Unico & Colagreco
Add: 2F, Three on the Bund, 3 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Guangdong Lu
. 中山东一路3号外滩三号2楼, 近广东路
Tel: 5308 5396
Hours: [Mon-Fri] 6pm~2am [Sat-Sun] 6pm~late
Price: 500+ RMB/person
Visited on: 2012-08
Please note that this is an arranged tasting.
Unico & Colagreco, the new tenant on the 2nd floor of Three on the Bund, is – as its name suggests – composed of two parts. Part 1 is Unico, a casual bar with signature cocktails and Argetinian tapas, and Part 2 is Colagreco, a Mediterranean-influenced fine dining restaurant by Mauro Colagreco, the first Argentinian chef to be awarded two Michelin Stars. Let’s take a peek at Unico first.
I didn’t spend much time in this space, but here’s a little expert from SmartShanghai for your info:
“The (tapas) menu plays off of a theme of compass coordinates. Take S-46°W-68°, for instance. That’s Patagonia, and it is expressed through flavors like ‘Fresh Crab Meat with Avocado and Grapefruit’ or ‘Clams with Smoked Eggplant Caviar and Criolla Sauce.’…Naturally, the cocktail list follows the same theme with selections from the Caribbean like el Presidente (Havana three-year rum, homemade sweet vermouth, and grapefruit bitters, with an orange twist), or their signature Cosmopolitan de Malbec, once again from Patagonia.”
While waiting for the rest of my dinner party to arrive, I sipped on a glass of Sparkling Mojito (180 RMB), the “sophisticated” version of the famous Mojito, with fine bubbles – Perrier Jouët Grand Brut, Havana 3Y rum, fresh mint, fresh lime, fresh lime juice, syrup.
Going deeper into the space, we passed by this little jungle alcove (a nice touch that brightens up the atmosphere).
With a pretty and lonely parrot. We really need to bring him a friend from back home.
And there we were at Colagreco, slightly somber in herringbone hardwood floors and red leather chairs.
The menu, with cute illustrations.
Bread with a hint of lemon, served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Amuse bouche: crayfish salad with baby cucumber, flowers attached.
Argento Chardonnay 2010 Mendoza, a “lightly oaked Chardonnay with rich tropical fruits flavors and a fresh, crisp finish.”
My favorite from the appetizers selection was The Forest (158 RMB) with quinoa, parmesan cream, and wild mushroom. I wasn’t quite sure what the green sponges were – perhaps just spinach-colored savory sponge cakes – but they really did make the plate look like a lush little forest. Quinoa is something I don’t see very often on menus around Shanghai, and it’s definitely a delight to find it here at Colagreco.
For a heartier and meatier option, try shiitake consommé with pork belly slow cook and roasted tiger shrimps (138 RMB).
Sea tartar in different textures (208 RMB) was a medley of 6 different types of raw seafood – shrimp, scallop, oyster, etc. – the first bite was wonderful, but the second had a rather unpleasant fishy taste.
Tomatoes salad with basil pesto and almond (118 RMB) was beautiful in presentation – the chef seems to really love fresh flowers as a garnish, which I find delightful as well – but the taste was on the bland side. To be fair, this might be because the previous three appetizers I had already tasted were more intense in flavor, so this one paled in comparison.
On to the red - Bodega Norton Malbec 2009, “sweet and spicy aromas of black pepper; ripe red fruit on the palate, with smooth, harmonious tannins.”
My choice of main course was farm‐raised piglet, polenta and roasted wild mushrooms (218 RMB). Good, if not especially memorable.
Here are the main courses ordered by others at the table: scallops, glazed vegetables and smoked sauce (218 RMB).
Australia beef rib‐eye 120 days (308 RMB).
Stuffed red mullet, chick peas stew and spring vegetables (178 RMB).
And now, the desserts, each a beautiful construction. My favorite was Brittany biscuit, vanilla & lemon mascarpone cream, wild strawberry textures and verbena sorbet 98 RMB), not only because it was a vividly colorful plate, but also because the tart really was a pleasure to eat. There’s nothing terribly creative about this piece (perhaps except the verbena sorbet which I haven’t came across before), but the flavor and texture were both very well done.
A favorite at the table was hazelnuts biscuit with chocolate ganache, mate tea ice cream and caramelized hazelnut (118 RMB), though I personally didn’t exactly fancied the sandy texture of the chocolate ganache. Mate tea ice-cream was rather interesting though, give this a a try if you are curious as to what that tastes like.
Saffron mousseline, orange water blossom sponge and almond (138 RMB).
Raspberry, litchi and rose water blossom (108 RMB).
Crispy chocolate tuile, praline & peanuts foam, banana ice cream (108 RMB).
Caramelized brioche, strawberry and rhubarb (88 RMB).
While I was impressed by the presentation of dishes at Colagreco – the incorporation of herbs and flowers to create imaginative compositions was very delicately achieved – the food itself didn’t exactly leave a memorable mark. Since I went during the soft opening period, perhaps they just need a bit more time to figure things out. Let’s see.