This new Japanese venue is not a typical izakaya

XIME has quietly opened its doors in a premium office building on Changle Road, offering something that "is not your typical izakaya (Japanese gastropub)."

XIME has quietly opened its doors in a premium office building on Changle Road, offering something that “is not your typical izakaya (Japanese gastropub).”

A completely new twist on Japanese casual dining in the center of the city, it is run by Samuel Norris, partnering with Japanese chef Jun Nishio.

Norris worked at Michelin-starred restaurants such as Nobu London and Dinner by Heston Blummental in London. He also opened Wishbone, specializing in rotisserie-roasted chickens two years ago.

Chef Nishio has set up several Japanese restaurants in Shanghai. The duo came together through their shared love of food and creating new and interesting dishes. They have created a concept that stands up to other Japanese restaurants in the area.

“We don’t have a typical menu, so we feel we can get more interest from local diners,” Norris said. “We have tried to move away from typical izakaya dishes and Chef Nishio has been putting his own style and influence into the menu.

“We have also been working on a lunch-focused menu for the office tower above — this was one of the draws of this particular location.”

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DIY makit roll sushi set

The lunch menu focusing on udon, soba and rice sets is featured in this minimal chic eatery, where busy office people can find a moment of satisfaction and comfort. In the evening, Xime turns into a cozy izakaya with many unique dishes.

Chef Nishio is bringing his own take to some classic dishes as well as bringing a totally new approach to others. He has a balanced and delicate approach to flavors.

Nishio feels that alongside the food, a mixture of cultures is the essence of Xime.

My evening at Xime started off from the house smoked pickled daikon served with cream cheese. It immediately whet my appetite — the pickled, smoky taste fitting well alongside the creaminess of the cheese. It’s a great snack to start with a glass of house infused shochu with soda. 

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Grilled sardine fish with mentaiko

I continued with the signature DIY maki set of a selection of maki toppings to make by yourself. The beautiful plate usually includes chopped salmon with cream cheese, pickled baby squid, smoked daikon with tuna and octopus with plum sauce to name just a few.

The toppings change daily with the chef trying to source the best and freshest fish. 

Another highlight was the grilled water bamboo with three toppings, showing the inventiveness of the recipes here. It came with Japanese curry, bagna cauda sauce and buta miso.

Norris says this is popular as it is not a typical izakaya dish.

Chef Nishio also emphasizes on local ingredients. Plus, the process of grilling water bamboo is something that is not typical but is in keeping with the traditions of izakaya.

For udon and soba, the beef curry udon with a mixture of spices, wine, sauteed vegetables and a mix of other ingredients is popular. 

It is the chef’s family recipe.

Xime also offers winter udon, with Shanghainese hairy crab udon being a luxurious seasonal option.

Info

Opening hours: 11am-3pm, 5:30pm-11pm

Tel: 6422-5996

Address: 1/F, The Center, 989 Changle Rd

Average price: 120 yuan

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