[2014 UPDATE] 4 months after our last visit, we went back to Nine thiry only to find that the beef stroganoff is no longer available on the newly revamped menu. Infact, the new menu was quite dismal. Portions have shrunk, truffled fries were still more or less the same, but really, there’s not much to attract us back again.
K11 Art Mall on Huai Hai Road, Shanghai boasts 2 storeys of great dining options. Having been there several times, this busy bistro had always piqued my curiosity. Apparently opened by the same people at the Singaporean cake brand Awfully Chocolate, Nine Thirty serves classic rustic western comfort food such as Beef Stroganoff with some contemporary asian fusions.
When my wife and I arrived on a saturday afternoon, it was packed to the brim, but thankfully a corner seat had just freed up, so we were seated almost immediately, while the bigger group behind us had to wait.
Their menu was well designed, and quite pleasant to navigate. Prices were a little on the high side, for a non-fine-dining establishment. Mains started from ¥80+. The wifey was quick to choose the Yellow Curry Prawn Linguine (¥100) which I was a little skeptical about. I went with a classic Beef Stroganoff (¥110) and a side of Truffle Fries (¥45) for some carbs. They also have the usual all-day breakfast options, with the ‘premium’ full breakfast spread costing ¥155 (!).
Servers were prompt when called, but serving times were a tad long. We waited for close to 20mins before my beef stroganoff arrived, which I believed had already been stewing in a large pot all this while, so why it took so long to arrive was beyond me. 5 minutes later, the wifey’s pasta arrived, and 10minutes later, the fries came.
The beef stroganoff was served beautifully with some slices of crusty bread, sauerkraut and a south-east-asian inspired salsa (!?). I know, that last item really sounded wierd, but it was the undermined star of the lot. (8/10)
Composing (from what I gather) of blended chilli, garlic, shallots, possibly some tomatoes and mixed with parmesan cheese. It was a very unique composition of a typical SE Asian sambal (chilli sauce) sweetened up with tomatoes and given an umami kick with the parmesan. Incredibly delicious paired with everything on the table that day.
What’s that? The beef? Oh right! Coming back to the main course. Beef was super tender and flavorful in the rich but not overly heavy red wine reduced stew. The stew was actually very well balanced and drinkable on its own. At first thought, the 2 pieces of beef seemed insubstantial, but towards the end of the meal, I was actually very filled, despite already being very sparing on the fries.
The wife’s yellow curry prawn pasta was average. Its lemon grass flavor was strong, apparent by the several stalks of lemon grass on the plate-perhaps to prove to us that fresh lemon grass was used, hence the price (lemon grass is notoriously and ridiculously expensive in Shanghai). The curry flavor was unfortunately not as apparent. I would have preferred a more spicy and fiery kick given the roots of the dish. The linguine was al dente and absorbed the sauce quite well. (6/10)
The 3 large grilled prawns were pleasantly de-shelled with their heads left intact. They were seasoned and grilled to perfection: charred but not rubbery.
I’ve always had a soft spot for truffled fries, which is essentially your supermarket ¥15 packet of fries, fried and then tossed with a few drops of truffle oil, and then sold at ¥45. One doesn’t see this on the menu in Shanghai too often, so I had to try it. The serving for this was HUGE; It was like an entire ¥15 packet of fries from the supermarket, and could easily served a table of 4 as an appetizer. The truffle flavor was apparent, and the fries were served with 2 sauces: ketchup and mayonnaise. Not bad really. This was surprisingly quite worth the ¥45. I had 80% of the original serving packed to go. (8/10)
Total bill for 2:
¥255 (without drinks)