Our curiosity had been piqued when we first saw news of Jimmy’s Kitchen, one of Shanghai’s first Western restaurants, coming back to the city after over 60 years away. When they asked us if we’d like to preview their menu ahead of the April 28 grand opening, we jumped at the chance. This is the new Shanghai Jimmy’s, which like the new Shanghai, now caters to expense accounts rather than sailor’s wages.
The digs at Jimmy’s are posh nods to old timey steakhouses – there are scone lamps and wood-paneled walls, but also an LCD screen fireplace and an open stainless steel kitchen. It’s on the same level as other recent additions to the Shanghai high-end steak-based dining scene, Morton’s and Pelham’s, and – when it comes to anything that comes out of their highly-touted broiler – it’s priced similarly. A juicy 7 ounces of New York strip loin, with sides, comes in at 308rmb.
However, Jimmy’s menu is also much more extensive, and has things you’d be less surprised to see at any of those pub-restaurants around town. They had a Fish & Chips dish (168rmb), Pork Knuckle w/ Sauerkraut (188rmb) and several curries (128rmb to 168rmb). They highly recommended their Chicken Kiev (148rmb), a classic from the Hong Kong restaurant, which did in fact turn out to be one of the standouts for the night. Like a giant chicken-shaped xiaolongbao, it burst forth with a soup of garlic butter when we made the first cut.
In fact, the staff were almost intensely intent on telling us about how Jimmy’s serves “simple food! Easy to understand and easy to eat.” One of the higher ups specifically told us that you wouldn’t find dishes that had been “drizzled with olive oil.” It was interesting how much emphasis that was given, considering that their “Gourmet Salad” (118rmb) featured three preparations of duck (duck confit, smoked duck breast, foie gras mousse) and was most definitely decorated in a vinegar reduction.
Not to say that the Gourmet Salad wasn’t delicious – it was. As was the equally complex Tian of Jumbo Crabmeat & Crushed Kenya Avocado (128rmb), a neat mound of diced tomatoes, avocado, crabmeat sitting in the middle of a thick gazpacho soup.
Mains also benefited from extra touches – a good-sized portion of Pan-seared Salmon Fillet (228rmb) sat upon a layer of spinach, which had been carefully placed over an island of cauliflower gratin amidst a sea of lobster butter sauce. We also liked the steak tartar (188rmb), which came with a trio of condiments neatly placed next to a metal bucket of fries, though it seemed a little small compared to all the other main dishes.
Desserts included old world icons like the Baked Alaska (108rmb, but enough for two or three people) and the Bread & Butter Pudding (56rmb), both of which were fantastic. In short: they seem to have a great handle on fancified old European favorites – like somebody classed up O’Malley’s.
Though the menu spans 8 pages already, apparently it’s still just a sliver of what’s available in Hong Kong. Management said that they’re looking to add more dishes as soon as they’re sure they can do it well – we can look forward in future months to items like beef wellingtons or special Sunday roasts. It’ll be interesting to keep an eye out for, considering it is the thing that’s differentiating Jimmy’s from other places around town: we’ve heard of casual fine-dining, but is there a market for fine casual-dining?
Jimmy’s Kitchen is located on 1/F, Jinjiang Hotel (Cathay Building), 59 Maoming Nan Lu near Changle Lu, 茂名南路59号. Telephone: 6466 6869