• Restaurants
  • European
  • French
Photographs: courtesy Oxalis
Photographs: courtesy Oxalis
Photographs: courtesy Oxalis
Photographs: courtesy Oxalis
388 Shanhaiguan Lu

If you blinked, you could have missed Oxalis the first time around. The modern French bistro from Jonas Noël, whose first Shanghai stint was at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, opened at boutique hotel The Waterhouse at South Bund mid-2018, only to shutter less than a year later. Now Noël and Oxalis are back – this time in a just-opened office and mall in Jingan.

While the menu has largely carried over, the interior could not be any more different. Where low-slung ceilings and rough concrete lent a dark and brooding feel to its original home, Oxalis’ new digs are bright, airy and cheerful. At lunchtime, sunlight floods through floor-to-ceiling windows. Bistro chairs and an olive green banquette push up against white marble-topped tables. Rattan screens and large wall pieces with a rustic French countryside garden pattern carry a pastoral theme through the space.

Dishes are enjoyable and thoughtful, though not revelatory. Two slices of average sourdough toast are 18RMB, but worth it for the brown butter sprinkled with porcini powder, at once sweet and salty. Laphroaig whisky-marinated beef tartare arrives piled high with Indian almonds and caviar, accompanied by parsley puree and a buttery confit egg yolk. On the lunch menu, spinach and ricotta ravioli come showered in toasted pine nuts and accented with deep-fried artichoke slices and charred artichoke quarters. Shaved horseradish and smoked egg yolk lend an edge to a beetroot salad with smoked yellowtail amberjack rillettes. Both totally satisfying, if unchallenging.

Local nods make their way in here and there. The excellent, bread-crusted halibut topped with crispy chestnuts sits in a rich broth with Shaoxing wine, brightened with mint oil. It’s a dish that feels energised, charged and full of potential – a glimmer of what Oxalis could turn into.

Average main: 198RMB.

By Cat Nelson

Venue name: Oxalis
Opening hours: 11.30am-2pm, 6-9pm
English address: Fourth Floor, Bldg 2, 388 Shanhaiguan Lu, near Cixi Lu
Chinese address: 山海关路388号2座4楼, 近慈溪路