This venue has closed.
Tucked away in a lilong
beside K11, Mi Xiang Yuan was one of our favourite cheap eats in the city, serving up delicious local favourites such as lurou fan
(pork belly with rice) at bargainous prices. But the impending threat of bulldozers has forced founder and chef Anthony Zhao – formerly of the Portman Ritz-Carlton and Laris at Three on the Bund – to up sticks.
Fortunately, he’s landed on a development just around the corner from Eco Village in Xuhui, a short stroll from Damuqiao Lu metro station, which has enabled him to expand Mi Xiang Yuan into a new space, add new items such as xiaolongbao and Shanghai-style spring rolls and, incredibly, lower the menu’s prices (you can expect to pay around 20-30RMB for a set lunch).
He’s also introduced a brand new outlet upstairs, a Chaoshan-style, beef-focused hotpot outlet named Holy Cow. Billed as ‘a hotpot restaurant with a healthy difference’, Holy Cow uses hand-cut, never frozen beef from Dalian yellow cattle, in contrast to the vast majority of hotpots around town who often use machine-sliced, frozen meats. From filet (58RMB) to ribeye (48RMB) and stomach (38RMB) to tail (48RMB), the restaurant offers 18 different cuts of beef. There’s also a wide range of vegetables (from 8RMB) including many sourced from Haimen-based small-scale organic farm Soleil Villa, plus seafood (from 12RMB), lamb (from 38RMB) and meatballs (from 32RMB).
The freshness of the ingredients on offer pays dividends. The meat and vegetables are packed full of flavour in a way that we’ve rarely experienced at other hotpot spots in the city. Our sauce bowl, usually relied upon to liven up the broth-boiled items of most hotpots, is barely touched at Holy Cow – a sign of just how tasty the meat and vegetables are on their own. Bases start from 58RMB for a half and half pot of spicy and clear beef broth and, while they top out at 228RMB for the ‘medicinal root ox penis soup’, prices are good value given the quality and flavours on offer.
Opened just in time for Shanghai’s bitterest winter weather, Holy Cow’s simple, stylish space makes for a relaxed atmosphere and a great spot to hunker down in for some warming hotpot.
By Jake Newby