Add: Room 106, 1107 Yu Yuan Road, Shanghai 愚园路1107号106室
Tel: +86 (21) 5276 0599
Hours: [soft opening] Mon-Sun 5:00pm-12:00am (last order 10:30pm)
Price: RMB150-200 (without drinks)
Visited: May 2016
Will return: Yes
The second venue from the people behind the ever-popular gastrolounge The Nest, The Cannery is a newcomer on Yu Yuan Road featuring the same brand of sleek and modern design as the Nest, but serving Canadian rather than Nordic fare. The new concept is the brainchild of Mark Klingspon, the managing director of The Nest, who thought of introducing some themes from his hometown of Vancouver: whisky, canning (hence the name), and of course, seafood.
Whisky and seafood they already have well in hand, but the canning part is still under way. The only canned dish on the menu at the moment is a duck liver mousse (and a house-made ice cream served in a can, but that doesn’t really count…) Their canning equipment, which they imported from Canada, isn’t quite ready yet but will be soon, so we can expect to see all sorts of canned goodies from oysters to pâtés in just a few weeks.
The decor, from the armchairs to the barstools, marks it unquestionably as a cousin of The Nest.
We were served a Welcome Drink with whiskey, apple juice, lime, and soda. Not the prettiest… My friend commented that he could stand it quite a bit stronger too.
The only can on the menu for now, the Duck Liver Mousse (48) was wonderfully rich and smooth – made even more attractive by the friendly price.
Glazed Smoked Bluefin Tuna Jaw (98) was a trendier choice. Tender and succulent, it had a kick of heat from the chili rub on the outside, though the flavor was somewhat lacking inside. The accompanying Fried Potatoes were crispy but slightly under-seasoned. A very interesting, if not exceptional dish.
Mark’s Catch of the Day (198) was a hearty redfish, simply grilled and served with two vegetables. The fish was very tender, but the seasoning, though very delicious and well-balanced, was once again only skin deep.
The vegetables turned out to be an unexpected highlight of our meal. Both the Broccolini and Asparagus were tender and remarkably flavorful.
The dessert menu was presented on a can – to make up for the shortage of actual canned food perhaps?
We opted for the old-fashioned sundae, but it was taking quite a long time, so our server kindly brought us two additional desserts while we were waiting. (Thank you!) The House-Made Vanilla Ice-Cream (48) was rich and not too sweet, although I would have preferred a stronger presence of vanilla.
The West Coast Doughnuts (48), on the other hand, were remarkable. The soft and crispy doughnuts were coated generously with granulated sugar, and served with a cream cheese flavored assertively with lime. Definitely our favorite dessert of the evening.
Finally, the dessert we actually ordered: Old-Fashioned Sundae (48) with bourbon sauce and chocolate-covered bacon. I generally like sweet and savory combinations, but for me, the chocolate-covered bacon missed the mark. The bacon actually tasted sweet at first because of the chocolate, and the saltiness didn’t come through until after I swallowed the ice-cream. I probably would have liked this more had they forgone the chocolate and used maple-glazed bacon instead.
Since they’re still in soft opening, I’d say The Cannery is off to a good start, with some decent flavors at a very appealing price, even though there is room for improvement. The service, on the other hand, is already superb. Aside from answering our questions enthusiastically and handing out free desserts when we were waiting too long, our server also actively sought our feedback on the dishes and asked for ways they could improve. More soft-opening restaurants should have that attitude. The official opening date is still up in the air, but I’m definitely looking forward to coming back then.