Baker is Back
Larder Bar & Grill
When Mesa & Manifesto closed in the spring of 2011, displaced expats all over Shanghai mourned the loss of its modern Australian menu and second-floor terrace and lounge. Happily, chef and partner Steve Baker has announced his return to the city’s dining scene with a new internationally-influenced but distinctly antipodean solo project, Larder Bar and Grill.
Fittingly, the largely grilled and roasted menu comprises straightforward dishes, featuring a host of ingredients sourced from Down Under, including everything from the meat to the condiments. While Baker keeps it mostly simple, there are a few forays into foodie-land, with the flank steak accompanied by a rich bone marrow crumble, and pork chops served with an unexpected side of black pudding. Sambal sardines on toast and salt cod brandade (amongst a handful of others) represent the Mediterranean and Asian menu inflections, while desserts and drinks toe the line of ‘classic with a twist’ fairly seamlessly, bubble milk tea panna cotta and the Filthy Martini (with anchovy-stuffed olives) taking most contemporary honours. A buzzing open kitchen and homely leather and wood interior ensure a constant, comfortable hum, helping to achieve Baker’s ideal of recreating a dinner party at his own home. The Fabulous Baker boy is back!