[Shanghai] Kanpai Classic 老乾杯
Kanpai Classic 老乾杯 | Dianping
Address: 广东路20号外滩5号5楼- Floor 5, Bund No. 5, 20 Guangdong Lu (黄浦区 Huangpu District)
Date visited: 2015.06 for dinner
Price: RMB600-900 per person (+ 10% service charge)
Will return: Not likely
Another BBQ spot (the Asian kind) has popped up on the Bund — this time in Bund No. 5 in the form of Japanese yakiniku called Kanpai Classic (老乾杯). Right across from that other BBQ place Chi-Q in Three on the Bund. Kanpai serves Japanese BBQ and Chi-Q serves Korean BBQ.
“Kanpai” translates to “bottoms up” and comes to Shanghai with its first branch after a number of successful locations in Taipei and throughout Taiwan. Kanpai Classic is under the Kanpai group, which owns a few brands including Ippudo Taiwan.
Kanpai Classic supplies beef from its own ranch in Australia. Its main selling point is that their beef is imported chilled, not frozen and apparently legally to China (is what I am told but let’s not get into the technicalities). But what is different about the Shanghai branch than its Taiwan predecessors is that it does not offer cow parts besides the meat. No tongue, intestines, and any other organs that you would typically expect to see on a yakiniku menu because they are not allowed to be imported (again, not clear on the legal details). Well, that’s no good.
To sum it up, Kanpai Classic is really expensive JBBQ. I am not sure about the prices in Taipei but of course when everything comes to Shanghai, it inevitably becomes more expensive. Options include a la carte and set menu starting at RMB480 per person; we dropped RMB900 each on this visit. Granted, we were fully stuffed but for this price, the meat was disappointingly chewy. There are better BBQ places in Gubei, where the most expensive I have eaten to date was half the price of Kanpai Classic. If you really insist on high end BBQ on the Bund, Chi-Q at RMB400-500 per person is suddenly looking very reasonable now.
I always get confused when I think I am at JBBQ and then kimchi 自家制泡菜 (RMB38) shows up on the menu.
Not a fan of the Kanpai classic tofu salad with onion dressing 豆腐色拉 (RMB78), which is a mix of cold tofu and garnishes.
The Australian Wagyu beef & sea urchin roll sushi 豪华澳洲和牛&海胆手卷寿司 (RMB78 for one piece) combination didn’t hit home like the one I had at Maison Asano. The beef slightly gamey and sea urchin slightly bitter.
The premium pork jowl 霜降猪肉 (RMB68) kicked off the BBQ. Pretty good.
We had high hopes for the special Wagyu short plate 和牛特选去骨牛小排 (RMB320) given its marbled appearance but it didn’t have that melt-in-your-mouth effect. It was fatty but very chewy and as hard as I tried to bite off a portion with my teeth rather than eat a whole piece, it did not work.
Wagyu beef belly 和牛热成牛五花 (RMB89)
Another type of Wagyu beef short plate 和牛后腹肉 (RMB156) that we spent some time chewing.
The Wagyu beef steak 和牛肋眼牛排 (RMB280 per kg; RMB630 for 2.25 kg below) is perhaps the intended star of the menu complete with its by-the-weight price and fancy presentation. A guy brings the hunk of steak over, asks you for thickness, cuts it, and weighs it next to the table.
The beef is slightly seasoned with salt and then whisked away to sit for a bit before cooking.
When the beef is ready for the grill, another guy comes over and diligently cooks and cuts the steak.
The steak is fine but not amazing. The fatty pieces near the edge taste better than the center. Again, the marbled fat texture is there but still left us chewing forever and unable to separate the beef into smaller bites with our teeth. I don’t understand.
The most satisfying portion of the meal was the Hokkaido seafood kamameshi 北海道海鲜釜饭 (small RMB99, large RMB178; small shown below). Kamameshi is rice cooked in an iron pot with various ingredients (crab, ikura, salmon, corn, and spring onions in this case) and can be eaten two ways. First, eat the rice as is with all the ingredients mixed. Then, add broth to the rest of the rice. This is great.
The broth had quite a nice flavor with some tempura flakes.
Our prawns 大虾 (RMB84 per piece) tasted extremely crumbly with mushy residue, kind of like it was deteriorating on the outer layer. I am generally not a fan of cooked shrimp but I have had good shrimp and this quality was questionable.
Caramel pudding 焦糖布丁 (RMB58)
The brown sugar tiramisu with kinako 黑糖黄豆粉提拉米苏 (soybean flour)(RMB58) was our savior at the end, which we ended up ordering a second serving.