You'd never know it by looking at it. The frantic hodgepodge of decor at C Pearl – sleek mirrors and space-age lighting fixtures clash against outmoded, heavy leather chairs, gold Moët & Chandon-branded pillows and a fishing net wall hanging – belies what’s happening in the kitchen. In a few words? Energetic, dynamic and full of possibility.
Tucked aside on the terrace level of a mall in Pudong, the newest venture from the Oysterlicious Group (The Plump Oyster, Osteria) knows its bivalves. Oysters arrive glistening, luscious and served with rose vinegar – sweet and salty Fanny Bays alongside arresting, alien jade-coloured green gills from France’s Marennes-Oléron coast.
Everything arriving to the table radiates thought and care, with a simplicity and sincerity that reflects group chef Elijah Holland and head chef Joshua Moroney’s Australian roots. Holland and Moroney cure charcuterie in-house, with selections like duck prosciutto, lomo (aircured pork loin), duck and black garlic salami, chorizo, and pork, fennel and chilli sausage. Lychee wood-smoked salmon is aged on salt blocks for four to six days, then coated in pastrami spices and served with dollops of lemon-chive cream and toasted brioche. Lovely, crisp salted cod croquettes pair smartly with dill aioli and tender Icelandic scampi see a dressing of melted fennel butter.
An air of ease pervades. Moreish New Zealand clams are fried with pancetta and ‘whatever looks good in the kitchen’ says Moroney. Missteps do happen – under-salted sea urchin pasta lacks pep, Josper oven-roasted squid stuffed with fermented mashed potatoes though curious and ambitious is lost on us – but finish on a high note with a decidedly seductive sticky date pudding (55RMB), dulce de leche ice cream and fresh apple.
By Cat Nelson