Perhaps you’re familiar with Xuhui's up-and-coming F&B complex, The Weave? Well, the Azul Group has opened a second branch of their legacy brand Azul, taking over the space that previously housed the group’s very own Bhacus Wine & Wood Grill.
Azul Weave brings the same Latin flair from the Shankang Li branch, but this time, with bold, hearty comfort food thanks to an unparalleled wood-fire grill that occupies centrestage of the open kitchen; think gorgeously charred seafood and smoky, tender cuts of meat coming out of the Josper oven.
Helmed by Peruvian-native Eduardo Vargas, a respected F&B pioneer in Shanghai, Azul Weave draws on flavours from his heritage, highlighting Latin and Spanish flavours with a menu designed to bring people together, making Azul Weave the place for intimate dinners, large gatherings, and everything in between.
While great for dinners, Azul Weave also has irresistible lunch offerings on the weekdays. Starting at 78 RMB, a wide-range of starters, mains and desserts incorporate Azul's signature panache.
New to the repertoire, Azul Weave's Whole Halibut (258 RMB) shouldn’t be missed and is, in our eyes, the restaurant's unrivalled showstopper. The perfect canvas for the wood-fire grill, the halibut is first coated in a garam masala spice rub, and then grilled until it reaches a soft, flaky tenderness, and the spicy, crusty exterior’s smoky notes seep back into the fish’s flesh.
One of the restaurant's most popular dishes to date, the Lamb Shoulder Taco (98 RMB) is an Azul rendition of a Latin birria. Lamb is braised until pull-apart tender, then packaged in a house-made flour tortilla before it's finished with a layer of ooey-gooey cheese. The taco is then served alongside a hearty bowl of spiced broth made with the lamb braising stock so that all the meaty goodness doesn't go to waste.
TIME OUT TIP: The best way to enjoy the taco is to dunk it in the accompanying broth, top it with a spoonful of salsa and aji, and lean in for the ultimate scrumptious bite.
Freshly made every day, the Burratita (68 RMB), although petite, compensates for its size with the creamy decadence we've come to expect from a velvety ball of burrata cheese. Complimented by a savoury chilli sauce, crispy shallots and a fresh salad, it's a wonderful amalgamation of punchy flavours and textures.
The Scottish Egg (68 RMB) puts a Latin twist on a classic pub favourite that's hot in more ways than one. A soft-boiled egg is encased with ground meat and spicy salami, fried until golden-brown and finished with a generous douse of luscious sriracha butter — it's an indulgent bite we'd happily have again and again.
Here’s one you might recognise from previous visits to Azul: the Tuna Cube Brulee (78 RMB) puts a contemporary spin on a conventional Latin ceviche. A cubed piece of blushing tuna is presented in a shot glass, crusted with a thin layer of torched sugar, topped with tobiko, and bathed in vibrant passionfruit tiger's milk. Visually, it sure is colourful, and it eats just as bright. It's basically ceviche condensed into one perfect square-shaped mouthful.
For a taste of quintessential Spanish delights, try the Squid Omelette (78 RMB), an open-faced omelette topped with rings of baby squid dressed in a paprika sauce, or the Seafood Paella (248 RMB), which never fails to impress with its flavours of the ocean spread throughout a pan of Spanish rice.
A feast at Azul isn't complete without trying a few (or a lot more) grilled mains. The Charcoal Octopus (108 RMB) and Charcoal Lamb (198 RMB) are two dishes that showcase the true artistry of firewood, which imparts each cut of protein with a delicious, smoky edge.
A fan favourite at Azul, the Beef A La Brasa (238 RMB) sees a thick cut of Wagyu M7 flap served hot off the Josper oven and dressed with a vibrantly herbacious salsa verde. Also showcasing the kitchen team’s skills is the Suckling Pig (128 RMB), which boasts a layer of crisp golden skin atop a slab of succulent pork.
Don't skimp on dessert! Pastry chef Zoe Zhang, who has a pedigree at The Peninsula Shanghai, has curated a range of exclusive treats that are only available for lunch and weekend brunches. Our picks? The Nutella Banana Pancakes and Azul's famous Peruvian Flan serve as the best midday pick-me-ups.
By Eugenia Mok