I had the pleasure of hosting a little team dinner at Capo recently for their winners edition for Shanghai Restaurant Week, Spring 2016. It has been awhile since I last wrote about Capo. Since then, head chef, Enzo Carbone had passed the reigns over to chef Marco Russo, which piqued my interest to see how standards are being maintained. Let’s see if they still blow me away like before.
Capo has been consistently claiming best Italian restaurant in Shanghai for Shanghai Restaurant Week a few years in a row now. The decor has largely been kept the same, except lighting has been adjusted to be brighter, and more comfortable now.
Service is still managed by captains, Aaron and Martin, while wait staff seems to have been revolved several times. That said, service quality remained pleasantly consistent, with food being served timely and courses all always served together at the same time for the table. Needless to say, servers were always polite and courteous, even in the face of an unreasonable/angsty customer which I witnessed.
I was pleased that Capo stuck to their traditional Italian set of courses for Restaurant Week, which means you get:
Compared with many other restaurants who serve you only 3 courses for 258 RMB, this is a good deal. This is why Shanghai Restaurant Week, organized by DiningCity is a great entry point to try many restaurants that are usually out of your dining budget.
Home-made marinated salmon with orange and dill. 5 slices of salt-cured salmon with boiled asparagus and some micro greens. The slightly salty salmon opened up the palate, and went very nicely with the perfectly cooked asparagus. The asparagus was fresh and crunchy, without any tough stalks.
It was a refreshing change from the usual cold cuts and mozzarella. I was told that this was a new antipasto that is different from that served on the actual Restaurant Week. This was so that repeat customers would have something new and interesting to look forward to. Nice. 8/10
CAPO Pizza Rotolo
Rolled Pizza CAPO Style. This was my first time eating pizza like this.
Toppings Stuffings-wise, it was a like a magherita — cherry tomatoes, basil, rocket and parmagiano sprinkled on top. I also managed to get a whiff of charred cheese inside. The verdict? I thought the presentation looked novel, but taste-wise, I really prefer a traditional flat pizza, because toppings-to-crust ratio is more even. For the Rotolo, you end up with some bites with more fillings, and some bites with just pizza crust. At some point, the entire roll will simply fall apart (towards 60% of finishing it). I would prefer more melted and charred cheese. 7/10
Tagliatelle Fatte in Casa All’ Amatriciana
Hand-crafted organic egg tagliatelle with spicy Amatriciana sauce, tomato and pork guanciale. That’s Italian fancy talk for pork sausage tagliatelle in a spicy tomato sauce. I tasted a bit of this and liked the sauce very much. Pasta was soft and slightly chewy, the traits of well cooked hand-made pasta. If I had a complaint, I wish the portions of the pasta could be a little bit bigger. 8/10
Scialatielli Al Sapore Di Mare
Hand-made Almafi coast speciality scialatielli long pasta with fresh seafood sauce. This was my selection, and it featured slightly narrower noodles, topped with bits of fish, squid, prawns and herbs. I liked that the sauce, while light, had a very nice balanced seafood flavour; Fish stock possibly. The pasta, like the one before was nice and al dente. One of the herbs however had a very strong flavour that kind of drowned away the lovely seafood flavours for me. I would advise not to bite in to the leaves. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this pasta dish, and again, wish for slightly bigger portions for the future diners. You all can thank me later. 8.5/10
Tagliata Di Controfiletto Ai Ferri Con Rucola, Parmigiano E Balsamico
CAPO exclusively butchered Australian black angus “Ranger Valley” striploin, taglata style with rocket, parmesan cheese and balsamico. This was Chef Enzo Carbone’s signature, and I was very pleased that Chef Marco Russo carried on the tradition. The beef at Capo is of exceptional quality, and as such, no elaborate sauces is required to enjoy the meat. I ordered mine medium, and it came like so, with a beautiful smokey char from the grill marks that whiffed through the air. The meat is smokey on the exterior, sweet and tender within. Eat with a bit of the sea salt on the side and the flavours get accentuated to another level.
The steak was an entire striploin, although I noticed this time, it was thinner than before.
Unfortunately, the rocket salad had also shrunk to just a mouthful, and the grilled onion also had shrunk to just a quarter instead of half.
All that said, quantity issues aside, quality deserves top marks, and I give this a 9/10
Branzino E Gamberoni Al Forno Con Verdure Arrostite E Erbette
A long mouthful for oven roasted seabass and prawns with roasted vegetables and mediterranean herbs. The missus had this, and I managed to steal a few bites as well. The prawns were big and succulent, bursting with charred crustacean flavours. The fish however, I didn’t like very much.
It was quite dry, and had a peculiar flavour to it. Apparently, roasted vegetables meant a roasted lemon and some slices of zucchini. Sadly, one of the weaker dishes I’ve tasted at Capo. Go for the steak. 6.5/10
The tiramisu seemed to have gone through an overhaul. Thankfully, it helped end the dinner on a high note. It was one of the best tiramisus that I’ve eaten in a long time. Lovely balance of cake and mascarpone with a drizzle of coffee sauce for that coffee kick. The lone strawberry helped to liven up the plate and palate, and was a nice touch. 8.5/10