Shanghai: Goga

15 Nov

While researching on Shanghai eats, Goga, a Californian-Asian and Hawaiian inspired restaurant by Chef Brad Turley was consistently rated highly on the blogosphere and websites like That’s Shanghai (Restaurant of year 2011), CityWeekend and SmartShanghai, etc. If you’re curious about the name, Goga is a portmanteau of Golden Gate which also appears cleverly on its logo (see below). Being very Singaporean, I made a reservation 2 weeks in advance to ensure that I would secure a seat on a Friday night (they do 2 shifts, 630pm and 830pm).

It is a small intimate space (abt 20 pax), with not much ambience to speak of. Food is definitely the main attraction here. They have a bar at the rooftop though so you could always move on there after your “shift”. We were seated at the bar counter. Pity Chef Turley wasn’t around though.

The husband’s view of curious displays and fancy salt.

Blocks of pink himalayan salt for shaving (not that we needed extra salt in our food)

The short menu was two-sided with sections titled Fins, Fields, Flesh and Finishing Touches. I thought it was clear what they stood for until I found steak tataki under Fields, and fish and chicken under Flesh, then I got confused. Maybe it alluded to the portion size instead. We asked for the much lauded blue cheese burger but TO OUR HORRORS they no longer serve it  as the chef just opened another restaurant on the 7th floor the hotel next door called Hai by Goga and it’s served there instead *cries*. Nevertheless there were other excellent choices that we opted for.

West Coast Lobster Roll (120 RMB) – With Atlantic lobster, sriracha cilantro aioli, sprout salad and a butter grilled bun. This was totally different from the traditional lobster roll, and a clever Asian take on it. The lobster filling was tangy, refreshing and light. Though I would imagine the sprouts (should be watercress) would not be very everyone. Quite interesting but I would have preferred it with more lobster meat (there was a lot of veg). Though the diner next to me raved about the buttered corn, the hubs claims that the one I make is better *nervous laughter*.

Uni and Avocado (70 RMB) – They were spread on a crispy crostini, with a umami-tasting confit (soy sauce??) and spring onions on the top. I was extremely excited about this dish, as I felt the pairing of both sea urchin and avocado was a clever one because of their similar textures. Though the uni tasted quite light (probably overpowered by the avocado), I loved it as I am partial to anything uni and avocado. I wished the uni could have tasted stronger and more buttery.

Miso broiled black cod (130RMB) – With shitake salsa, edamame jus, truffle shrimp kabayaki. The cod was perfectly cooked here. Definitely a winner. Though I found the miso marinade a bit too sweet for me, the husband felt it was just nice (I have a low sweet threshold). I thought the truffled cut shrimp was an interesting touch and I also loved the light edamame jus for balance since there were quite a bit of flavours going on on the plate.

Adobo braised beef cheeks (130RMB) With horseradish whipped potato, caramelised bok choy, Manila Adob0 jus. This was definitely my favourite dish of the night. The beef cheeks were PERFECTLY BRAISED. It would disintegrate as you cut through with your fork – excellently tender – and the flavour had been infused into the meat. What was equally good was the accompanying horseradish whipped potato which was extremely piquant and addictive. As a wasabi lover, I loved it. Though I was expecting a vinegary Adobo jus having never tasted an authentic Adobo dish, I thought this tasted just nice.We skipped desserts there (small selection anyway) to have crepes at the nearby La Creperie. My wine was a Californian Chardonnay which was okay and service was a little awkward but bearable. The food in Goga, particularly the mains we had are definitely the star of the restaurant and I’m glad we got to try this unqiue blend of Californian-Asian and Hawaiian cusine in China of all places, but I suspect we will be heading for the blue cheese burger next trip :)

Price: $$$ (cash only and no fapiao)
Location: 1 Yueyang Lu, near Dongping Lu
Telephone: 6431-9700

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