Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Shanghai] Uo Kura 魚藏

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Uo Kura 魚藏 (Hong Mei store 虹梅店)

Add: No. 30, Lane 3717, Hongmei Lu, near Ya’an Xi Lu 虹梅路3717弄30号, 近延安西路
Tel: 6446 0252
Hours: 5:30pm-11pm
Price: 500 RMB
Visited: Jun 2011

I arrived at Uo Kura famished and flustered after a hectic Friday at work, and was counting on the food to brighten up my day. My expectations were high – Uo Kura is said to be on par with Sushi Oyama, so far my favorite Japanese restaurant in Shanghai. Hungry and eager, we made things simple by ordering two kaiseki sets (495 RMB) and complemented that with some a la carte dishes that looked particularly interesting.

The set started with a pleasant 冷制香菇羹 chilled mushroom soup as cold appetizer.

Next came a pot of 鴨丸京蔥土瓶蒸 soup with duck meat ball and scallion, which was way too salty, but the tender duck meat balls themselves were quite delightful.

This was followed by a trio of appetizers – 文蛤壽司 clam sushi, 軟煮小鮑 烤海膽 松子奶油 鮑魚凍 abalone jelly with soft boiled abalone and pine nuts cream, 冬筍扇貝配雞蛋味噌 winter bamboo shoots with scallop and shiso miso. All were mediocre, and I was especially disappointed by the flavorless uni (sea urchin) topping the abalone jelly. The only thing memorable from this trio was a fragrant shiso miso that came with the scallops and winter bamboo shoots.

The sashimi set was small but satisfying, with the ama ebi (sweet shrimp) and otoro (fatty tuna belly) being the easy crowd pleasers as usual.

We then asked the kitchen to deep-fry the shrimp heads for us. A must.

Uo Kura’s 鱈蟹蒸蛋 steamed eggs with snow crab meat came in a crab shell, a presentation that I haven’t seen before, but the flavor itself tasted very typical.

菲力牛排芝麻風味 roasted steak with sesame sauce was tender and juicy, very well-received at our table.

萬古燒鰻魚飯 grilled eel over rice was a dish that I eagerly looked forward to as this has always been my favorite Japanese dish as a child, and Uo Kura’s rendition has received especially high remarks on Dianping (oh, how I should’ve learned by now to never trust this site). The grilled eel over rice, which came in a sizable and very heavy Banko Yaki pot, turned out to be satisfying but nothing spectacular.

Next came a bowl of 清湯鰤魚煮蘿蔔 soup with yellow tail and daikon, which was again very salty and left unfinished.

The vanilla pudding marked the end of an unimpressive kaiseki set.

The a la carte orders proved to be better choices. We tried two types of tofu appetizers, the first was自家制白芝麻豆腐配低溫溫泉蛋 house made white sesame tofu with  soft boiled egg (25 RMB), the second 文蛤蒸豆腐 Steamed tofu with clams (45RMB). Both delicious.

章魚煮蘿蔔  Octopus and daikon stew (65 RMB) was one of our favorite dishes of the night. The colors were pretty, the texture was chewy but not tough, and the flavor from the broth were completely soaked up by the octopus and daikon chunks.

銀鱈魚西京燒  Grilled cod (55 RMB) was not memorable in itself, but the accompanying roasted cumquat was a nice touch.

The overall experience at Uo Kura? Food was decent but unimpressive, ambiance somewhat uncomfortable (loud noises from across the hall even though we were in our own private room), and service was clueless and excruciatingly slow. I will not be back again any time soon.

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Written by sugarednspiced

June 4th, 2011 at 11:02 am