The Philippine government has had enough of hard lockdowns, and is now slowly opening up the economy. In line with this, restrictions for many sectors – including food, personal services, and amusement – have been relaxed. However, this is contingent on people’s vaccination status. People who have had at least one shot, including yours truly, are allowed some degree of access to certain establishments.
I managed to leave the house in mid-October to run some errands and see a new environment, which I accomplished. It had been a while since I last ate out, and I took this chance to do so. Trinoma Mall is an hour’s drive away from where I live, so I took the chance to dine at one of the restaurants there. I opted to dine outdoors as I am not yet fully vaccinated against COVID-19. I only had one AstraZeneca dose at the time of my trip, and only got my second dose around the end of October.
I’ve been seeing Modern Shanghai in Trinoma’s Garden Restaurants row at the fourth level for some time now. This restaurant from the Bistro Group (of Denny’s and TGI Friday’s fame) serves Chinese dishes – some familiar, some new. Some of their menu items caught my attention, so I decided to have lunch here.
As with other restaurants under the Bistro Group, Modern Shanghai‘s items leaned towards the expensive side. However, it also had buy one, get one (BOGO) deals where you order one particular dish and you get another one for free. All in all, I ordered the following: Sliced Beef With Broccoli, Xiao Long Bao, Yang Chow Rice, Kung Pao Chicken Wok Bowl, and the Shanghai Lily drink.
First came the Xiao Long Bao, a dumpling filled with pork and broth. The six-piece dumpling set came with its staple condiment – black vinegar and sliced ginger. The xiao long bao wrapper was translucent, allowing a peek of the contents inside. A bite of the dumpling unleashed an explosion of flavor, literally, as some of the broth hit my trousers.
I traditionally do not eat condiments with my food, but I tried the xiao long bao with the black vinegar. The vinegar’s tartness cut through the savory pork and broth. The translucent wrapper was also strong enough to hold the entire filling yet was soft enough to bite when it is eaten. While Modern Shanghai‘s xiao long bao does line up with the heavyweights, I would defer to the much more established Din Tai Fung.
Next came the Sliced Beef With Broccoli. This was part of the BOGO dishes I mentioned earlier – I got the Xiao Long Bao for free with my order of this item. If you ask me, groups will definitely enjoy the BOGO deals – though these are only available on weekdays.
At first glance, this dish looked rather basic – stir-fried beef slices and carrots on a bed of blanched broccoli. However, this dish was more than just beef. It had straw mushrooms and scallions mixed with the meat! The serving size was rather large, so I had a bit of a challenge finishing it. I nevertheless finished it clean.
I ordered the Yang Chow Rice to accompany the beef, albeit just one cup. While the rice was a tad bit oily, the taste was leagues better than fried rice dishes I tried from other restaurants. Modern Shanghai did not scrimp on the toppings for this one that you could even eat it on its own!
To serve as backup, I also ordered Modern Shanghai‘s Kung Pao Chicken Wok Bowl. While I appreciated the extra chicken, I found this dish rather lacking in taste. Despite the dish having nuts – a staple of kung pao chicken – I found that it lacked the sweet, spicy, and nutty taste usually associated with the dish. Think of Yellow Cab‘s Charlie Chan Pasta. I don’t know if the other items under the restaurant’s Shanghai Wok Bowls fare better, but I’ll just have to wait for now.
Lastly, the Shanghai Lily put the “modern” in Modern Shanghai‘s name. Made from lychee bits, mint leaves and soda water, this drink carved its reputation as one of the restaurant’s best sellers. It was reminiscent of fruit-based drinks from local milk tea joints, with the lychee bits serving as the sinkers.
Will I come back to Modern Shanghai? Definitely, but I would order different menu items. They may be on the pricier side of things, but they are worth every penny taste- and serving-wide. Oh, before I forget – Modern Shanghai shares kitchen and dining space with Fish & Co., so you can order from both restaurants and eat at the same spot.
Until the next post, bon appetit and stay safe!
4/F Garden Restaurants,
Trinoma Mall, North Avenue cor. EDSA,
Brgy. Bagong Pag-Asa, Quezon City 1105