He does it again: We had the pleasure of attending a couple of tastings at Bambou, Eduardo Vargas’ soon to soft-open new Southeast Asian restaurant. Eduardo has taken over the former “duck bar” above his own Azul and converted it into a tastefully dark and intimate space. With the dim lights and Buddha bar music playing over the speakers, we felt like we were at a Dragonfly awaiting our full body massages. What we got instead was a parade of delightful Vietnamese dishes, prepared by Eduardo’s veteran chef with years of experience on the Hanoi and Bangkok hotel circuits. There was much gushing over the mango and tuna salad and the glazed pork belly. Traditional favorites such as the crispy spring rolls and the individual bowls of pho were also competently made. Our favorite dish was the seared tenderloin, crisp and flavorful and better than Puxi on a bright, spring afternoon. And of course, Eduardo’s famously orgasmic creme brulee was the perfect capper to a near perfect feast.
With Bambou bound to be another addition to his growing roster of successful Shanghai establishments, Eduardo and his Midas touch are setting the standard for upper mid-range dining (about 150-200 RMB a person w/o wine) here in Shanghai.
We’re not bitter: Restaurant magazine released its annual ranking of the top restaurants in the world, and once again there was nary a mention of an Asia-based restaurant in the top 50. Places in India, Singapore, and Hong Kong make the top 100, but nothing from Japan or China. China we can understand, but last we checked, Japan has its fair share of Michelin stars. Something seems a little off.
Our latest food inflation news: China Daily has a piece on how the declining dollar and rising food prices have impacted expatriate shoppers as well as the restaurants and shops that cater to them.
Many stores and restaurants have raised the prices of their products and dishes to cope with the trend. Nick’s and Mart at Lido Hotel, 70 percent of whose customers are foreigners, is selling cheese, wine, pasta and imported spices at higher prices, says manager Zhang Manjiang. But the store is now preparing to buy more varieties of products from domestic and foreign suppliers, instead of concentrating only on overseas manufacturers.
Of course, there is an actual global food crisis going that doesn’t involve imported cheese and pasta, so no real tears are being shed here on our end, although we’ll have to cope with cutting back on our daily doses of foie gras and caviar.
Bambou – 18 Dongping Lu 3/F, near Hengshan Lu (东平路18号3楼, 近乌鲁木齐路) Tel: 6437-0136
Eric Hu is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news and gossip about Shanghai’s food scene to food at shanghaiist.com.