Catherine Feore visits one of the latest additions to Brussels’ dining scene and celebrates that there is – finally – great Chinese food in the city centre.
Shanghai Kitchen, in the Radisson Collection Hotel, just off Grand Place (47 Rue du Fossé aux Loups), is inspired by the flavours found in the streets of Shanghai – a diverse port city that is a melting pot of tastes from all over China.
The main cooking tradition in Shanghai is called Hu. It is influenced by the nearby Jiangsu and Zhiejiang provinces and is known for its adventurous seasonings and excellent ingredients. As a port city there are also diverse international influences, it even has its own name ‘Haipai cuisine’ and is unique in China. The flavours in Shanghai Kitchen are bold and also very authentic, as well as visually sensational.
“Chinese food that is bold, authentic and visually sensational”
We started our dinner with two cocktails. Mine, ‘Love and Life’ was almost like a visit to a beautiful garden. It was based on a botanical vodka, lychee liqueur, topped with Champagne and hibiscus tonic. There was also a great selection of alcohol free options. My guest – and designated driver – enjoyed an elderflower soda with a dash of lime juice.
It’s worth sitting near the open kitchen counter where you can watch the chefs who are masters of fire and steam, the dishes feel and taste very elemental.
The starters were tangy delights. I was convinced to try the ‘Mie de blé grillée “Four joy” à la façon de Shanghai’ (pictured), which I confess didn’t sound promising at first, when it was described in English as a ‘gluten’ dish. Happily, it was juicy and delicious.
‘Dim Sum’ literally means ‘touch the heart’ and I have to say these are the first dim sum that have really touched my heart. Speaking to the waitress after the meal she explained that the restaurant’s dim sum are made in house, sadly most Chinese restaurants take the easier option of buying them in a supermarket. I particularly liked the Siu Mai, dim sum au porc ibérique et shiitake.
“Dim Sum literally means ‘touch the heart’”
The main courses were also sumptuous. I ordered Boeuf Black Angus braisé with a réduction of soja sucré, which is one of Shanghai Kitchen’s signatures dishes. There is an excellent selection of European wines, but I had a glass of the Zolo, Gaucho Select Reserve Malbec Mendoza, Argentina (described as powerful, deep and dark, with an oaky finish), which was an excellent complement to the beef (pictured). My companion had Crevettes Black Tiger au wasabi.
It was really difficult to eat any more – but somehow I managed! For dessert I had the Mango sago Pomelo with chocolat blanc and meringue. Again, another feast for the eyes, while not being too heavy.
If you’re in the centre at lunchtime you can try their two-course lunch for a very modest €17.50. And if you know someone of a culinary bent you could offer them a Shanghai Kitchen gift voucher.
At long last, Brussels has a Chinese restaurant worthy of China’s great culinary tradition, go!
Shanghai Kitchen, in the Radisson Collection Hotel, 47 Rue du Fossé aux Loups