If you blinked, you could have missed
Oxalis the first time around. The modern
French bistro from Jonas Noël, whose first
Shanghai stint was at L’Atelier de Joel
Robuchon, opened at boutique hotel The
Waterhouse at South Bund mid-2018, only
to shutter less than a year later. Now Noël
and Oxalis are back – this time in a just-opened
office and mall in Jingan.
While the menu has largely carried over,
the interior could not be any more different.
Where low-slung ceilings and rough concrete
lent a dark and brooding feel to its original home,
Oxalis’ new digs are bright, airy and cheerful. At
lunchtime, sunlight floods through floor-to-ceiling windows. Bistro
chairs and an olive green banquette push up against white marble-topped
tables. Rattan screens and large wall pieces with a rustic
French countryside garden pattern carry a pastoral theme through
Dishes are enjoyable and thoughtful, though not revelatory. Two
slices of average sourdough toast are 18RMB, but worth it for the
brown butter sprinkled with porcini powder, at once sweet and salty.
Laphroaig whisky-marinated beef tartare arrives piled high with
Indian almonds and caviar, accompanied by parsley puree and a
buttery confit egg yolk.
On the lunch menu, spinach and ricotta ravioli come showered in
toasted pine nuts and accented with deep-fried artichoke slices and
charred artichoke quarters. Shaved horseradish and smoked egg yolk
lend an edge to a beetroot salad with smoked yellowtail amberjack
rillettes. Both totally satisfying, if unchallenging.
Local nods make their way in here and there. The excellent, bread-crusted halibut topped with crispy chestnuts sits in a rich broth
with Shaoxing wine, brightened with mint oil. It’s a dish that feels
energised, charged and full of potential – a glimmer of what Oxalis
could turn into.
Average main: 198RMB.
By Cat Nelson