Add: 6/F The Ascott Residence, No.282 Middle Huaihai Road, Shanghai 淮海中路282号雅诗阁公寓6楼
Tel: +86 (21) 6333 0176
Hours: Mon-Sun 11:30am-1:30am
Price: [lunch] RMB150-250; [dinner] RMB250-350 (without drinks)
Visited: January 2017
Will return: Yes
Chefs Anna Bautista and Sean Jorgensen, the formidable team behind a slew of successful dining concepts around town including Chez Maurice and Al’s Diner, have joined forces again to take over the kitchen of Highline. A new all-day dining concept located in The Ascott Residence on Huaihai Road, Highline bills itself as a Cali-inspired restaurant and bar serving contemporary American fare.
The large, light-soaked space is sleek and refined, all marble tabletops, leather booths, and custom-made chairs – think The Nest revamped for LA. A bar occupies the heart of the dining room, and a large firepit serves as the centerpiece of the huge terrace overlooking a stunning cityscape.
The lunch menu centers on lighter fare, such as a salad of Burrata and Heirloom Carrots dressed with a kale-mint pesto and a scattering of pomegranate seeds and sesame pumpkin crumble. The carrots were marinated in orange juice, a nice touch that gave the salad a more satisfying depth than I expected.
Burrata and heirloom carrots (98)
More substantial and equally put-together was the Apple Wood Smoked Salmon over a salad of winter beans and quinoa. Salmon and quinoa are a classic match, but I had no idea how marvelous they could taste with the addition of salmon roe and mandarin orange. That said, the salmon could stand a little less time on the heat.
Apple wood smoked salmon (158)
Over on the dinner menu, the Pacific Tuna Poke had promise, its flavors light and balanced, if not quite exciting. However, the tuna was unfortunately stringy on my visit, while the nori chips – an excellent idea – were a tad greasy. More indulgent options fared better, like the Baby Scallops roasted with butter, basil, garlic, and chili. The rich flavors were lightened up with a gentle squeeze of lemon, but the dish would deliver even more impact with a more confident dose of heat.
Pacific tuna poke (128)
Roasted baby scallops (98)
One of the most popular items at Highline is the Fried Chicken and Waffles, an American classic that’s been quickly gaining popularity in Shanghai in recent months. This Southern comfort food was given new life at Highline by the aggressively marinated chicken, the Cajun spices mixed into the waffle batter, and the small pot of maple bacon butter on the side. Following the unfortunate closure of The Public, which took away my erstwhile favorite fried chicken in Shanghai, this is one of the top two replacements I’ve found (the other at Daimon Bistro).
Fried chicken and waffles (128)
Desserts have their moments too. The Red Velvet Cheesecake Sundae was a gorgeous combination of fluffy red velvet cake and a dense, rich cream cheese ice cream, topped with milk crumbs and meringue – a meeting of sweet and salty that truly hit the spot. Just as delicious, if somewhat more one-dimensional, the White Chocolate Molten Cake featured a gloriously runny heart of white chocolate and caramel, made even more comforting by a quenelle of banana foster ice cream.
Red velvet cheesecake sundae (68)
White chocolate molten cake (68)
A small pot of Butterscotch Pudding infused with a hint of whiskey was accompanied by warm, gooey chocolate cookies flecked with sea salt. Both were delicious individually, even if I couldn’t quite see what each had to do with the other.
Butterscotch pudding (58)
Service was consistently friendly and attentive across multiple visits. Although a few dishes leave room for improvement, the menu at Highline is already impressively polished and well-executed for a restaurant that’s barely a month old. Overall, Highline is one of the most exciting new openings in recent months, and is well on the way to becoming my new favorite haunt in town.