Spanish x Japanese living room Sakaba Malabar gets a chic overhaul – This is Shanghai

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Malabar closed in June after being open for nine years, but – don’t worry – it was just for a short stint of renovation and rebirth now granted to us Sakaba Malabar.

While the design and layout has been improved, Malabar’s core energy remains the same, housed in a chic living room that converges around an elliptical-shaped communal bar crowned with hanging glassware.

Image by Sophie Steiner / This is

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Image by Sophie Steiner / This is

The name Sakaba, which loosely translates to “bar” in Japanese, represents said Japanese influence, while the beloved name of Malabar’s Spanish roots remains, converging on Sakaba Malabar to embody the concept – Japanese meets Spanish in food, drink and social activities. restaurant atmosphere.

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Image by Sophie Steiner / This is

The Spanish tapas menu, created by the executive chef and co-owner Juan Campos (RAW Resto) and his sister, chef Ana Campos, has a Japanese thread running through it, in the form of ingredients, flavor profile and inspiration.

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Image by Sophie Steiner / This is

Drinks, organized by Yao Lu (Union trading company), experience bold Spanish tastes combined with high-quality Japanese ingredients, ranging from Sake sangria (58 RMB) with Spanish sherry Oloroso Shoemaker Tochigi (RMB88).

The pie, like the dessert from which it bears its name, is composed of fresh lemon, strawberry jam “ichigo” and pineapple, dazzled with a mixture of fresh berries sprinkled with powdered sugar, a wheel of dried pineapple and sprigs of mint.

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Image by Sophie Steiner / This is

Diving deeper into the menu, the food arrives in shared-size ‘tapas’ portions, with punchy seafood and meat permutations like Red Tuna Tartare (168 RMB) served with foie gras soaked in sake, cubed plums and sparkling pearls of sweet and sour ikura soaked in teriyaki.

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Image by Sophie Steiner / This is

Terrine of Foie Gras (RMB108) is covered with a plate of oily eel in the middle, flanked by two burnt apple leaves that shatter into crispy shards when pierced with a fork. A green apple jam speckled with black pepper adds acidity and a hint of spice.

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A cream of melted whipped potato oozes from the Leek croquettes’ (RMB78) crackle coating, with the refreshing sweetness of crab salad balanced by savory ribbons of acorn-fed Iberian ham that form an appetizing summit.

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The cooked down to the minute Tortilla de Patatas (RMB58) involves potatoes fried in olive oil, beaten with a Japanese egg and baked in a soft but thick pancake. A puddle of black garlic aioli coats a king mushroom on the usual Spanish eel dish angles. The mushrooms are cut into thin strips for a texture that mimics eels, then cooked with garlic, chili, parsley and white wine.

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An explosion of flavors, the Grilled Eggplant Josper (58 RMB) is presented sprinkled with marinated okra, olives, nuggets and alternating spoonfuls of eggplant hummus and sweet black garlic puree.

The eggplant itself is first marinated in koji salt, made from grains inoculated with white mold which are used as a fermentation agent in soybeans, sake, and miso for extra richness in umami, before to be roasted.

Finally, the charred eggplant rests in a pool of honey and miso yogurt.

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Similar to the owners’ other RAW venue, the menu would be incomplete without a healthy assortment of Josper roast steaks, and the Chile M5 (RM178) is a star. Served humbly with pickled piparra peppers, manchego mousse and black ash salt, the juicy pieces of beef speak volumes.

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Image by Sophie Steiner / This is

If you’re craving an extra dose of carbs, you can’t go wrong with Smothered Black Garlic Miso Mayonnaise. French fries (28 RMB).

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Image by Sophie Steiner / This is

While food has become a priority over the previous version of Malabar, cocktails still take center stage, with inventive choices like scotch and miso paste mixed in. Miso Caliente (RMB88), a tasty sip garnished with a sheet of nori and bonito flakes.

DSC09751.jpgTakeda Isabelle (RMB88), Image by Sophie Steiner / This is

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Image by Sophie Steiner / This is

A clarified cinnamon scent Horchata Milk Punch (RMB88), with sherry brandy, almonds and anise, acts as a dessert to drink or a milder pairing for snacking.

The bevvies list will continue to expand in wine and sake selection, while the food menu will see new dishes added over time, completing a final menu with around 35 choices per grand opening.

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Image by Sophie Steiner / This is

The upscale decor, paired with Japanese-inspired bites and drinks, as well as a laid-back neighborhood vibe, have transformed this once post-work place from a late-night watering hole to a date restaurant. you prized.


See a listing for Sakaba Malabar. Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews.

[Cover Image by Sophie Steiner/That’s]


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