Spanish taste in the heart of Shanghai

The traditional and the contemporary combine to good effect at El Iberico, a delightful little eatery that sits opposite Jing’An Shangri-La on Tongren Road.
Courtesy of El Iberico

El Iberico is a modern Spanish bistro.

Sauteed sweet peas with ham bits

The traditional and the contemporary combine to good effect at El Iberico, a delightful little eatery that sits opposite Jing’An Shangri-La on Tongren Road.

The modern Spanish bistro was opened three years ago by famous interior designer Ray Chou, who considers the fare of Spain as one of his top-pick cuisines.

He created a relatively small yet neat space in a more relaxed, contemporary ambience – light wood furniture contrasts the black-and-white floral pattern floor tiles. Such décor was meant to attract the crowd from the posh Jing’an neighborhood who are always on the hunt for decent places to dine out.

Spanish tapas classics include: premium jamon, ham croquettes, boiled octopus, tortilla, pan-fired red shrimp and seafood paella is definitely one of the most sought-after items for sharing.

On a recent visit, I opted for a tapas evening, accompanied by a good Spanish wine in the hot summer. Don’t expect great innovations here because the purpose behind El Iberico is to bring the fresh renderings of classic Spanish flavors to the locals.

I chose several tapas. Marinated silver anchovy (48 yuan/4pcs) – a tapas that only seems to work in Spain – was packed with flavor. Delicious anchovies marinated in vinegar, olive oil and garlic with a dash of pesto on the lightly toasted bread enlivened the appetite.

My next tapas course, Pan-fried razor clam with garlic (78 yuan/10pcs), was a relatively lighter dish compared to the first one. However, according to the manager, local customers prefer not-so-heavy tastes. I added a bit of sea salt to give this a bit more flavor.

Sauteed sweet peas with ham bits was a delightful dish. The sweetness of the bright green hand-peeled peas were paired nicely with the strong flavors coming from the Iberian ham. Slow-cooked cod fish with pea puree was my favorite that evening. Visually, the dish speaks softly, but it combines quite a number of sensations: buttery fish, sautéed for a crisp skin, and a pea puree giving a silky-smooth texture, radiating with spring flavor and color.

The wine list here is purely Spanish except the champagne which was from France. The owner is keen on bringing the best of Spain can offer.

Tips

Opening hours: 10am-10pm

Tel: 6143-7696

Address: 72 Tongren Rd

Average per person: 200 yuan

Food: 4 stars

Service: 4 stars

Ambience: 4 stars


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