Lemon Grass Shanghai Novel Place Review

8th August 2013 / Shanghai

This is my first review of Lemon Grass, although I have already dined here a number of times.

Tom Yum Goong at Lemon Grass

It is one of the best Thai food I’ve tasted in Shanghai, with the Home Thai at K11 Art Mall being a strong contender. Cost of the meal for 2 persons was RMB 233 for 3 dishes:

  1. Tom Yum Goong (Prawn tom yum soup)
  2. Small Lemon Grass Signature Platter ( 2 spring rolls, 1 fish cake, 1 prawn cake, 2 pandan leaf wrapped chicken)
  3. Basil baked weever fish

Dinner service at an early 6pm was already starting to get busy, with 80% of the restaurant filled up. Service was passable, servers responded when called, but only returned after 5 mins when we asked for a pair of chopsticks.

The tom yum goong is easily one of, if not the best in Shanghai so far. Very well balanced tom yum flavors and fresh prawns. The prawns have had the tips of their heads neatly snipped, to prevent any mouths from getting accidentally stabbed. Portions were just nice for 2, the only complaint was it would have been good to have had the soup stock strained before preparing the order (the soup usually comes from a big stock pot, and the ingredients such as mushrooms and prawns are cooked upon order). The reason is because in almost every mouthful of soup, there contained bits of lemon grass and chillis. The Chillis are ok, but the lemon grass bits are like splinters, potentially dangerous when swallowed and extremely irritating to have to pick/spit them out. Lemon Grass Platter  Whilst my wife isn’t a fan of deep fried food, I enjoyed the platter. The spring rolls were crispy and had a savoury filling. Fish cakes had the right bite and flavour. Chicken wrapped in pandan leaves were not dried out, and had abit of the pandan flavor imparted to the chicken thigh meat.

The star of the platter was the prawn cake. Sadly there was only one, but it was one very umami laden panko-crusted prawn fritter. If my tastebuds had not failed me, the fritter patty was composed of pork lard and minced prawns, marinated with fish sauce. The pork lard provided that rich umami flavor, the shrimp bits the (wait for it..) prawn flavor, fused together with fish sauce. Next time I would probably order a whole plate of these prawn cakes. Lemon Grass Basil Baked Weever  Some caucasian readers would be a little disturbed by fish eyes staring back at you now. Well you won’t be compelled to order this dish anytime soon, because it was a disappointment. We were presented with a foil packet on a plate when it was serverd. We then pried open the foil packet, and was presented with a very dull looking fish. Upon further inspection, we saw that the fish was actually had its main bone removed, and stuffed with a spice paste.

The flavors didn’t impart so well to the fish, which had that strong freshwater muddy taste that I loathed. After digging in for a bit, we realized there were alot more bones scattered throughout the fish, which had us eat in caution despite the earlier impression that it was a deboned fish. Anyway, dish not recommended.

So that’s that for a simple dinner for two at Lemon Grass. Definitely not a bad place for Thai at reasonable prices, for some reason Thai food is extremely overpriced in Shanghai, even though the ingredients are essentially the same chinese staples except for some spices.

Restaurant: Lemon Grass
Price Per Head: ~$120
Rating: 7/10
ADDRESS
Novel Place, B1-06, 131 Tianyaoqiao Lu, near Xingeng Lu
天钥桥路131号永新坊地下1楼06室, 近辛耕路Tom Yum Goong at Lemon Grass This is my first review of Lemon Grass, although I have already dined here a number of times. It is one of the best Thai food I’ve tasted in Shanghai, with the Home Thai at K11 Art Mall being a strong contender. Cost of the meal for 2 persons was RMB 233 for 3 dishes:

  1. Tom Yum Goong (Prawn tom yum soup)
  2. Small Lemon Grass Signature Platter ( 2 spring rolls, 1 fish cake, 1 prawn cake, 2 pandan leaf wrapped chicken)
  3. Basil baked weever fish

Dinner service at an early 6pm was already starting to get busy, with 80% of the restaurant filled up. Service was passable, servers responded when called, but only returned after 5 mins when we asked for a pair of chopsticks. The tom yum goong is easily one of, if not the best in Shanghai so far. Very well balanced tom yum flavors and fresh prawns. The prawns have had the tips of their heads neatly snipped, to prevent any mouths from getting accidentally stabbed. Portions were just nice for 2, the only complaint was it would have been good to have had the soup stock strained before preparing the order (the soup usually comes from a big stock pot, and the ingredients such as mushrooms and prawns are cooked upon order). The reason is because in almost every mouthful of soup, there contained bits of lemon grass and chillis. The Chillis are ok, but the lemon grass bits are like splinters, potentially dangerous when swallowed and extremely irritating to have to pick/spit them out. Lemon Grass Platter  Whilst my wife isn’t a fan of deep fried food, I enjoyed the platter. The spring rolls were crispy and had a savoury filling. Fish cakes had the right bite and flavour. Chicken wrapped in pandan leaves were not dried out, and had abit of the pandan flavor imparted to the chicken thigh meat. The star of the platter was the prawn cake. Sadly there was only one, but it was one very umami laden panko-crusted prawn fritter. If my tastebuds had not failed me, the fritter patty was composed of pork lard and minced prawns, marinated with fish sauce. The pork lard provided that rich umami flavor, the shrimp bits the (wait for it..) prawn flavor, fused together with fish sauce. Next time I would probably order a whole plate of these prawn cakes. Lemon Grass Basil Baked Weever  Some caucasian readers would be a little disturbed by fish eyes staring back at you now. Well you won’t be compelled to order this dish anytime soon, because it was a disappointment. We were presented with a foil packet on a plate when it was serverd. We then pried open the foil packet, and was presented with a very dull looking fish. Upon further inspection, we saw that the fish was actually had its main bone removed, and stuffed with a spice paste. The flavors didn’t impart so well to the fish, which had that strong freshwater muddy taste that I loathed. After digging in for a bit, we realized there were alot more bones scattered throughout the fish, which had us eat in caution despite the earlier impression that it was a deboned fish. Anyway, dish not recommended. So that’s that for a simple dinner for two at Lemon Grass. Definitely not a bad place for Thai at reasonable prices, for some reason Thai food is extremely overpriced in Shanghai, even though the ingredients are essentially the same chinese staples except for some spices.

Price Per Head: ~$120

TSK Rating

7.3
Food
7.5
Service
7.5
Venue
7

Author: Fred Lin

Fred “The Shanghai Kid” Lin was born in Singapore, and grew up in a family of foodies and home-cooks. He moved to Shanghai in 2007 and fell in love with the city, eventually carving a self-made career out of digital media design and development. He founded The Shanghai Kid food blog in 2013, and opened an award-winning Singaporean restaurant in 2014, which won CityWeekend’s Outstanding Southeast Asian restaurant of the year in 2016.
In 2017, he decided to reboot, and shut down all his businesses in Shanghai before moving back to Singapore with his wife.
Fred plans to immigrate to Melbourne in the near future.

Lemon Grass

Address
Novel Place, B1-06, 131 Tianyaoqiao Lu, near Xingeng Lu 天钥桥路131号永新坊地下1楼06室, 近辛耕路

Cuisine
Thai

City
Shanghai

Area
Xu Jia Hui

Landmarks
Novel Place

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