd. (near Julu Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 6248-9186

sugar scrub face-off

Yet another find in Seoul: black sugar scrub (US$7/100ml). I don't even know what black sugar is but it looks remarkably like brown sugar. The scrub is in a dry paste and water should be added to avoid too much friction. While the grains are so much bigger than the Fresh version (see below) they actually melt away while you scrub. I guess this way at least you know when to shop scrubbing. I think its exfoliating effect is much better than normal scrubs and I love the sweet sugar smell. I wonder if you can get the same effect by using real brown sugar?

Fresh Sugar Face Polish (around US$60/100ml). The grains are so much finer and it has a somewhat oily base. It smells very nice too and is excellent in exfoliating also. I don't think it's worth almost 10 times the price to the Innifree scrub though. The winner: Innisfree definitely!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Moon Sha

RMB78/person afternoon buffet! The spread was not very big but we went there specifically for the hot dogs and waffles.

Before we dove into the hot dogs we had a warm up with the rather delicious tuna sandwiches.

I had five hot dogs in less than an hour!

I gave the pineapple fried rice a try and it wasn't bad at all. A little too wet but the black pepper taste was nice.
Also available in the buffet were freshly rolled sushi rolls made with vegetables, pasta, fruits and a salad.

Marble cheesecake and brownie. The brownie was quite dry but the cheesecake was not bad.

Clockwise from top: coffee cake, cheesecake, hazelnut tart and some kind of crisp. Everything was nice especially the hazelnut tarts but the thin crispy thing was weird. It was savory?

Finally the freshly made waffles. So fluffy and soft I could eat them everyday.

Consider its killer Bund view it's not a bad deal. Too bad the place was full of running noisy children and smoking parents.

Moon Sha
3/F, 5 on the Bund, Shanghai. Tel: 6321-3568

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Prima Taste Restaurant

Prima Taste is a Singaporean franchise. You can even buy cooking products from the chain in supermarkets if you feel like creating your own Singaporean speciality at home.

I started my lunch with a refreshing fresh lime soda (RMB15).

Chicken laksa (RMB28). I have come to the conclusion that laksa is not for me. While the soup base is very rich and creamy it's a little too fishy for me.

The Hainan chicken rice (RMB32) here had to be the best I've had in Shanghai so far. The chicken was juicy and succulent, and most importantly tasted actually like chicken. The rice cooked with chicken broth and spices was so fragrant and delicious I wanted more of it (why such small portion?). The dips were excellent and even the cucumbers underneath the chicken were delicious. The only thing I could pick on was the soup, which was not real chicken broth unfortunately.
I need to go back again for the chicken rice very soon and next time I will give the curry dishes a try for sure.

Prima Taste Restaurant
3/F Metro City, 1111 Zhao Jia Bang Rd., SHanghai. Tel: 6426-8898

Sakae Sushi

For RMB98 person I stuffed myself silly with the all-you-can-eat menu. Sometimes it's nice to have quantity over quality. Everything in Sakae is average and you won't get any nice or bad surprises.

My sashimi plate. The chef substituted my ika order for octopus without asking first. Oh well. They were very chewy indeed.

The sushi I ordered. Nothing special about them at all and they were just like those pre-packaged stuff you get from supermarkets.

Grilled eel. The piece was so small (2 inches long) I should have ordered at least 2. The teriyaki sauce was nice but there was too much of it - the fish was soaked and too wet as a result.

Sliced beef with spring onions. It was fried in butter and it didn't really taste of anything. There was no dip and I might have overcooked my beef so it was like chewing through pieces of paper. A bit blah.

Teriyaki salmon. The fish was nice and firm. And unlike the eel it had the right amount of sauce.

Grilled mackerel, fresh and nicely grilled.

I didn't think I could eat again for the rest of the day after the meal. Good value for RMB98 I'd say!

7/F Parkson, 918 Huai Hai Middle Rd. (near Shanxi Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 6415-9726

Element Fresh

Here's a few more dishes from Element Fresh.

