Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Shanghai] Mistral

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Add: 133 Fuxing Xi Lu at Yongfu Lu / 复兴西路133号近永福路
Tel: 6433 4261
Hours: [Mon] 5pm~12am [Tue-Sun] 12pm~12am
Price: 300~400 RMB/person
Visited on: Feb 2012

Please note that this was an arranged tasting.

Mistral, a Spanish restaurant and tapas bar on Fuxing Lu, has got an understated storefront, a heavy black metal door, and a little TV scribbled with “turn off TV, turn on music”. First impression – quirky! – I loved it.

Enter the door, and it’s casual, rustic, with simple white-washed walls. The first floor has a few tables and a small patio, and the second floor has two private rooms and terrace seating – no doubt a nice spot on a balmy day.

So what’s in the name? “Mistral” is a strong wind from the Northwest of France that affects its eastern Mediterranean coast from Marseille to St. Tropez and is what makes the charming weather in these sunny regions. And the food? Rustic Spanish, with lots of French and a bit of Italian additions.

Our meal got off on a very slow start. We were seated for about 10 minutes before the menu arrived, and it was another 10 minutes before any water came our way. There was only one server manning the whole two-floor space, and that was obviously insufficient. Restaurant management later came out to apologize and explained that one server called in sick last minute, and there were extra guests in that particular hour. Never mind the sloppy service – all restaurants have their off days – I could let this go as long as the food is good.

Our moods picked up instantly with Beef Carpaccio with Foie Gras “Grated” (118 RMB), a plate of thinly sliced raw beef served on tomato coulisse and olive oil. And shaved foie gras? That’s something of a novelty for me.

Octopus “a la Feira” (88 RMB) was thin sheets of octopus laid out over a bed of creamed potato, then sprinkled with olive oil and paprika from “la Vera”. It was a beautiful dish to look at, but I found the octopus to be a tad bit too chewy and bland.

One of my favorite dishes of the meal was Goat Cheese Warm Salad with Tomato Jam & Figs (98 RMB). Rich, creamy goat cheese in combination of sweet figs, crunchy croutons, and tangy balsamic vinegar – an instant hit.

Slow Cooked Lamb Jarret & Ajoarriero Sauce (198 RMB) took a total of 60 hours to prepare, and the meat was indeed very tender and easily picked apart from the bone. The ajoarreiro sauce, made from garlic, red and yellow pepper with a little vinegar, was a great accompaniment as well.

Mushroom Risotto (95 RMB) was quite a delicious plate – the rice creamy but not too rich, and the mushrooms fat and juicy – but it tasted a bit under-seasoned.

Our last main dish, Duck Confit with Berries (158 RMB), was lovely. I especially liked the fruity berry sauce which paired seamlessly with the crispy skin and tender meat, but the whole dish (again) seemed a tad bit under-seasoned.

For desserts, we tried a trio of Tiramisu (50 RMB), Blueberry Cheese Cake (60 RMB), and Panna Cotta (50 RMB) – all very well put together, and I was especially drawn to the velvety smooth tiramisu. Each spoonful was a pleasure!

Cheese Cake (60 RMB), Panna Cotta (50 RMB), Tiramisu (50 RMB)

Service at Mistral definitely needs some work, but I won’t mind visiting again to try some the other dishes on the menu –  the table next to us had an absolutely irresistible-looking Goat Cheese with Caramelized Onions (torched at the table) and Seafood Paella. It looks like Mistral on the list for Shanghai Restaurant Week, and for those who haven’t been there yet, this is a wonderful chance to sample some dishes at a very affordable price.

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Written by sugarednspiced

February 21st, 2012 at 7:12 pm