The minds behind Awfully Chocolate, a cake and ice cream shop, are trying their hand at fusion with Nine Thirty, a new space in K11 Art Mall serving up creations spliced from Japanese, Singaporean and Western cuisines. The result evokes what happens when that aunt who always brought awesome cupcakes to family picnics gets put in charge of all the food at this year’s picnic. Some dishes turn out edible while others feel as if they were jumbled together by someone in over their head.
Inviting and accessible with a sparkling open space that greets you as you step out of the elevator and subsequently incinerates your corneas with walls and a floor whiter than a Dentyne Ice commercial in a snowstorm. Chairs are small, square, and evenly spaced; perfect for a low-key date or meeting with a colleague. Staff are courteous and welcoming.
Bipolar. The pumpkin soup was pleasantly thick and creamy while the seared maguro soba (59RMB) consisted of slippery, bland tentacles of soba teamed with mushy pan-seared tuna that had not thawed gracefully. It tasted as if it was rushed straight from test kitchen to table. The potentially-sumptuous oxtail (110RMB) succumbed to too much gristle and not enough fall-off-the-bone-ness, and was quite measly for 110RMB. We had fun scouring the bones however.
The one diamond in the rough proved the yellow curry and spiced prawn pasta (100RMB), hulking prawns with juice-squirting heads on a bed of rich, savory curry noodles. Again, a bit pricey for what it was.
Fortunately, those unimpressed with the mains can fall back on Awfully Chocolate standbys such as the cakes and pastries, and the very chocolate-y chocolate mille crêpes (33RMB).
Nine Thirty is a restaurant punching above its weight class. It’s a spunky effort at fusion with some strengths, but like most fusion concepts, it’s a bit con-fused.
Nine Thirty – K11 Artmall, Unit 306, 3/F, 300 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Huangpi Nan Lu (淮海中路300号K11购物艺术中心306, 近黄陂南路). Tel: (0)21-6312-9038. Hours: 9:30am-10:30pm.
See a complete list of our reviews here.
Benjamin Cost is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s dining scene to [email protected].