Usher in summer with these delightful new menus around Shanghai

Seasonal fine dining in five-star hotels, fresh looks for winter staples, new ice cream and more

Photograph: Cat Nelson (Il Ristorante – Niko Romito)
Pool parties, rooftop sessions and afternoons spent lounging somewhere in the sun may be what first comes to mind when thinking of summer in Shanghai, but another indicator that the season really has arrived are the summer menus that pop up all over the city. From seasonal fine dining in five-star hotels to fresh looks for winter staples to new ice cream, here’s a few new menus around the city worth checking out over the coming weeks.


Italo Trattoria

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Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler

Italo is another spot that’s undergone a rebrand recently, with a switch to a more homely style of Italian – the sort nonna would serve up with a smile somewhere back in Tuscany, except in this case nonna is Lucky Lasagne (No Way Back Tattoo Parlour), who’s leading the kitchen. Start with an aperitivo from the martini trolley (68RMB) and then move onto the selection of carpaccio (58-128RMB) that features beef tenderloin with parmesan crisps, ox heart tomatoes with basil or finely sliced swordfish with mint.

For the mains, dig into big hearty bowls of pasta like long, velvety ribbons of pappardelle coated in rich wagyu Bolognese (88RMB) or ravioli that’s stuffed with mint and artichoke and covered generously with white lamb ragu (78RMB) and – if there’s room – a full-sized snapper steamed in a bag and served with olives and baby potatoes (228RMB).



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Photograph: courtesy X Bar

While the tunes don’t take off until after midnight at X Bar, it’s probably better to arrive fashionably early than late to the party because the bar has recently rolled out a bunch of fresh libations for its new-look summer cocktail list. With mezcal currently having a bit of a moment in Shanghai, it’s appropriate that two of the menu’s standouts highlight the agave-based spirit, one being the #3 (88RMB) that sees mezcal infused with chilli then shaken with cucumber juice, lime juice and agave syrup for a cool but spicy sip. The Hot Frozen (88RMB) pairs it with tequila, lemon juice, coconut syrup, Grand Marnier, passion fruit and chilli-infused vodka ‘firewater’ as an extra kicker that’ll have you amped for the dancefloor.



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Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler

French restaurant La Cabane has consistently been a place of warm refuge through winter months with its cold weather alpine staples like blankets of hot melty cheese, but as Shanghai starts to heat up the restaurant is embracing the summer with a revamped design from the interior to the menus

Posters of ski resorts have been replaced with tropical beaches from Tahiti and light dishes heavy on raw fish now make the focus of the food - like a tuna tataki salad (128RMB) tossed with fresh seared tuna, mango and cashews or the Tahitian style fish tartare (68RMB) that’s marinated in lime and coconut milk. Pair them with the strong mai tais to complete the escape-y experience.



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Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler

Nordic restaurant BOR Eatery is using the ocean as an outlet to bolster its food offerings for the summer with a set of new seafood dishes swimming onto the menu. If you can pull yourself away from the restaurant’s signature hot-smoked salmon, there’s squid’s lesser-known cousin cuttlefish (118RMB), bathed in a creamy dill sauce and adorned with celery sprouts or baked grouper served with mussel foam, chervil and capers (178RMB).

For the drinks, seasonal fruits like fig and loquat are used in new yogurt-based smoothies (56RMB), while on the alcoholic side, the Gold Digger (85RMB) is a pleasantly bitter beverage that balances ginger tea gin with rose, grapefruit juice and apple and cider. For brunchgoers, it’s all about the mimosa that’s given an Asian twist with yuzu (78RMB).



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Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler

Besides its flaky French pastries, this boulangerie is known for slinging some of the city’s creamiest ice cream and to tackle rising temperatures, it’s just unveiled four new flavours. Roasted buckwheat is an earthy and surprisingly sweet nod to chief ice cream maker Anne Katherine’s childhood in Brittany, while vanilla-cookie is a fail-proof unison between the scoop’s namesake ingredients and the two sorbets – strawberry with mint or passion fruit – both make perfect ice-cold summer respites. The availability for each one depends on the Luneurs location, but a single scoop goes for 30RMB and two for 45RMB.


Egg

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Photograph: courtesy Egg

The neighbourhood café devoted to eggs and their endless versatility has brought in a bunch of dishes to suit the summer – some old, some new and, naturally, some egg-based. You’ll find eggs nestled within a chewy pretzel bun next to bacon and gooey cheddar (65RMB), poached on rye sourdough and creme fraiche with red onion and ‘everything bagel’ salt (65RMB), in a pool of stewed tomatoes with herbs and spices as shakshuka (60RMB) or as an omelette filled with green peas, tangy feta and spinach (60RMB).

If dessert for breakfast is more your jam, check out the carrot cake waffles (60RMB) drizzled with coconut cream and enhanced by crushed pecans and cinnamon sugar.



Bvlgari
Photograph: Cat Nelson

This classy, Michelin-starred Italian restaurant at Bvlgari Hotel Shanghai has rolled out a lineup of new dishes to match its million-dollar skyline views. Luxury in simplicity is the mantra here, where Head Chef Mauro Aloisio riffs on the classic shrimp cocktail with delicate langoustine (490RMB) in a luxe sauce made only from the scampi’s head and olive oil, turns your basic tomato pasta up to 11 with a Pacojet and five-hour process for spaghetti (300RMB) that’s the most intense bite of summer you’ll have and presents Genovese-style veal ravioli (390RMB) tableside with showers of 24-month aged parmesan.

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