Virtual prisoners in our own superbly stylish Georgian home, we jumped at the chance of One Night in Shanghai. With the hard work already done by Mamasan, it’s four fabulous courses of South East Asian cuisine, plus one very cheeky cocktail.
Soon after our resounding YES PLEASE, there’s a handsome man before us, bearing an incredibly large package. Teasing us with his spicy sauces, he suggests we might also enjoy a mouthful of his creamy coconut paste. Always nice to meet a fan!
Now in such instances, we would normally jest: steady tiger, buy us a drink first? But actually, our saucy new friend has thought of that too, in the form of a wonderfully potent Shang-Hai-Tea. More on that in a moment …
Launched between lockdowns, and based in Glasgow, Mamasan is renowned for its exceptional flavours and delicate touch. This inspired brasserie also boasts lush decor and a cocktail bar the Social Bitches would feel very much at home in.
Though until that oh-so-happy day, when dining-in is once again a thing, you can always create your own Mamasan experience at home. Even more exciting, delivery is available both in Glasgow and here in the capital.
All you really need to do is turn on the oven. So, once we google how to do that, we are ready to go. Though as we’re embarking upon this journey dangerously close to sober, we’ve decided to try the last thing on the menu first: The Shang-Hai-Tea.
It’s a cocktail that combines green tea infused gin, lemon, peach infused chartreuse, and Sichuan pepper to delicious effect. All topped off with an edible flower, it looks rather sweet, but definitely packs a punch.
We’re also dazzled by its lychee pearls. They twinkle like stars, and add a playful texture as they roll across the tongue. Up until this moment, we weren’t even fans of this tropical fruit, but reduced in size and surrounded by alcohol: WE LOVE IT!
Meanwhile in the oven … we’re warming the Lobster prawn toast, along with two generously proportioned Spring Rolls lovingly filled with Aromatic braised duck leg. Legendary multi-taskers that we are, we’re also opening a bottle of red.
Now forget what prawn toast usually looks or tastes like. Thanks to the addition of a rather generous cut of lobster, this is something brand new and utterly delicious. Especially once dipped into the intense Burnt chilli sauce, wowsers!
Our handsome friend warned us it has a kick, and he really didn’t exaggerate. My head bursts instantly into flame, and must be doused by red wine. But Isaac’s made of sterner Samoan stuff, and insists it’s the perfect balance of flavour vs. fire.
Seconds later, we’re on to the next dish. Those delicious spring rolls, which we’re currently introducing to an attractive dollop of hoisin sauce. We’re also thrusting an imagined perfect score card into the air.
The duck is beautifully tender, as well as ample, and the pastry is marvellously crisp, never oily. We also love the small band of seaweed. Not only is it super stylish, this salty burst of the sea also adds a delightful dash of contrast to the dish.
After then cleansing our palettes with a refreshing Salad of Green papaya, carrot & sesame soy dressing – simple, but tantalising – we’re ready for the main event.
An amazing Sweet & sour Iberico pork with pineapple, banana shallots & dragon fruit, served with Egg fried rice. Somehow tasting even more delicious than it sounds, this classic dish has been reminagined into something truly wonderful.
The batter is subtle, the pork’s top notch, thanks to those Iberican pigs and their strict diet of acorns. And then there’s the sweet & sour sauce, which is an absolute triumph. Complex, sophisticated, and just enough kick to make things interesting.
Though in the spirt of full disclosure, we must say that WE [ read: Isaac ] botched the rice, rendering it utterly inedible. Alcoholism may have been a factor, who can say, but it’s lead to a brief moment of panic [ read: hysteria, tears & wine guzzling ]
Fortunately, crisis averted, thanks to a bag of cauliflower rice + three minutes in the microwave. Yes, we know, this amounts to sacrilege. BUT it does clearly demonstrate the flavours of this meal are SO amazing, even our disastrous attempts at boiling rice cannot defeat it. Though moving swiftly on …
Our exquisite meal is also one with an epic finish, thanks to a mouth-watering Asian pear sticky toffee pudding. Once again it’s a classic dish deconstructed, and reimagined. Texture, flavour, and the exact ratio of salt-to-toffee are all perfectly judged. In fact, it’s one of the best STPs we’ve ever had.
Our verdict: this has been an absolutely fabulous night in Shanghai. The gorgeous dishes, combined with our impeccable table-setting and much wine, make it easy to imagine we’re in the REAL Mamasan.
Mind you, we’re also picturing flirty waiters, and perfectly cooked rice. Though for now this is definitely the next best thing!
Reviewed February 2021
Delivers to Edinburgh + Glasgow
One Night in Shanghai £65 / feeds 2
Also available: One Night in Bangkok £65 / Mother’s Day Box £70 /
Luxury Surf & Turf £99 / Cocktail Box £40