Sugared & Spiced

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[Shanghai] Jin Xuan 金軒 at The Ritz-Carlton

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Jin Xuan 金軒

Add: The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, 8 Century Avenue 浦东陆家嘴世纪大道8号上海国金中心
Tel: 2020 1717
Hours: 11:30am-2pm, 5:30-10pm
Price: [lunch] 168~300 RMB/person [dinner]  480~880 RMP/person
Visited: Sep 2011

Please note that this is an arranged tasting.

The highlight of my weekend was a delightful dim sum lunch at Jin Xuan, the Chinese fine dining restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton Pudong. Its interior, designed by Steve Leung, is characterized by high vaulted ceilings and tones of gold, wine red, and purple – grand, yet comfortable and intimate. And the food? Delicious.

Lunch began with a small cup of complimentary “appetizer” tea, followed by soup of the day (45 RMB). The appetizer tea, a slightly sour blend of goji berry and hawthorn fruit, was a hit for me and did its job in working up my appetite.

Jin Xuan’s crystal shrimp dumplings 鮮筍鮮蝦餃 (45 RMB) were – as you can see from the picture below – quite perfectly done. Delicate, translucent wheat starch skin snuggly hugging whole plump shrimps, these dumplings were a delight for both the eyes and the tastebuds.

Cheese and bacon dumpling 芝士醃肉鹹水餃 (30 RMB) was something of a novelty for me. The typical 鹹水餃 (haam sui gau, or salty stuffed dumplings) are deep fried oval-shaped dumplings stuffed with pork and vegetables, but the version at Jin Xuan is filled with cheese and bacon. Somehow the combination of sweet, sticky rice flour wrapping and salty cheese and bacon worked very well. A must try.

Miso marinated cod fish spring roll with preserved vegetable 味噌雪菜鱈魚春捲 (32 RMB) was another pleasant surprise. The paper-thin skin, fried to a beautiful golden crisp, breaks with a delicate “crunch!” at the teeth, exposing the mixture of miso marinated cod fish and preserved vegetables. Excellent, another must try.

粉果 (fan gau) is a thick dumpling made from glutinous rice flower wrapping a myriad of ingredients, and the version at Jin Xuan is filled with mixed porcini & morel, then topped with dots of egg yolk 蛋黃什菌粉果 (30 RMB). This was less of a hit with me since I’m not a big fan of 粉果 texture.

Also loved the delicately flavored diced chicken fried rice with shrimp, tossed with abalone sauce 魚蝦鮑汁撈飯 (45 RMB). The single shrimp itself was rather bland though.

For vegetables, we tried sauteed asparagus with lily bulbs and wolfberry 枸杞蘆筍炒百合 (50 RMB). Some stalks were a bit tough to chew, but otherwise a fine dish.

We ended lunch on a sweet note with red rice and taro, sago cream 香芋紫米西米露 (30 RMB). This, along with 楊汁甘露 (chilled mango sago pomelo sweet soup), is one of my favorite Cantonese desserts. Aromatic, creamy, yet refreshing. I couldn’t have asked for a more satisfying ending.

I realize that I used the word “delicate” three of four times in this post, but that really very accurately describes my impression of the cuisine at Jin Xuan. If you are into dishes drown in heavy sauces, you are better off going to places like Old Jesse, but if you can appreciate subtle (but not bland) flavors, Jin Xuan would be a most excellent choice.

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Written by sugarednspiced

September 18th, 2011 at 9:25 pm