[Shanghai] NAPA Wine Bar & Kitchen
NAPA Wine Bar & Kitchen | napawinebarandkitchen.com | Dianping
Address: 中山东二路外滩22号2楼(近新永安路) – Floor 2/Bund 22, 22 Zhongshan Dong Er Lu near Xin Yong’an Lu (黄浦区 Huangpu District)
Date visited: 2014.10 for dinner
Price: Set menu RMB¥398/728; a la carte dishes RMB¥70-500
Will return: Yes
Please note this was an invited tasting
NAPA Wine Bar & Kitchen is an elegantly decorated restaurant inside Bund 22 with an unstated tone. In recent months, Chef Martin Bentzen has taken post at NAPA where he serves up contemporary French with a Scandinavian touch (Chef Martin is Danish). The owners of NAPA have given Chef Martin free reign in the kitchen and it shows through his dishes, which he adjusts according to seasonal ingredients. Given his background and training at the likes of NOMA and various restaurants in Denmark, Martin’s dishes are displays of deliberate craftsmanship where every ingredient on the plate serves a purpose. If you have never seen how NOMA dishes are plated, they look like Martin’s dishes–simple, clean, and deliberate.
Two set menus are currently available for RMB¥398 or RMB¥728 and dishes are available to order a la carte. Please note the meal below was arranged by Chef Martin and is valued somewhere between the RMB¥398 and RMB¥728 set in order to get a taste of dishes from both menus. I have also labeled al a carte prices next to each dish.
I never had a chance to dine at NAPA during the previous chef’s tenure so I don’t know how the experience was pre-Martin. However it may have been before, it is certainly delightful now.
A glass of wine to start a Tuesday night. Typical Tuesday, right? NAPA is also a wine bar after all with a private cellar downstairs of Bund 22.
Bread with butter and goat cheese cream (half mild goat cheese, half yogurt)
Amuse-bouche: taro chips with miso dip, spring roll with king crab and truffle yuzu dressing, tartelette with black truffle and celeriac. The taro chips and miso dip are addicting.
– Please note the following is a special tasting menu arranged by Chef Martin. –
All dishes are individually plated portions.
We started off straight away with Scandinavian flavors. Chef Martin brings a classic Scandinavian dish to Shanghai using local ingredients with the smoked rainbow trout, pickled cucumber, and wasabi (RMB¥98). Fresh fish with a tint of sharpness from the wasabi mayo.
It is truffle season, isn’t it? Miso-glazed Norwegian scallop, cauliflower, champagne vinaigrette, and black truffle (RMB¥168) shaved at the table. The Norwegian scallops are flown in live while the truffles are locally sourced from Yunnan. This is yet another Scandinavian dish modified with some local ingredients.
This is Chef Martin.
The bed of cauliflower in an acidic champagne and rum butter vinaigrette underneath the scallop mimics the texture of risotto without the carbs.
Hearty Jerusalem artichoke cream, stuffed morel, and chicken skin crisps (RMB¥95).
Next, halibut with crispy toast “skin,” organic shaved fennel, cucumber flowers, and mussel sauce (RMB¥258). The crispy layer on top of the halibut is not its skin but rather crispy toast to emulate the texture of skin. This is due to the fact that it is difficult to get halibut skin to be crispy–so Martin uses a creative alternative to achieve a crispy and soft contrast.
Going back to plating, everything on this menu can and should be eaten and contributes to the overall flavor of the dish. There are no garnishes here just for the sake of putting something more on the plate
Please note this is half portion halibut fit to tasting menu; full portion a la carte is RMB¥258.
Moving onto red wine for red meat.
Tender and marbled 36 hours slow cooked Angus short rib with maitake mushroom, carrot leaves (RMB¥288). Another beautifully and deliberately plated dish with minimal but necessary components.
Please note this is half portion fit to tasting menu; full portion a la carte is RMB¥288.
Carrot puree in the shape of leaves!
For dessert, a playful candied “apple,” green apple sorbet, airy caramel, cocoa “soil” (RMB¥98) for the fall. The outside is made from super refined sugar (so it is not too sweet) in the shape of an apple and the inside is filled with apple sorbet and caramel foam–like a caramel apple. I don’t normally like sorbet but the combination with caramel foam is brilliant.