Imagine being told by Chef Richard Ekkebus, that you’re about to eat the best steak of your life. The (limited supply) wagyu beef from David Blackmore, the only Australian raising 100% purebred Japanese wagyu cow – the crème de la crème of wagyu beef. And Fifty 8° Grill at Mandarin Oriental Pudong Shanghai offers this and much more.
The restaurant is named Fifty 8° Grill, after the perfect core temperature of a medium rare steak grilled over the wood fire, 58 degrees Celsius. Apple wood is used for it imparts a distinctive smoky aroma to the food. The décor is masculine – plush leather booths with black granite table tops – a modern take on Manhattan in the 1930s.
We left the food selection entirely to Ekkebus, Culinary Director of two-Michelin-star Amber restaurant at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong and Chef Consultant of Fifty 8° Grill, Mandarin Oriental Pudong Shanghai.
And everything was sublime – Perfect steak, beautiful appetisers and salads, fish with sherry cream sauce and the best chocolate soufflé I’ve eaten. Charming service too.
After an aperitif of Negroni which was very good by the way, a charcuterie of pork terrine, rillettes, Iberico ham and chorizo made its way to the table. Followed by a selection of salads including a delicious crab salad and cured Tasmanian salmon.
But all were second to the steak. The ribeye was grilled to perfection and needed only a sprinkle of salt, nothing else. The meat was sweet, meltingly tender yet far from greasy, and the aroma of the apple wood was lasting on the nose and the palate. So good I tell you. There’s wagyu, and then…there’s Blackmore wagyu. It makes a helluva difference.
Pan-fried John Dory with sherry cream sauce was as divine as it looked. Lightly seasoned and browned at the sides, it was simple yet delicious – like spring on a plate. We also tucked into sides of baby peas and potato gratin; the latter was rich yet balanced, and the potatoes were cooked throughout. I never knew baby peas could taste this good but this one did, with bits of bacon for flavour.
Fifty 8° Grill serves the best chocolate soufflé I’ve tried thus far and it’s really hard to top this one. It was light, crisp on the outside yet jiggly at the centre – visually spectacular! It’d be a shame to miss out on this. The kitchen also offers a selection of sorbets which we tried and I rather enjoyed, especially the dark chocolate and coconut. And I liked the way they were presented; straightforward just as sorbets should be.
We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner. And unlike most parts of Shanghai, service was first class here. Not just to us, but to all guests at Fifty 8° Grill. Expect to pay about RMB800 or more per person for such a meal but it’s worth it I say. I’ve spent more on meals that weren’t half as good in Malaysia.
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Food: 9/10 (non halal)
Verdict: Best steak I’ve eaten and to-die-for Valrhona chocolate souffle!
Fifty 8 Grill
Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai
111 Pudong Rd (South)
Pudong, Shanghai 200120, China
(From the Yin Cheng Zhong Lu intersection, approach Tai Dong Zhan ferry pier and turn right)
+86 (21) 2082 9908