Celebration at Canton Table

Celebration at Canton Table

As promised, I’m back to report on my amazing celebratory dinner! IT WAS AMAZING!!!!! Here’s the scoop!

Before heading out to dinner, we decided to explore the bund

I mean, how could we just sit around with weather like this! Shanghai has really stepped up and I’ll be really sad to leave 😦

Canton Table

Canton Table is one of the 10 top notch restaurants located in 3 on the Bund. As the name suggests, it specializes in high end cantonese cuisine. Canton 8 only opened late 2016, but its predecessor was none other than the prestigious Whampoa Club. I’d been dreaming of trying this place (when it was still Whampoa Club) since going to Jean Georges for my birthday 5 years ago. Unfortunately, I never really had the opportunity and it fell off the radar.. until now. Of course, anticipation means nothing without the flavour to back it up. Onto the food!

Food

Appetizers

Chinese Yam with Sweet and Sour Plum- I normally wouldn’t order this, but I was feeling pretty adventurous. I can’t really say the risk paid off, at least for me. Although the yam  was crispy and a nice sweet sour flavour definitely penetrated. but the taste got quite saccharine after a few bites. I also couldn’t really get used to plum aftertaste that actually reminded me a bit of toothpaste

Cantonese Style Preserved Eggs with Sour Ginger- I first tried this dish at Canton 8 and loved it, so I was excited to try it here. I must say, I was quite disappointed. The eggs themselves were subtly flavoured and the ginger was absolutely amazing; however, the dish lacked the smooth magic of the semi- soft yolk. Also , I didn’t quite like the addition of chili oil

Roasts

Three Variety Barbecue Platter- I love platters since I get the variety without over ordering. With that said, the portions were WAY too small

Char siu- Char siu is one of their signature items and definitely deserves its place. The meat itself was tender with a bit of chew, as expected, but also had an amazing smoky flavour throughout. The honey glaze gave the perfect sweet touch that accompanied the smoky pork flavour.

Roast Pork- I can’t resist roast pork and Canton Table definitely didn’t disappoint. To start, the skin was crisp, the meat was pretty tender and flavouring was spot on. The meat also had a perfect balance of mostly lean (still juicy) meat and a thin layer of subcutaneous fat. However, I wouldn’t say it was much better than the version at Canton 8

Roast Goose- Last time I ordered roast goose was the disappointing experience at Tang Court. This dish brought my faith back. The skin was perfectly crispy and rich but not overly fatty. More impressively, the meat was perfectly tender. We actually ended up getting a second order!

Special Orders

My parents were so elated, they allowed me to pull out the stops. Hence:

Chilled Mantis Shrimp with ShaoXing Wine- While appetizers and roasts are great, this is the main event. The shrimp  is cleaned and gently steamed, then stuffed with roe marinated in Shaoxing wine and ginger. This definitely deserves its title. First, the shrimp is longer than my forearm- talk about impressive. More importantly, the incredible fresh sweetness of the perfectly tender shrimp melded with the creamy roe that created a borderline magical experience with each bite.

Double Boiled Sea Cucumber with Chinese Cabbage- Sea cucumber is one of my favorites, so I decided to let myself indulge a bit. This soup really hit the mark. It had an incredibly, clean, silky umami flavour enhanced by the shitake. The sea cucumber added a delicious snap. The cabbage added a nice sweetness that really made the entire dish pop.

Baked Codfish with Ginger and Scallion- My parents let me pull out the stops, but after the last two orders, I didn’t think it was wise to order another pricy seafood item. I still wanted to try some of their fish, so found this nice compromise. I was quite impressed.  The fish is baked with a sweet eel sauce and served on a bed of sautéed spinach. The cod was incredibly fresh and perfectly tender. The sweetness of the sauce, usually a pet peeve of mine, actually helped cut through the richness of the cod and balance perfectly with the bitter spinach. My only complaint is that the fish didn’t have a nice crispy skin. However, I actually liked the gelatinous (not rubbery) texture.

…Dim Sum?

Canton Table has some unique, delicious sounding dumplings. Unfortunately, they’re only available at lunch 😦

Baked Whole Abalone Puff- This is another signature item that deserves its title.The dish features a whole baby abalone baked into a flaky shell, then covered in a luscious soy glaze. The crispiness of the pastry provided the perfect vehicle for the soft abalone. When layered with the rich umami of the sauce, each bite becomes a magical explosion of flavour

Walnut Pastry- My mom always needs something sweet to finish of a meal. These cute bites fit the bill. The pastries had the aromatic fragrance of freshly toasted walnut and a delectably fine crumb that melted away. The interior featured a sweet paste with just enough crushed nuts for the perfect crunch.

Note: While the food was delicious, I did find it quite overpriced, especially when compared to Canton 8. For the full menu, check out their website

Service and Atmosphere

The atmosphere at Canton Table is 1920’s Shanghai elegance- not glamour, sultry chic. The interior features simple furniture and wooden paneling painted with scenes of old Shanghai, creating an chic atmosphere reminiscent of an upscale nightclub. The exposed vents and brickwork add an industrial feel that provides a unique break from the stuffy atmosphere at most high end places. However, the “shabby Chic” vibe was quite a shock, especially when the heating broke down.

With a large spacious hall and private rooms accommodating parties of 3-12, Canton Table is perfect for pretty much all special occasions. Case in point, we booked a private room because the ENTIRE hall was booked for a company function.

That was our booth!

Service was also amazing. The wait staff were courteous and very obliging. They even gave us scarves when the heat went off. The food also arrived fairly quickly- very surprising given the event outside. With that said, the staff did seem quite distracted and it often took quite a few clicks of the call button to get a response.

Overall Impression

Overall, the dinner at Canton Table was absolutely phenomenal. The food was great, but honestly, it was more for the symbolic experience than for the restaurant itself. I probably won’t be going back, not with Canton Eight

 

 

 

 

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