[This venue has since closed and will not be re-opening soon]
Alvin Leung, the “demonic” personality and self-trained chef behind three-Michelin star restaurant Bo Innovation Hong Kong, has just opened his first two ventures in Shanghai: fine-dining restaurant Bo Shanghai and it’s low-key little sister, Daimon Bistro.
The Kowloon Walled City inspired Daimon Bistro envokes a hectic atmosphere. A graffiti wall frames the open kitchen, portraying the darker side of Hong Kong’s shady streets of prostitution and drugs. Neon lights across the room serve to heighten the sense of seediness that emanates from each design element. The glass window separating the restaurant floor from the kitchen is lit with a nightmarishly green hue, through which delicious Cantonese style roasted ducks hang like cadavers. Ew…
As the “X-treme” demon that he is, Alvin alone conceptualized the interior design of the restaurant, deciding to ride the wave of speakeasies by hiding the entrance of Bo Shanghai behind a sliding wall. I had the chance to visit the 26 seater restaurant, which has a completely different, more sober personality. Here’s a sneak peek.
The food at Daimon Bistro is Cantonese fusion, revisited to include elements from different Asian cuisines and to enhance shamelessly bold flavors. The menu therefore features a series of dim sum, small plates, meat, seafood and grain mains, and an assortment of desserts.
My absolute favorite dish of the night – and coincidentally the first dish served at the tasting – was the Chilli Crab “Little Dragon Baos” (RMB 38 x 3pcs). The spicy broth enhanced the bold, assertive flavor of fresh crab contained in each little pocket of heaven. Think of the tastiest xiaolongbao on any street corner in Shanghai – these baos are leagues above.
The cuttlefish and kaffir lime leaf mayo Siu Mai (RMB 38 x 4pcs) were again explosions of flavor and will definitely feature at my table the next time I visit.
Among the small dishes, my favorite was the King Fish Ceviche (RMB 98), a true symphony of crispy, creamy and chewy textures with mouthwateringly sweet and sour flavors.
Another highlight was the Seafood Laksa Steamed Egg (RMB 78). A one-of-a-kind culinary experience, this dish gave a true insight into Alvin’s X-Treme passion for innovation. The laksa spices are combined with egg and water, and then steamed with chunks of seafood. Topped with crispy shallot, this dish has the most peculiar combination of textures
Among the main meat dishes, the Fried Chicken on Hong Kong Egg Waffle (RMB 138) was a crowd pleaser, while I preferred the melt-in-your-mouth Sweet and Sour Short Ribs (RMB 188). The pleasantly acidic lemongrass and hawthorn glaze on the ribs paired with the pungent ginger coleslaw, making this dish remarkable.
A worthy mention should also go to Daimon Bistro’s Soft Shell Crab Bibimbap (RMB 118), which I can confidently claim to be the best bibimbap I’ve had in my three years living in Shanghai – crisp stone pot rice, the perfect ratio of ingredients to rice, and a fantastic spicy gochujiang.
We finally made our way to the desserts. While I enjoyed a couple of bites of coconut sugar crème brûlée, the dish soon became too sweet. The corn waffles were much more balanced with a delicious strawberry marmalade and brown butter ice cream.
I recommend to take the time (and the money!) to explore Daimon’s original cocktails. Their price is quite steep, but then again they’re some of the craftiest in town.
The Morning Glory, a vodka based cocktail made with Horlicks, Vitasoy and walnut may as well be a substitute for your dessert. The muddy texture is perfect for pouring in a coffee cup.
A favorite was the Slim Mama. Again vodka based with pat chun vinegar, lime juice and ginger ale.
The two tea based cocktails are definitely something special and worth trying. While the Wong SiFu Woosa features longjiang tea and homemade osmanthus syrup, the Mastermind gives you a healthy kick with oolong tea, ginseng and wolfberry syrup… too bad for the vodka!
Overall, a fantastic experience at Daimon Bistro. It promises to become one of the hottest new venues of 2017, so get yourself down there and explore this unique demon menu.
Lulu’s Perks: here’s a lovely picture of the Shanghai Bite Club!
Address: 5 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, 5 on the Bund, 6/F, near Guangdong Lu 中山东一路外滩5号6楼, 近广东路