Based from Mr. Wiki, Shanghai cuisine is characterized by the use of alcohol in most of its dishes. And while I haven't tried Chinese cuisine done Shanghai style in the past, I was more than ready to try Modern Shanghai which promises a contemporary take on Shanghai cuisine. So with the beau in tow, we decided to have a light dinner in SM Mall of Asia, at the newest imported franchise brought to Manila by The Bistro Group.
Unlike most Chinese restaurants I've been to, Modern Shanghai isn't donned in red and gold. Instead, it oozes with edgy sophistication with its slightly dim lighting and dark-colored dining chairs. The sleek and shiny metal panels, as well as the black and white-patterned flooring were also hard to miss. They added not just a touch of modernity in ambiance, but also promised nothing short of an unconventional Chinese dining experience. And after getting seated comfortably, we started our attempt at a light meal.
Since both the beau and I love these jiggly Chinese delicacy, we first started off our dinner with a serving of the Jelly Fish with Aged Vinegar. Unlike an order from other restaurants, this version came with big sheets of jelly fish instead of strands which made munching every piece more enjoyable. In terms of taste, it's quite sour and definitely comparable to other jelly fish appetizers we had at other Chinese joints.
|Jelly Fish with Aged Vinegar (P168)|
Next, we ordered the Cold Dish Platter which had 4 kinds of cold appetizer. If I remember it correctly, we had smoked fish, marinated beef shank, bamboo shoots and braised glutens. Everything on this plate was okay. Since the beau isn't a big fan of veggies, he ate more of the fish and beef shank. On the other hand, I consumed more of the bamboo shoots and braised glutens a.k.a. eggplant with beans.
|Cold Dish Platter - Four Varieties (P298)|
The highlight of our whole meal for me was the Signature Xiao Long Bao. While I still prefer Shi Lin's version, this serving is still a good competitor. The casing of this bundled treat was a little thicker than I would've wanted it to be, but it served its purpose efficiently as it definitely won't break easily. Every mouthful also unlocked the delicate yet flavorful hot soup. Just add a dab of black vinegar and I'm in yummy xiao long bao heaven.
|✓ Signature Xiao Long Bao (P198)|
Since the beau loves his pork dumplings without any hot soup inside, he ordered a serving of Beijing Pork Dumplings. To be honest, the two of us looked a little disappointed when this was served. We haven't had Beijing dumplings before so we had no idea how it'd look like. However, the presentation just seemed so dull and sad. After biting through a piece, I found the skin a little too thick for my liking. The filling was savory though and the whole thing was enjoyable when dipped in its accompanying sauce.
|Beijing Pork Dumplings (P148)|
I wanted some savory veggies so I ordered a serving of Braised Glutens with Dried Mushrooms, Bamboo Shoots and Fungus. It's quite similar to the braised glutens in the cold appetizer platter, but this one is served hot and with more goodies in the mix. Although this dish is quite simple, I actually liked it a lot. I especially enjoyed the slightly crunchy texture of the bamboo shoots and the wood ear mushrooms.
|Braised Glutens with Dried Mushrooms, Bamboo Shoots and Fungus (P178)|
For meat, we had the Deep-fried Pork Ribs with Spicy Salt and Pepper which was a really flavorful pork dish perfect to go with our choice of rice. Every bite was crunchy so it made every spoonful all the more enjoyable. The beau seemed to really dig this dish too as he didn't mind the other items after this was served on our table. Haha!
|Deep-fried Pork Ribs with Spicy Salt and Pepper (P288)|
To go along with our mains, we had a serving of Yang Chow Fried Rice. Like most Yang Chow fried rice I've had before, this version is equally good and with enough pork pieces, chorizo de bilbao, shrimps, egg, green peas and green onions. Among our orders for the night though, this rice really went well with the deep-fried pork ribs.
|Yang Chow Fried Rice (P228)|
For a sweet ending, we had the Fresh Mango Cream with Sago and Pomelo. I've always loved mango with sago, but the pomelo shreds added a refreshing zesty flavor to the subtly sweet and creamy mixture. The beau wasn't too fond of the pomelo bits though as he's generally not a fan of the fruit itself.
|Fresh Mango Cream with Sago and Pomelo (P118)|
The beau ordered a Fresh Mango Pudding too, since he wasn't too happy with my dessert of choice. Unlike my mango and pomelo dessert, this had a straight-forward yet still delicate creaminess and refreshing mango sweetness. Every spoonful was very enjoyable too 'cause of the smooth and silky pudding texture. And although I hate to admit it, I actually enjoyed this more than the mango sago with pomelo I ordered.
|✓ Fresh Mango Pudding (P108)|
|✓ Shanghai Lily (P118) and Bottomless Iced Tea (P98)|
Although I quite enjoyed our light meal at Modern Shanghai, I can't say there was an item that really stood out to me. Everything we ordered was good or even decent at the very least, but only the xiao long bao will probably have me coming back for it. If ever, I think I'll order completely different dishes since our choices for the night might not actually be their prized offerings. Nevertheless though, I think Modern Shanghai is still a restaurant worth checking out. Prices are quite affordable for a restaurant under The Bistro Group's wing, although I have to note that portion sizes are only fit for 1 to 2 persons.
Taste - 4/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Modern Shanghai, SM Mall of Asia
2/F SM Mall of Asia, Entertainment Mall North Wing
Manila Bay Reclamation Area, Pasay City
Metro Manila, Philippines
3/F Glorietta 2, Palm Drive
Ayala Center, Makati