12 March 2012

El Willy // Shanghai

Although it's our last stop of Restaurant Week, it’s certainly not the least!

El Willy was first introduced to me by some very good foodie family friends (say that ten times faster), as their favourite restaurant in Shanghai.

Having lived in Valencia for four months in my gap year, I'm no stranger to Spanish food.

I’ve been to El Willy at its old location, a beautiful colonial house in the former French Concession (which was re-opened as Elefante). Now it’s at the Bund, with unbeatable views over the river.

My last visit was certainly a memorable one. Some of the best food I’ve eaten here, especially the scallop ceviche and organic egg (I’ll explain later) with foie gras and truffle. It was also the day after Dad – who had flown over to visit – and I had teppanyaki, leaving both of us with food poisoning. As luck would have it, it didn’t hit until halfway through the meal. You get the picture.

ANYWAY, this was my second time here and we were all looking forward to it. I brought along Hillary and Vanessa, having convinced them how amazing this place was.

Rather than formal courses that we had been presented with the past four days, this was a more of a relaxed, tapas style.

First dish was pumpkin soup with orange. It may sound strange to you, but it was flawless and my favourite. Willy (the chef) had managed to get the mixture of cream and pumpkin down to a tee. Each spoonful ended with just a hint of orange.

Next came the chargrilled watermelon and goat cheese salad. I loved the watermelon, seared on the outside and soft in the middle; and with the goats cheese, it was the perfect combination.

The other salad on the menu was the roasted vegetables and citrus salad with smoked salmon. It had a refreshing tangy citrus taste, and just enough salmon to not overpower the dish.

The egg came next, and it’s one of El Willy’s most popular dishes. The egg is organic (a big deal in Shanghai) and is cooked at 65°C making it beautifully runny and rich. I had mine carbonara style...

...and the other two had it with Mediterranean seared prawns and potatoes. I didn't have a chance to try it (probably because I was taking so many photos), but I assume that it was very good!

The next dish I couldn’t resist to order on top of our fixed menu… scallops ceviche and avocado. I’d been craving this since our last visit and this didn’t disappoint, and the crispy shallots on top are a nice little touch. I’ll definitely have to recreate this when I’m back in the UK!

If you think that the meal is over, we’re just getting to the mains my friend: braised lamb with mushroom and spinach lasagna. It came with a very creamy corn sauce and was sprinkled with truffled popcorn. Kinda random but kinda cool.

Last up, but certainly not least, a miniature chocolatey dessert (um… that was definitely the proper name for it…).

It was the perfect ending to Restaurant Week… and what a week it’s been! If you’ve missed it this time round, there’s another in September, so mark your calendars.

If you’ve missed my other posts about this week, check out on day one at Table No. 1, day two at Yi Long Court, day three at Sir Elly’s and day four at Wei Jing Ge. You’ll be feeling as greedy as me by the end of it!

Now excuse me while I go starve myself.


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