On my first night in Shanghai I joined a few of my work colleagues who had arranged for a group of us to have dinner at Mercato by Jean Georges at “Three on the Bund”. Shanghai is the first City I have really spent time in since leaving Bangkok in November and it was only on the way over to the restaurant that the inescapable excitement of being in a big City really kicked in, something that as only heightened by my arrival at the stylish restaurant. Décor wise, the restaurant is very “farm chic” with reclaimed wood and leather adding warmth to the large open space with its exposed steel and iron girders and clever use of glass and mirrors to add depth and dimension to the room.
The seating areas are split up into several smaller rooms making the experience more intimate than it first appears, I would recommend asking for one of the window tables that we had as the view across the river which was simply stunning and really added to our enjoyment of the evening.
We started by sharing a few appetizers; Beef Tartare with Mustard-Caper Dressing, Parmesan, Arugula and Basil, Burata with Lemon Sea salt and Basil, Chargrilled Octopus with Garlic-Caper Dressing Warm Potato Salad with Green Olives and Fennel and Lightly Fried Calamari with Spicy Tomato, Black Olive and Caper Sauce. The Octopus was the standout dish for me, I loved the pairing of caper and garlic which was freshened up by the addition of fennel and the octopus was deliciously tender and slightly smoky from the chargrill. The lemon salt was also a great addition to the burata, helping to cut through the richness and brighten the creamy cheese beautifully.
We had such success with the first course that we decided to share our mains as well – definitely the way to go in a restaurant like this as it meant we got to enjoy far more of the wonderful menu! My choice was Red Prawns with Asparagus, Shiitake, Avocado, Chilli Lime and Herbs whilst the others chose Crab, Cherry Tomato and Mint Pasta, a 3 Cheese, Black Truffle and Egg Pizza and Smoked Chilli Chianti Glazed Beef Short Ribs with Polenta Fries from their “Rustic Specialties”
All of the dishes were great – I loved the lightness of the prawns and avocado pairing and whilst I had never considered adding mint to a crab dish before but it really worked, there was a welcome crunch to the dish too from the sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs thrown in at the end as well. I had been worried that the pizza was going to be too cheesy and rich but the earthy truffle and egg yolk married perfectly with the cheese and made for a beautiful flavor combination that I had not been expecting. Whilst I didn’t try the short ribs this seemed to have been the standout dish of the night for the others and looked lovely and succulent, falling off the bone with ease.
With cocktails and more than a few bottles of good Italian red wine our bill came to around $150 each with my boss generously picking up the bulk of it – we really splurged though and I reckon you could easily eat very well for $50 – $75 ahead if not less. Mercato had a great ambience and was a lot of fun, the food was everything you would expect from a JGV restaurant too and whether you were on business or a date, this is a great restaurant to visit in Shanghai
意大利菜 – 3 Zhongshan East 1st Rd, Huangpu, Shanghai, China