Add: 432 Shanxi Nan Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu / 陕西南路432号, 近复兴中路
Tel: 3368 6108
Hours: [The Press] 11am-2am [Flask] 7pm-2am
Price: 35-70 RMB/sandwich, 90 RMB/cocktail
Visited: Nov 2015
You have seen The Press / Flask on my blog when I first visited in February. This wildly successful speakeasy bar has since updated its cocktail list, and also launched a delicious-looking grilled cheese sandwich menu. Time to revisit!
You know the drill – pass through that vintage Coca Cola vending machine on the left, and you will arrive at the hidden bar behind. Flask is one of the hottest speakeasy bars in Shanghai at the moment – I arrived around 7pm for photos of the empty place, and by the time I left around 8pm, it was packed – even on a Tuesday night.
As it was dinner time, I started with the grilled cheese sandwiches. First up was the Flask Melt (60 RMB), a three cheese melt with Bourbon honey glazed bacon on white toast. I liked how they brushed the toasts with garlic butter for that extra layer of aroma, but the sandwich is missing a wow factor…perhaps that could be solved by bringing out more of the Bourbon flavor.
Then, the Nacho Cheese (65 RMB), my favorite sandwich of the evening. Laden with avocado, aged cheddar, boiled egg, jalapeno, mayonnaise, and sriracha sauce…much fatter than the Flask Melt, and just the right amount of spiciness for me.
Next I tried K-Town (55 RMB), a sandwich of house-made kimchi, BBQ pork belly, aged cheddar, and pickled garlic. Another good one.
Then there was Wake Up Call (60 RMB), toasted buns sandwiching Spanish chorizo, fried egg, aged cheddar, spicy tomato chutney and sriracha sauce. I was really too full by this point to enjoy this, but I’m thinking about coming back another day and having this for lunch since The Press opens at 11am. On another note, all savory sandwiches are served with house-made coleslaw on the side, which is fairly light (reminds me of Taiwanese pickled cabbages actually), a good accompaniment to curb the richness of the sandwiches.
There is of course room for dessert, and I ended the sandwich tasting with Monkey Business (40 RMB), peanut butter, grape jelly and Bourbon maple glazed banana. I love the combo and pb&j with bananas (in fact I make these at home quite often) but alas the banana slices in this sandwich came out really cold and I would’ve liked a bit more peanut butter and a bit more jam. There’s also a S’mores (45 RMB) with nutella chocolate, hazelnut crumble, and marshmallow, which I didn’t get to try but will definitely come back for.
And now, on to the drinks. First glass of the evening was Taiwan Winter Melon Tea (95 RMB), and this was love at first sip for me. Made with Don Julio Reposado, Pandanus Amaryllifolius Syrup, Coconut Water, Tonic Bitters, and Rose Salt, this is a whimsical reproduction of the Taiwan winter melon tea flavor. It came hidden in a book too, very in line with the speakeasy concept.
Second glass, Tommy’s Margarita (85 RMB): Arandas Oro, Pineapple Juice, Agave Syrup, Lime Juice. The foam on top is slightly torched and sprinkled with seaweed powder, this unexpected combination really hit the mark. I’m not sure if there is shiso on the ingredients list but I definitely tasted that flavor as well, and it was really really nice.
Third glass, Spanish Sunshine (90 RMB): Zacapa Rum, Aperol, Kahlua, PX Sherry, Manzanilla Sherry. I like the drink in itself, but didn’t think the plum powder on the glass rim blended well with the rest – would’ve preferred without.
I also had a sample of one of the sharing cocktails, Pow Wow (400 RMB), usually served in a vintage Martini shaker to be shared among 5-6 people. This one is made with Martin Miller’s, Infused Pandanus, Amaryllifolius Syrup, Pineapple Juice, Agave Syrup, Lime, with a lovely coconut flavor.
And this was what my friend was having all evening, so good that he kept ordering the same one: Vieux Carre (off the menu), made with rye whisky, Cognac, sweet vermouth, Peychaud’s bitters, Angostura Aromatic bitters, and Benedictine Liquer.
The one conjuring up these delicious drinks for us tonight was Allen, one of the three Taiwanese bartenders at Flask.
An excellent evening of tasty grilled cheese sandwiches and creative cocktails. Flask was a full house even on a Tuesday evening, so either come early or make a reservation. If you just want the sandwiches, they are available at The Press starting at 11am. Come hungry.