o you like photographing your food? If you don’t, then avoid Together, because that’s what everyone else will do. At the new restaurant by chefs Bina Yu and Kim Melvin, things are designed to make the meal look camera ready. It’s dark inside and skinny brass tubes cast spotlights on the table. The dishes come in white tins, and their colors – orange, green, purple – radiate on the plates. Even you look good amid the glow and geometric brick walls by local design firm Neri & Hu.
The food is meant to be shared at Together – the mains come in either one or two portions – which is why you wait for everyone to finish taking photos before you can eat. But all will be forgiven when you have the peas and asparagus salad. Nestled in the middle is a wobbly egg that you toss with everything. It was creamy, the cooked greens had plenty of bite, and the mint lit the dish up. It was so good I try to make a rendition of it at home, but it’s never the same.
What also makes an impression is how much the restaurant is personified by both chefs. Yu formerly headed Chi-Q, the now-closed Korean barbecue restaurant by French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Melvin is known for her pastries at The Commune Social, which she still oversees. Both are also boldface names on the Shanghai food festival circuit – some of the dishes at Together appeared at the recent Feast – and they host plenty of pop up events around town. You eat at Together because they’re in the kitchen. You come for Yu’s French Asian food. You fiend for Melvin’s desserts. It’s a buzzy restaurant you would humble-brag about on Instagram.But what happens if they, or one of them, leaves?
But that’s a problem for a later time. Right now, you’re more worried about the food going cold as people can’t put away their phones. Dig into the octopus first, charred and arranged in spirals, that’s both crispy and tender with sweet and spicy gochujang. Riding on a bone marrow, the Australian wagyu beef tartare is visceral exclamation mark that’s both bright and meaty. Ignore the bread, it’s ¥38 for four buns, and they come hidden in a brown paper bag like an embarrassment. Better to order the grain rolls, ¥10 more and full of chew.
As for the mains, get the roast chicken, textbook and great on its own, devoured when dipped in a tamarind sauce. The grilled salmon, glazed with miso and browned gently like a Yayoi Kusama artwork, was juicy but too salty. Offset that with a lemon and basil sorbet. It was sweet and grassy, and its emerald hue glimmered against the crispy meringue, which you can’t help but pull out your phone to photograph.
546 Yuyuan Road