29 Dongping Lu
/ +86 21 6475 7735
/ 10am-11pm daily
Taste of Xinjiang
Although there exist a handful of Shanghai restaurants where one can find the lesser-known Xinjiang cuisine, these hearty north-western regional delights are well on their way to becoming the dishes du jour with the arrival of hip Spice Bazaar on Dongping Lu (and from the team behind fish n’ chip shack Sailors). Doing away with the elaborate traditional décor and outdoor kebab grill commonly found outside Xinjiang eateries, the thoroughly modern Spice Bazaar instead reads ‘rustic, candlelit-chic’ with weathered wood floors, exposed brick and ductwork, and high-top metal stools lining the bar.
The menu, too, is a pared down version of the more kitsch, photo-heavy sort you’d normally find elsewhere, but the assertive flavours harken closer to the bold and spicy fare you would find in the province itself. Various cuts and cooks of lamb feature throughout, with skewers coming doused in cumin and chili flakes, while the signature braised lamb has tender chunks sitting atop a bed of Uyghur bread and chilli gravy. Elsewhere on the menu there’s fresh mint salad and Xinjiang-style pilaf, but don’t miss SB’s take on dapanji (slow-cooked spicy chicken stew). In the way of drink, there is of course the regional Sinkiang Black, but SB further sets itself apart with a concise list of imported beers. Now, cue Shanghai’s Xinjiang renaissance…