From the team behind Coffee Tree and Bistro Burger comes this modern Peruvian restaurant and bar which has some of the tastiest chicken and rice we’ve had this side of the Pacific. Truly a fusion of flavours, pollo Criollo (118RMB), which Chala’s chef calls ‘easily the best Puerto Rican-inspired Creole dish’ is cooked with citrus juices, Peruvian aji amarillo chilli and cilantro sauce. The chicken is supremely tender with a rich smoky char, while its base of verdantly green rice has the creaminess of the best risottos.
Other standouts include the juicy beef lomo saltado (158RMB) and the calamari chicharrones (48RMB), which infuses a Japanese twist into the classic crispy fried squid dish with the seaweed seasoning urashima furukake nori. This is complemented by an aioli dip with a sharp wasabi kick.
For desserts, Chala’s unique take on the classic Italian sweet, tiramisu con leche (60RMB), adds an unexpected dimension with the addition of dulce de leche. Topped with marshmallows dusted thickly with cocoa powder, this is an intensely indulgent, moist and caramel-rich dessert.
And while we disparaged Chala’s cocktails in our drinks review
two months ago, on several follow-up visits we have found the affordable pisco drinks to be excellent. The alcoholic specials on offer are honourable examples of Peru’s signature mixtures, especially the pisco sour (48RMB). A heady combo of a strong pour of pisco and a properly foamy egg white crown, the bracingly sweet and sour concoction is ideal for Shanghai’s sticky summer nights.