What? The Shanghai Kid reviewed Paulaner?!
I don’t know about you, but Paulaner at Xin Tian Di is a place I’ve passed by hundreds of times in my 8 years in Shanghai. Everytime I pass by, I see it consistently packed, even though I know it is somewhat of a tourist trap. Still, curiosity killed the cat, when my Dutch friend had a craving for something close to home, and invited me to dinner.
Apparently, the Paulaner restaurant is actually quite well known for their German food, namely their house-made sausages, house-brewed beer and pork knuckle.
My previous experiences with pork knuckle back in Singapore, were mostly crunchy, but dry meat.
Naturally, I was seduced by the glowing reviews of their pork knuckle, and ordered a half portion (500g) while my friend had a steak with Spätzle.
Our food arrived in 10mins, which was alarmingly fast. It was nice to know that nothing was microwaved, as the food was warm and not bursting atomically with heat.
Portions were caucasian sized, which justified the slightly high price tag.
My pork knuckle came chopped on a large mound of mashed potatoes, a good dollop of sauerkraut, and sprinkled with fried onion rings that were bursting with flavour.
The pork knuckle was very good. Served warm, the crackled skin was crispy and light, but packed with a robust umami flavour, similar to fried chicken skin and suckling pig’s skin. The meat was moist and tender, but still retaining abit of bite. The best bites were the ones with a combination of lean and fatty meat, which by the way, was perfectly seasoned, and did not have any foul porky stench — a sign of decent (castrated) pork. When it gets too rich, take a bite of sauerkraut and all is balanced and well once again. The mashed potato was de rigeur, but good enough, especially with the dark gravy. 9/10
I didn’t try my friend’s steak and Spätzle — a type of dumpling/noodle eaten around the German regions. He said it was good and much better value than this one time he ate at Mortons which amounted to ¥2000 per head.
One thing they should take off the menu, is the beer with sprite which was recommended for a light and refreshing drink, and which I ordered for novelty’s sake, although I think in doing so, I had just lost half of my integrity as a foodie. It was quite an abomination of a drink. Sweet and tasted a little like beer. Yup, never, ever, order it.
All in all, it was quite an interesting meal. The portions are large, and plating rather rustic — Just food piled on a plate. The price tag is somewhat touristy as expected, my plate of a half portion of pork knuckle and a ¥68 Spraulaner (Sprite + Paulaner) came to about ¥200.
That said, it was a very tasty and satisfying plate. So, you kind of get your moneys worth.