Warm Italian sandwich (RMB68). It's basically a pizza with an open baguette. Nice but can do with less tomatoes and grilled peppers. More meat please.

Truck driver sandwich (RMB62). Loved the awesomely thick wad of ham and smoked turkey filling. That's what a sandwich should be like.

Grilled pork with lemongrass and noodle salad (RMB58). The pork was really nice and tender and full of flavours. The rest of the salad was pretty plain and bland and the water-down thousand island dressing did nothing to the dish. A spicy and zingy Thai dressing would have been much better.
4/F KWah House, 1028 Huai Hai Middle Rd. (near Donghu Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 5403-8865

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Muppet Matrix

Too cool.

Tian Jia

Tian Jia specialises in toro and king crab - it doesn't get any better than this.

We both decided to order the set dinner. At RMB250/person you get a bit of everything. Perfect!

We started off with a type of toro (I am guessing otoro because of the marble?). Very fresh and had that melt-in-the-mouth texture.

Two more types of toro - again very fresh and sweet indeed. The thin one was already dressed with lemon and vinegar and the spring onions matched perfectly.

We liked the thicker cut so much (I am guessing it's chutoro) we ordered an extra portion. They were so tender and "melty" I didn't think I was eating fish.

The next dish: king crab legs. I can't even describe how sweet they were and I wish there was more.

More toro! This time they were to cook in the shabu shabu. We were told 2 seconds in the hot water was all they need but it's easier said than done. I ended up over-cooking most of mine.

The rest of our shabu shabu fixings. The crab legs once again were exceptional.

We put everything in all in one go. The broth was so nice it made eating Chinese cabbage enjoyable even. Towards the end we were served hand-made udon noodles. Hand-made udon is so much better than the usual pappy mass-produced ones.

Negitoro with rice. A perfect way to finish the meal.

I ended up polishing off my husband's portion too. Look how shiny that fish was!

Loved the homemade coffee ice cream also.

Tip: cash only for this location.

Must go back for more in the near future.

Tian Jia (3 restaurants in town)
2/F, 1520 Hua Shan Rd. (entrance in hotel courtyard right by Hua Shan Park), Shanghai. Tel: 6281-4918


I finally got a chance to try out this Taiwanese restaurant! Often packed with people the menu offers a variety of Chinese dishes as well as Taiwanese specialities.

We had to give my favourite dish Hainan chicken (RMB34) a try but unfortunately it was pretty tasteless. The dips were not authentic and added nothing to the chicken.

Stir-fried beef with Chinese cruller (RMB33). The rice cruller was crunchy and the beef succulent. The sauce however tasted of mainly soya and therefore not got a lot of depth.

Ma Po tofu (RMB26). It had all the flavours and spiciness the dish should have. Two thumbs up if you like tofu.

Stir-fried string beans with chili (RMB29). The beans were a little overcooked and very garlicky. Not the best one I had.

A Taiwanese special with a very unusual name: Ants Climbing Tree (RMB31). Basically it's clear mung bean noodles with spicy pork mince and veg. This version looked too wet and the sauce is way too thick (and too much of it). It's also quite similar to the tofu dish and although it tasted nice it wasn't the way it should be.

Fried rice with black pepper beef (RMB29). I didn't taste black pepper at all and again soya sauce dominated the dish.

Perhaps we should have plain rice instead since everything had such strong taste to it (don't get me wrong I do like sharp tasting food). I will have to try out more Taiwanese dish like beef noodles next time.

68 Tai Cang Rd (near Hubin Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 6386-5701


A quick lunch at Ginger in the neighbourhood.

U's fried feta cheese salad was a disappointment. The feta cheese should be described as "once-upon-a-time fried" instead: they were cold and the batter soggy as a result of refrigeration. Not good.
My curry with rice was a little nicer. While the curry sauce was nice but minced beef was used. Very strange.
Lunch with 2 juices came to RMB200. I always thought Ginger is very expensive for what you get.


299 Fuxing West Rd. (near Hua Shan Rd.) Shanghai. Tel: 6433-9437