Update: This venue is now closed
Many fine venues struggle and fail to attract diners down to Wharf 1846 and the neighbouring Cool Docks but the veteran group behind Mr and Mrs Bund
is attempting to turn the tide. Their new Y2C2 is the latest opening vying for visitors south of the Bund.
The sophisticated Cantonese eatery’s name stands for ‘yin yang, classical contemporary’ and the group has dropped a pretty penny on everything from exquisite plateware to silk embroidered wallpaper. When touring the space, there’s a definite déjà vu for anyone who has visited Bar Rouge
; it’s designed by the same Kokai Studio that restored the entire Bund 18 building. There are red-lipped beauties pouting on one wall and parasol-like lanterns in a gorgeous private dining room, similar to the lighting in Tan Wai Lou, the now-closed Bund 18 restaurant.
Y2C2’s extensive 60-page iPad menu requires 20 minutes merely to flip through and has so many Retina-grade photographs, it’s hard to hone in on a few dishes. For starters, Chinese bacon in Pu’er tea (68RMB) is a strong example of what the restaurant is trying to achieve. The classic salty pork paired with delicate tea-infused jelly, spicy ginger soy and marinated cucumber slices is simple, yet a tad different, and plated with a meticulous modern panache. Sweet peas with kale borecole (68RMB) are freshly shelled and keenly balance the peas’ sweetness and the salty kale.
Chef’s signature soup (68RMB/person) includes abalone, seahorse, scallops and morel mushrooms, which meld into a warming broth that sink into the morels’ nooks beautifully. Another soup on the menu, ‘The Cordyceps Sinesis, fish maw with teal’, is served in miniature clay teapots for a cool 780RMB/person. A page each of abalone, sea cucumber, and the like could easily bring the bill to upwards of 2,000RMB/person.
A solid indication of any Cantonese restaurant’s calibre, the roasted platter (128RMB) comes with duck, chicken and pork served on black and white trapezoids,with miniature crocks of mustard, sugar and sweet chilli sauce on the side. The duck is succulent and strikes just the right meat-fat ratio, but the roasted pork is the stand-out, with crackling that’s flawless and is wholly worth its own order for 88RMB. The chef’s piece de resistance however is the God-speed turbot (198RMB). A bargain at this price, a whole fish is exquisitely filleted and arranged into a whimsical scene complete with a porcelain fisherman pulling in his impressive catch.
Head chef Zhou Han Ming is originally from Guangdong and worked in Beijing for 12 years before arriving in Shanghai last year. Sporting a striped apron and red beret, the cheerful, diminutive chef often appears at the table to explain how he modified his childhood dishes with a modern twist. Service is sincere and of a high level all round (as you’d expect from a group who have been in the game this long).
Y2C2’s decor and cuisine could likely win it a crowded dining room next to its sister venues in Bund 18, and the prices are reasonable considering the excellence of the cuisine. But on this southern stretch of the riverside which has yet to pick up momentum, Y2C2 is an expensive gamble given that diners have more than a few choices in the heart of the city.