[Shanghai Girl Eats] Heritage by Madison
Heritage by Madison | Dianping
1/F, Bund Financial Center (BFC) North Area, 600 Zhongshan Dong Er Lu
Date visited: 2019.07
Price: RMB300-400 per person
Will revisit: Yes
What to get (I’ve eaten the entire menu):
– Golden rye mantou with edamame hummus
– Dragon beans
– Beef tartare
– General Hu’s cauliflower
– Crispy pork belly
– Charred octopus
– Tea smoked san huang chicken
– Chongqing hot chicken
– Seared cod
– Duck spaghetti
– Aged beef burger
For those who have lived in Shanghai for the last few years, Chef Austin Hu and Madison Restaurant need no introduction. For others, here is a historically inaccurate and incomplete crash course from my personal knowledge (i.e. not fact checked): Madison was named after Madison, Wisconsin where Austin was born and Madison Avenue in New York, where Austin worked at places like Gramercy Tavern. He also lived in Shanghai (high school) and somewhere in Japan (college) in between. I think.
Austin later moved back to Shanghai where he opened Madison 1.0 (now closed — RIP), which was a Shanghai institution for contemporary western food and the place for American brunch every weekend. Then came what I call Madison 1.5: Madison Kitchen (also RIP), which was a deli that served bomb and insanely stuffed sandwiches until the government decided to take back the land where it was located.
Today, we have the recently opened Heritage by Madison (we’ll call it 2.0) serving up a culmination of Austin’s experiences in both hemispheres or in my elegant words: western food laced with Asian parts. I have been here many times and have had *almost* the entire menu so here is a list of things I would order (but not in one sitting because that’s too much food).
House pickles (RMB32)
Salted duck yolk lotus roots (RMB32)
Golden rye mantou with edamame hummus (RMB32 for 2 pieces)
Deep fried hot buns are always a yes.
Dragon beans with butter beans, onsen egg, housemade laoganma, crispy bacon (RMB72)
This is one of those dishes where you can’t really tell what it is or predict how good it might be from the description. It’s an unusually tasty dose of vegetables. What you do is break the egg and smash the bacon into bits and mix everything up. For my fellow cilantro-tastes-like-soap club members, don’t worry, these leaves are parsley not cilantro.
Beef tartare with snow pear, sesame, ginger, mustard (RMB98)
Whatever sauce is in this is balancing out any gaminess of the raw beef. This is meant to be eaten like a lettuce wrap.
General Hu’s cauliflower with chocolate gastrique, mint, chiles (RMB68)
Another dose of yummy vegetables I can say yes to. This time it’s deep fried. The sweet chocolate “gastrique” (layman: caramelized sugar with vinegar) adds to it perfectly.
Crispy pork belly with kimchi, house made mustard (RMB98)
This skin is so crispy and reminds me of “siu yuk,” which is Cantonese style roast pork belly that usually comes in cubes. I love the spicy mustard that stings my nose and makes me almost cry.
Charred octopus with kimchi variations, saffron aioli (RMB108)
If not done right, octopus can be compared to the texture of rubber tires and I am often skeptical to order it whenever I see it on the menu. However, in the rare instances when octopus is cooked to tender perfection (<10% of the time), it brings me so much joy. I can vouch for this one — it’s safe to order.
Tea smoked san huang chicken supreme with XO aioli, seasoned sesame salt (RMB98)
I am one of those people who will not order chicken at a restaurant (unless it’s fried chicken or Hakkasan’s jasmine tea smoked chicken). It seems like the most basic thing one could pay a premium for at any restaurant (unless these are sacred chickens raised on Whole Foods) when there are perfectly good whole rotisserie chickens at Costco that cost next to nothing. Of course, I am leading up to *but* this chicken here is one of the most tender and juiciest chickens I have ever tasted; even the white meat bit is good. Dip it in the XO aioli and sesame salt — it’s a done deal.
Notable mention and alternate choice of chicken is the Chongqing hot chicken (RMB88 and not pictured) for those who like mildly spicy fried chicken.
Seared cod with chorizo-black bean butter, baby corn, arctic shrimp (RMB128)
Buttery cod with buttery sauce. I can’t describe this more eloquently but I think it gets the point across. The first version of this cod dish during soft opening had some green sauce on it that I didn’t like and I am glad it’s been changed to this now. This is extra information you don’t really need — just flexing how many times I’ve been here to inadvertently know this.
Duck spaghetti alla chitara with doubanjiang, black garlic, stracciatella cheese (RMB98)
This is like a spaghetti bolognese — it’s delicious and can’t go wrong.
Uni lobster taglioni with lemon, korean chili flake, herbs (RMB248)
It’s very good but not something I would order every time — it’s something you have to be in the mood for and have a preference for to begin with whereas the duck spaghetti will please everyone.
Please note there is supposed to be actual uni in the dish (aside from the uni butter sauce the pasta is swimming in) but it’s not shown in the photo because the restaurant ran out that night and I still wanted to try it.
Aged beef burger with smoked cheddar, house mustard, saffron, arugula (RMB118)
Austin knows his meat and can make a great burger and steak — juicy and packed with flavor.
That concludes my stream of consciousness. Thank you if you have read this far.
By the way, some of dishes above originally had cilantro garnishing but I had them all removed. If you don’t like cilantro, tell the staff when you are ordering. The only thing that cannot be modified is the stuffed cola wings (RMB88 and not pictured) which are pre-stuffed with vermicelli, shrimp, foie gras, and cilantro, which I accidentally ate once; they are actually really good except for the cilantro part and I really wish Austin would make these without cilantro. This is me sending a strong message that he probably won’t ever read.