The name BOR comes from ‘Jeg bor her’, or Danish for ‘I live here’. It’s a proclamation outright by Kasper Pedersen who’s just opened his new restaurant on Anfu Lu: this is my house.
At recently shuttered Pelikan, Pedersen’s debut in Shanghai, the ever-affable young chef flitted about the room, running dishes to tables and chatting with guests. At BOR, the boundary between kitchen and airy, contemporary dining room has dissolved.
Pedersen takes an unfussy, unpretentious approach in the kitchen, stressing that here he’s cooking what he loves to eat over a particular cuisine. Still, there’s a Nordic twang and simplicity to everything. To start, ‘snacks’ of grilled sardines (68RMB) arrive with a parsley-almond sauce and bright squeeze of lemon. Shrimp (78RMB), likewise grilled, come served with a pool of red chilli dip. Salted crackers are laden with rolls of smoked salmon and dill (38RMB). Tiny Danish hotdogs, piled high with pickles and onions atop lashings of mustard, ketchup and aioli, are delicious enough but at 58RMB are hard to imagine ordering again.
Some dishes are unfussy to the point of plain. A promising romaine salad (38RMB) with salted anchovy dressed in black sesame hits a flat note. At lunch, smørrebrød (58RMB) with tomato, potato, mustard greens, a swipe of mayo and a halved hardboiled egg is fine but nothing more.
On the other hand, chicken salad smørrebrød (70RMB) comes together brilliantly, accented with pumpkin seeds and pickles and garnished with fried chicken skin. Excellent hot smoked salmon (188RMB) paired with sweet mustard and pickles melts in your mouth. Skip the accompanying grilled dumpling skins. Cute idea, but actualised? Tough and dry.
There are, of course, larger format meats. Fork-tender pork ribs (160RMB), first smoked and braised, then thrown in the Josper charcoal grill come paired with sour apple purée, mustard seeds and chopped shallots. Oyster blade steak (238RMB) in a black pepper glaze has also been kissed by the Josper, and it’s an entirely satisfying dish swimming in brown butter hollandaise. But honestly, and weirdly, what’s most memorable ends up being one bold little funky bowl of caramelised onions punctuated with blue Stilton and pear (48RMB).
Dessert echoes the same simplicity throughout the meal – honeycomb-crumbled honey ice cream and milk jelly, tart raspberry sorbet flecked with salt and drizzled in pine nut oil and exceptionally creamy chocolate mousse with chocolate sorbet and dark chocolate (60RMB).
Uncomplicated but not unsophisticated, BOR is the kind of neighbourhood spot that could easily turn into a weekly affair.
Dinner for two around: 650RMB.
By Cat Nelson