Canton Table is the latest addition to the Three on the Bund family, and what I consider one of my favorite restaurant openings in the past (too many) months. It’s so good after the invited tasting I had to immediately go back with friends, and I’m looking forward to my next visit already.
The vast main dining room mixes elements of Shanghai old sikumen houses and their gorgeous brick walls with Victorian style floor tile patterns that are typical of bund venues, plus some urban flair given by raw cement walls covered in beautiful graffiti of Asian ladies and flowers.
The tables are luxuriantly covered in flowing white table cloth with colorful flower center pieces and elegant cutlery. This ambitious setting makes me think that Canton Table is aspiring to be added into next year’s Michelin Guide.
Prepared by Executive Chef Eason Man, a Cantonese cooking master with thirty years of experience, both home-style dishes and sophisticated ones are made with the freshest ingredients and traditional cooking practice.
One of my favorite dishes was definitely the beef soup (RMB 188, serves 4 to 6 people or one Lulu). This soup is cooked for 8 hours so that the beef literally melts in your mouth and the broth develops a unique depth of flavors.
The fried pork ribs with diced tofu (RMB 58) was a great starter dish, with a tasty chilli and fried garlic granola on top. The tofu skin Yunnan mushrooms rolls (RMB 48) also make for the perfect nibble while waiting for your mains or Dim Sum.
I loved the crispy skin BBQ pork in their Barbecue platter (RMB 168). This is one of my favorite Cantonese foods. Whenever I travel to Hong Kong and see the piece of meat hanging from a BBQ joint’s window, I just can’t resist the decadence and have to order me a piece.
The whole free-range chicken at RMB 268 was the best deal I’ve had in a while, and also the tastiest. The juicy and tender meat is covered in an extremely thin, crispy skin… Not sure the reason, but they spectacularly set the whole dish on fire, which makes for some gorgeous pictures and slow-motion videos. You can definitely share this dish in several people, so have it when you’re in bigger groups or order less of the rest if you’re in a small group.
Moving on to the Dim Sum. It’s a real hit, I tried quite some different options on the menu. My favorites include deep-fried shrimp dumplings, black truffle egg tarts, egg yolk baos, steamed Yunnan mushroom dumplings and bbq pork buns. Plates start from RMB 22 mainly ranging in the lower RMB 30 (usually 3 pieces per dish).
Canton Table also offers a cozy bar area where you can enjoy signature cocktails made with Chinese ingredients as well as the classics. I had a super delicious Bund Royal (RMB 108), with Prosecco and fermented rice wine; it was so good I had to chug two in less than 30 minutes.
For the brave, there’s also a Negroni (RMB 88) made with a Chinese medicinal spirit, not my favorite, but you may be able to let it pass as remedy for your seasonal flu, a good cover up for simply being an alcoholic, like most people in Shanghai after all.
The main dining room is perfect for dates but also medium-sized groups. They also have several private rooms where the minimum charge is 600 RMB per person. These dining rooms can host up to 20 guests and they can communicate with one another in case you need the space for even bigger gatherings.
While the kitchen has it figured out, service still needs some grooming, which is understandable for a new venue.
Extra Tips: If you don’t need mineral bottled water, make sure to specify it with your waiter and opt for free boiled water. Many dishes are customizable in portion, for example if you need more soup for a bigger party, don’t hesitate to ask to add extra portions.
Reservations recommended by calling 021 6321 3737
Address: Shanghai – 3 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu,Three on the Bund, 5/F, near Yan’an Dong Lu 中山东一路3号外滩三号5楼, 近延安东路