U Gastronomy & Lounge
Add: 368 Wu Kang Road, Shanghai 武康路368号
Tel: +86 (21) 5435 5737
Hours: [sandwich] 11:00am-11:00pm; [dinner] 6:00pm-11:00pm; [brunch] Sat-Sun 11:00am-2:00pm
Visited: March 2016
Will return: Yes
Yet another French restaurant has popped up in the former French Concession. But unlike Franck and Chez Maurice, U Gastronomy & Lounge serves their French classics with a modern twist, and at a considerably less damaging price.
This gorgeous, cozy little patio is remarkably eye-catching. I bet many a tired and hungry wanderer on Wu Kang Road would welcome a little respite here with a coffee and a Duck Confit Sandwich.
The Japanese-looking trees and the non-stop screening of ChefSteps lends an unusual air to the otherwise neat decor. The French servers struggled just slightly with their English, but overall the service was smooth and incredibly helpful, which is all the more commendable considering they opened their doors just last month.
I picked an excellent glass of Moscato from their surprisingly affordable wine list for a mere RMB45. A glance at the no-nonsense, one-page menu revealed this to be a theme. Appetizers range from RMB59 for a poached egg salad to a RMB139 pan-seared duck foie gras. The RMB79 tuna angel hair pasta seems a good main course for light eaters, while the surf-and-turf with butter-poached Maine lobster and sous-vide filet mignon is a veritable steal at RMB279.
The earnest but thoughtful bread basket boded well for the quality of the meal. The raisin bread was quite lovely, but the cream-cheese-filled cranberry bread was especially appealing.
Isn’t he just dapper?
The Home Made Marinated Smoked Salmon (99) was a true testament that Chef Anthony means business. I was pleased when the lightly smoked salmon flaked apart beautifully with a touch of my fork, but I was surprised when it then proceeded to dissolve almost sinfully on my tongue. The flakes of sea salt and the refreshing horseradish yogurt turned this dish into a lingering aria.
If the smoked salmon was a lone voice in a trilling aria, then the Iberico Pork Neck (139) was a well-rehearsed chorus, the bass of luscious, fatty pork neck rounded out by the comforting tenor of sweet potato purée, brightened by the lively but unobtrusive alto of mustard seeds and brussels sprouts, and invigorated by the vibrant soprano of cherry gelée.
As a rule, I don’t skip dessert. In fact, I’ve been known to refrain from finishing my main course just so I would have room for dessert. But the dessert offerings at U Gastronomy are less than inspired. Occupying a tiny corner on the menu were two lone desserts, U Lava Cake and Lemon Sorbet. Sure, simplistic is one way to describe it, but after the magnificent concert of a dinner, I was more inclined to call it a weak ending. Perhaps the idea is to skip the dessert and get straight to the booze?
Speaking of booze, the server invited me to go back for their Thursday lady’s night – free flow sparkling wine for ladies. With such marvelous flavors and value for money, I think I will.