French fusion with Shanghainese flavors
Shanghainese roots and global influences convene in this warm, cozy restaurant and bar serving good food and highly impressive cocktails.
Tucked away on the fifth floor of an easy-to-miss building on Shaanxi Road S., Chameleon is a hidden surprise when you open the simply designed entrance door. First impressions are often deceptive and this is the case here, because the inside feels like a cocoon.
It’s not a meticulously designed restaurants but it gives off a homey, welcoming feeling. Half of the space is dedicated to loungy seatings with low tables and a bar counter with high stools. The other half belongs to the dining area, with a wall showing an impressive collection of liquors.
Partners Eddy Yang and Carson Xie have both made names for themselves and, as top mixologists in town, they are in high demand in China and internationally.
The partnership is reaping rewards as they take great pride in their creations, which brings great pleasure to guests.
“In addition, the terrace overlooking the fascinating Shanghai skyline blew us away on my first visit,” Xie said.
The dinner menu shows the team’s passion to elevate the experience by integrating French cooking techniques with a Chinese influence.
Shanghainese flavors are evident here because of the team’s origin. They creatively present the beef and tuna tartar with cifangao (local fried rice cake) and black cod in Shanghainese-style bamboo soup.
“We appreciate French cooking techniques but we also want to bring out the flavors familiar to the local customers. You can easily find some fun flavor and texture combinations here,” Xie said.
To start things off, beef and tuna tartar, sesame oil fried rice cake was a creative update on the typical Shanghainese breakfast classic cifangao.
The tartar is an interesting version based on the classic beef tartar yet when mixing in the tuna meat, the result was not quite as overpowering.
Hazelnut butter fried frog is another popular dish here, labeling the food as Chinese-French fusion. Fried frog leg is a classic French dish, yet the use of fried lotus root, Sichuan spice chili, gives it a familiar sensation to the local crowd.
Coherent with the fusion concept, the cocktails are inspired by Chinese spices. Combined with a curation of Chinese ingredients like Sichuan peppercorn, pickled cabbage, preserved tangerine peel, cumin and bay leaf, each craft cocktail gives customers a fulfilling moment.
Opening hours: 6pm-1am
Address: 5/F, 90 Shaanxi Rd S.
Average price: 320 yuan (US$46.54)