Add: 225 Xi Kang Road, Shanghai 西康路225号
Tel: +86 (21) 6266 7909
Hours: [lunch] Tue-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm; [brunch] Sat-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm; [afternoon tea] Tue-Sun 2:30pm-5:30pm; [dinner] Tue-Sat 5:30pm-12:00am
Visited: May 2016
Will return: Definitely
The Shanghai food scene has been well and truly stirred up by the opening of Pelikan, a new Nordic restaurant brought to us by Craig Willis, the person behind a myriad of successful dining concepts around Shanghai (Mr Willis, La Strada Pizzeria, Henkes, Mi Thai…) That much was evident when I walked into the month-old restaurant at 1 o’clock on a rainy Sunday – the very first Sunday that Pelikan was even open for lunch – and found the dining room completely packed. Since I was in no hurry, I waited at the bar, which features about half a dozen seats and a dizzying array of alcohol.
My glass of orange and passion fruit juice, named Muums Sunrise (48), was quite delicious, but I wish the passion fruit came through more strongly.
The food at Pelikan may be Nordic-inspired, but the decor is decidedly not. The walls are covered with a mix of gleaming tiles in moss green, worn wooden panels in a moody cool gray, and vivid wallpapers with eye-catching prints of tropical leaves and their namesake bird.
At the back of the dining room is an open kitchen, with Danish chef Kasper Pedersen running the show. I love how Chef Kasper comes to every table personally to present the dishes.
The Baby Vegetables served with a light and herby Dill Hollandaise Dip (28) were a delightful and refreshing way to start the meal.
Right from the first course, Chef Kasper showed us that he meant business in the kitchen with the Smoked and Sweet Mustard Salmon with Dill (78). Cured for one day and smoked for the next, the salmon was salty, sweet, tangy, and fragrant, packing an incredibly complex but balanced punch of flavor. Seriously the best smoked salmon I’ve ever had!
Partially obscured beneath a blanket of greens, the Prawns Marinated in Raw Beets (68) were sweet and firm, a lovely contrast against the crunchy apple matchsticks and shaved carrots.
After the intensely red beet-marinated prawns, the White Asparagus with Poached Shrimps and Radishes (88) looked slightly less vivid. But what it lacked in color, it made up in spades in flavor. The ribbons of lightly grilled white asparagus absorbed all the essence from the shrimps, while the radishes added some freshness. This was some wonderful, subtle cooking.
With those kinds of flavor from the savory dishes, my expectations were going through the roof for desserts. And these desserts – all very generously comped on the house – didn’t disappoint.
Grandma Ketty’s Vanilla Apples and Crispy Marzipan (52) was light but satisfying. Hidden beneath the fragrant whipped cream were both stewed and fresh apples, bringing different textures and flavors to the dish. The crispy marzipan on top added still another dimension in texture.
The Danish Beer Bread and Raspberry (52) was a gorgeous study in balance between richness and brightness. Tart fresh raspberries were nestled in tangy, gooey beer bread and a light crème fraîche, dusted with sweet and crunchy crystalized white chocolate.
Last but not least, the Vanilla and Chocolate (52) was a heavenly marriage of rich, airy chocolate mousse and frothy vanilla cream.
Service was friendly and efficient, if slightly frantic, which is understandable considering that the dining room was completely full and that they had only been open for a month.
Just over a month into business, Pelikan is already a hit, and for good reason. Chef Kasper lays all the components bare on the plate, but still manages to surprise us with bold and memorable flavors, making Pelikan a force to be reckoned with.