Azul's relaunch a complete culinary journey

Azul has just celebrated its 15-year anniversary by re-launching the Latin restaurant with a new chef, modern out-look and a fresh menu.

Azul scallops

Azul has just celebrated its 15-year anniversary by re- launching the Latin restaurant with a new chef, modern out-look and a fresh menu.

Azul is the brainchild of Shanghai veteran restaurateur Eduardo Vargas who has spent nearly two decades in the city’s restaurant business. His latest venue is a contemporary Peruvian eatery called Colca in Yongping Lane.

The “new” Azul interiors have been spruced up, giving the rather timeless industrial space a fresh, young and modern vibe with a splash of graffiti to the walls. Two spacious patios, with commanding views of the leafy downtown, remain unchanged and perfectly suited for an al fresco dining experience.

Azul is diversifying the food and drink offerings to include Peruvian, Spanish and Mexican influences — a complete journey of Latin flavors. This is all made possible thanks to a talented team of chefs specializing in each cuisine: Eduardo Vargas from Peru, executive chef Oscar Beltran from Spain, at both Azul and Colca, the newest member of the team, Edgar Hernandez from Mexico and chef de cuisine of Azul.

Peruvian flan

I started my new Azul experience with signature appetizers, such as venison salpicon (58 yuan) served on a green banana toston. It was a tapas-sized bite of slow-cooked venison and mashed avocado garnished with cilantro and radish, more commonly known as plantain. Green ceviche (108 yuan) is also a must-try. It is a lighter version of ceviche, with a base of cucumber and tiger’s milk, topped with basil and peppermint. It tasted milder and less zingy than the traditional ceviche, but still just as enjoyable, especially for the hot season.

I also loved the Peruvian fried chick- en (58 yuan). The chicken thigh was marinated in Peruvian herbs and spices before being battered in tapioca quinoa flour and served with rocoto aioli. It is a quintessential comfort food. Azul scallops (40 yuan/pc) were one of the favorites on my visit. Peruvian béchamel, Parmesan cheese, spinach and the yellow chili butter made the tender scallop simply delicious. New signature mains introduced include steak and foie gras (198 yuan), an indulgent serving of Wagyu flank steak M6+ with a medallion of seared foie gras.

Peruvian fried chicken

It’s drizzled over with Pedro Jimenez sherry glaze. Surf & turf tiradito (98 yuan) was a dish of premium-quality beef tenderloin joined by scallop tiradito in a chipotle aioli and Nikkei sauce.

Don’t ever leave Azul without having the star dessert — Peruvian flan (58 yuan). Chef Vargas has been serving his famous flan since he first came to Shanghai. It’s an age-old recipe from his grandmother, simple and true. The creamy smooth custard made the whole culinary journey complete.

info

Opening hours: 11am-11pm

Tel: 5405-2252

Address: 8/F, 378 Wukang Rd 

Average price: 250 yuan (US$39.01)

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