2nd level, Veranda Bayside, Entertainment Mall, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City
Tel. No. 551-1110
Open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Sunday to Thursday); 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. (Friday to Saturday)
(SPOT.ph) There’s an invisible line in the middle of Modern Shanghai (the restaurant, not the country). On one side, the side facing the sea, chandeliers shaped like Chinese lanterns cast a graceful glow. A wall on the far end makes the space distinctly Shanghainese-glossy chartreuse and puce in an intricate lotus leaf pattern with wooden koi figurines seemingly swimming across, a consolidation of Shanghai’s French-oriental underpinnings. The other side, which connects to the mall, is modest and laidback. Set up like a Chinese home, deep brown lattices are arranged on the walls, contrasting the green-tiled floor, and framing the mouthwatering view of the kitchen. The divide seems unintentional; only the result of taking the original inspiration of Modern China, a fine-dining restaurant, into something a little more accessible. It doesn’t matter where you sit though, there’s no need to choose sides in Modern Shanghai.
It seems far-fetched to say that tea is one of the reasons to brave a trip to Mall of Asia, but it’s true. They have four variations, Fairy Jasmine (lily, osmanthus, jasmine), Lily Blossom (green tea, lily, jasmine), Golden Sunrise (amaranth, jasmine), and Peaceful Garden (chrysanthemum, jasmine)-each a performance on its own. Instead of tea leaves, small bulbs are dropped into the water, which eventually open up into a flower sitting on the bottom of your glass.
Signature xiao long bao
The xiao long bao (P198), or soup dumplings, have that savory broth served not scalding but just perfect for sipping. While most xiao long bao let the soup do all the talking, here, the ground pork takes center stage-amazingly fresh, it’s soft and velvety, not at all like the coarse compact meat ball that we’ve become accustomed to with our ground pork. There’s a special pan-fried version (P228) that adds a bit of a crackle with every bite.