The latest Hong Kong spot to hit Shanghai, Mr. Pots falls in the wheelhouse of your Hengshan Cafes and Tsui Wahs: serving clay pot delicacies, and an extensive roast meat selection, without the bird’s nest-level exotica, hotel ballroom decor and prices of a Dongjun. And it’s open until 2am!
More modest than your Cantonese banquet hall, but less grubby than Bi Feng Tang or Hengshan Cafe. The menus are on iPads and they’ve replaced the typical Dentyne-white walls with understated faux rock etched in calligraphy. You feel like you’re eating in a hollowed-out Rosetta Stone. The waitstaff are pleasant and forthcoming, a nice departure from the terse and sullen servers at Hengshan Cafe.
Clay pot rice
As you might glean from the name, their specialty is clay pot rice: a winter delicacy entailing a steaming pot of chewy rice blanketed in toppings, and infused with a tinge of charcoal from the cooking flames. Go for the traditional meat option (68RMB) with sweet Chinese sausage (lap chong) Chinese bacon (lap yuk), ham, and Chinese kale. The server tosses the rice with soy sauce, sesame oil, scallion and ginger, lubricating the already fat-slicked grains even more. The best part is when the rice at the bottom of the pan hardens into crispy, porky cakes, that you chisel off and crunch. Our only complaint was that the sausage had a slight diesel-y aftertaste.
In fact, our favorite dish didn’t come in a clay pot, but in a shell. Enter their spicy mud crab (208RMB per jin), a stocky brute sporting Popeye-esque giant claws, buried under a confetti-like mass of dried chili and garlic. The spice makes the white shreds of flesh pop with flavor. Squeamish eaters might want to steer clear however, as scouring every cranny of this unwieldy critter for miniscule morsels can be monotonous and messy. Fortunately, they crack its mammoth mitts for you. Each critter runs you about 2-2.5 jin, but most of that is shell. One person can easily polish off an entire crustacean by themselves.
Want something with more accessible meat? Look no further than their sticky, heavily-marbled beef spareribs with chestnuts and scallions (88RMB).
Desserts include pineapple buns and a Cantonese specialty chilled sago cream with mango and pomelo (RMB28). They also do dim sum on weekends.
Mr. Pots presents another solid entry to Shanghai’s mid-level Cantonese scene. And its 2am curfew makes it the perfect hive for late-night revelers whose drunk munchies (drunchies) call for something more refined than rat kebabs laced with gutter diesel.
Mr. Pots – 802 Yan’an Zhong Lu, near Maoming Bei Lu (延安中路802号, 近茂名北路). Tel: (0)21-6227-7869. Hours: 11am-2am. Closest metro stop: South Shanxi Road, lines 1/10.
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]nghaiist.com.