February 19, 2016 / 2 Comments
Spanish food in Shanghai? WTF you might say, well I did! No matter how many times this place popped up in recommendations, I put it to the bottom of my list.
Finding myself with a solo dining day to spare and running out of places to try, I figured why not give El Willy a go. Recently El Willy (the flagship of the group, I’ll explain more later) was moved to a Bund location – so making it super convenient for tourists. As I was in the area it fit my plans perfectly. It’s non descript, you wouldn’t have a clue it’s there from the outside – though that’s the case with most Bund eateries. A word of warning – don’t go there en route to the airport like me encumbered with suitcases (and bruised ribs – ouch) – there are quite a few stairs along the way you’ll need to navigate. Head to the fifth floor, up the stairs and to the right you’ll see the entrance.
The creator, chef ‘Willy’ Trullas Moreno, is a bit of a culinary superstar in Shanghai. He’s now opened Tomatito, el Coctel and Elefante among others to much acclaim. A cute restaurant with some neat alternative views of the Bund (get a window table), this place has serious spunk, courtesy of the aforementioned Willy. The menus say it all. This is ‘sexy happy food’.
Arriving at lunch I had the choice of a fairly well priced lunch set menu that also offered discounted wine – but there were some things on the menu I wanted to try so I went a la carte. I was soon served a cute amuse bouche of tomato bread and olives – simple but delish.
Next came an awesome salad of tomato textures that I’m positive I didn’t order (but was charged for) – but took this as a sign for the gods as it’s just what I needed after a week of ten too many wines. Cleverly constructed and delicious. From this dish I knew that Willy is no ordinary chef.
I ordered the manchego air baguettes as the name was just to alluring to leave on a menu – you order them piece by piece at 28 yuan, but you’ll probably want more than one, trust me. These things are expertly crafted packages of yumminess. A teeny baguette filled with gooey, oozing manchego and wrapped in parma – umm, delish!
Next I had the sucking pig with mango tart. This was a super creative take on pork.
Thin slivers of suckling pig – crispy cracking and juicy pork – on top of what I originally thought was banana, both in taste and texture. Turns out it was a mango ‘tart’ – thin slices of pastry and cooked mango. Complimented with mango and barbecue sauce, this dish was both unusual and fabulous. Only four pieces so if you’re hungry, order up more plates! About 125 yuan for this so more on the higher end of price points.
Definitely food that intrigued, would have loved to have had the appetite to try more. This food is for sharing so go with a group and taste as much as you can! Innovative Spanish cuisine that shouldn’t be neglected just because you’re in China.