Lunch at Calix for Shanghai Restaurant Week Fall 2016

1st October 2016 / Shanghai

Watch the Calix video on Youku (China)

Watch the Calix video on Youtube

Calix was one of the restaurants on my wishlist for awhile, and I finally got around to visiting them for their lunch set in Shanghai Restaurant Week.

They had recently won best new comer restaurant for Shanghai Restaurant Week 2016, and I had already heard glowing reviews of portions and quality of the food.


Located smack in the middle of the Xin Tian Di strip, by the fountain, one might say that there couldn’t be a better location for this restaurant to be. However, this is also one of the most expensive rental spaces in the entire Shanghai.

The decor of the restaurant is quite standard, and feels like your typical touristy restaurant. Big central bar counter, check. Outdoor seating, check. Live band stage, check. High tables and chairs, check. You get the picture. I wouldn’t say it was bad, just that neither was it special in any way. 7.5/10


The service at Calix was remarkably good, given that they didn’t have an army of servers — around 3-4 servers running the restaurant front, while still being very efficient in attending to all guests. While our food did take a little bit of wait to arrive, the kitchen at Calix managed to synchronise all our courses for our table of 6 to arrived at the same time; A common requirement for respected restaurants overseas, but not very commonly seen in Shanghai. 8.5/10


The menu at Calix were created by chefs Anna Bautista and Sean Jorgensen, whose work I’ve always been quite a fan of. The restaurant week menu belonged to category A, which meant 128rmb for lunch and 258rmb for dinner. Although only 3 courses are offered, I would soon find that they were 3 very hefty courses.

If only all steaks in other places were done this well
If only all steaks in other places were done this well

Grilled Steak Salad

Organic greens, shaved vegetables with thai red curry vinaigrette.

First thoughts upon presentation: ‘Wow, that was like an entire steak on the salad!’

The beef was likely a rump cap, and was done beautifully pink in the middle with a light but flavourful char on the outside. I estimated the steak on the salad to be at least 200 grams — Something that one rarely see on a starter.

Slide the photo left/right to see how much I ate!

Along with the beef were two tender spears of asparagus, shaved carrots and fennel along with the usual garden greens. The thai red curry vinaigrette which dressed the salad was refreshingly spicy, and a welcome twist to the usual vinaigrettes.

I was already a little full by the time i polished the plate clean, and thought this would have been a decent meal on it’s own. 9/10

Best soft shell crab I've had in Shanghai so far
Best soft shell crab I’ve had in Shanghai so far

Crunchy soft shell crab spaghetti

Mild curry cream sauce, smoked bacon, spinach.

I’m usually a sucker for soft shell crab, even though I’ve been disappointed many times in Shanghai due to inferior fishy crabs or poor execution leading to soft limp fritters.

Similar to the starter course, I was again impressed by the portions when this was served. A whole soft shell crab, on a large dish of pasta.

The soft shell crab was crispy and fresh within. No off-putting fishy flavours whatsoever. The batter was light and crispy like Japanese tempura. This was soft shell crab at it’s finest.

Slide the photo left/right to see how much I ate!

The spaghetti was cooked with a bit of bite, nice. Flavours of the sauce resembled a commercial carbonara, which usually means cream and bacon. I thought it tasted quite pleasant, except that the sauce was a little watery. Either that, or the pasta was not thoroughly drained before tossing with the sauce. As you can see from the finished plate, I had a bit of a soup left.

All that said, I was still very impressed by the soft shell crab and the portions. If the sauce had a bit more oomph and was slightly thicker, it would have gotten a higher score than 8.5/10

Calix's take on peanut butter and jelly
Calix’s take on peanut butter and jelly

PB & Jelly Sundae

Vanilla ice cream, peanut butter mousse, strawberry jam.

Calix’s take on peanut butter and jelly, a popular sandwich combination in America.

In reality it was a slice of brownie with vanilla ice cream, a dab of peanut butter mousse, fresh strawberries and drizzled with some strawberry jam.

I realised this was also a twist on the classic ice cream on brownie, and quite a successful one at that. While the components all seemed simple, they came together nicely.

Slide the photo left/right to see how much I ate!

The vanilla ice cream was of exceptional quality — great vanilla flavours with visible vanilla seeds. I’m guessing they might have been sourced from Gracie’s Ice Cream.

The peanut butter mousse added a sharp contrast of savouriness to the mix, which I initially though might be weird, but found that the flavours blended in, even with the strawberries, and made the dessert more interesting. 8.5/10

With that, I concude this mini review of Calix. I look forward to returning to try some of their other things, I read previously that they have a lobster roll on menu — something I have been very eager to taste around the world.


TSK Rating


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.


Lane 181, Taicang Lu, Xin Tian Di, No 12-12




Huang Pu / Luwan

Xin Tian Di

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