First published on 3 Sep 2013. Updated on 17 Sep 2015.
Rustic, casual Italian in Lujiazui from ExpatCucina blogger
Update: This venue is currently closed
Another day, another Italian venture opens in Shanghai. This one is in the space vacated by all-American Pudong eatery Chloe’s, down a quiet side-street in Lujiazui. A rustic dining room with lots of exposed wood, Sal e Pepe comes from Expatcucina.com
food blogger and cooking teacher Daniela Ingrosso, who after five years of hosting Italian cuisine classes in Shanghai has decided to share her recipes with a wider audience.
‘There are already a lot of high-end Italian restaurants in Shanghai, particularly in Lujiazui, but we focus on affordable, home-style cooking, not fancy presentation,’ she says, highlighting that many of the recipes come from her grandmother.
As well as including a customer-friendly tick-list of classics (pasta carbonara, mushroom risotto, margherita pizza) the stand-outs here are the family-inspired foods, such as cozze gratini (grilled stuffed mussels, 55RMB) made using a decades-old recipe from her grandmother, and the wrapped pork (75RMB), another family recipe, one from her mother.
Of the pastas, the simple caprese (mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil; 65RMB) is fresh and light and lets the high quality ingredients shine through. So far all ingredients are sourced from dedicated Italian importers, but Ingrosso says they are also looking to work with local producers, such as Shanghai-based cheese maker Solo Latte for mozzarella, to balance the same quality with cost. She also hopes to introduce her own homemade ricotta and ice cream, along with more family recipes following the soft opening.
For the moment, dolci is a limited selection, featuring tiramisu and panna cotta with black cherries, but Ingrosso’s childhood favourite, the ‘chocolate salami’ (50RMB), is a must-try. A playful take on fridge cake, with melted dark chocolate and crushed milk biscuits wrapped in roulade, it’s a dense but indulgent portion that’s perfect for sharing.
In the evenings, there’s a buy-one-get-one-free drinks happy hour and the wine list is affordable, with glasses starting at 38RMB and bottles going for under 240RMB.