Richard Ekkebus’ Amber is one of the best French restaurants outside France. When this highly capable chef announced the opening of a restaurant in Mainland China, expectations were high. Thankfully, the 58 Grill delivers the goods.
The name of Richard Ekkebus might have made a number of people think of a haute-cuisine restaurant, but the Fifty 8 Grill is ultimately all about simple, carefully prepared classics, and of course steaks. Don’t expect sea urchins with caviar here, but rather charcuterie, boeuf bourguignon, and the likes.
There is, however, a certain similarity with Amber: The design of the crockery is very much in the line of what is used in Hong Kong. Equally, the very clear presentation of the dishes bears the signature of Ekkebus. Otherwise, however, chef Jason Oakley cooks food that is very different from Amber’s.
To begin with, the eggs en Meurette served here are some of the best we have eaten. Perfectly poached eggs, come with a concentrated, complex, and balanced red wine sauce, slices of crispy bacon that brings the smokey, meaty character to the dish. Eating this dish alone is worth the journey out to this rather remote part of Pudong.
Of the main courses, one of the standouts is the David Blackmore steak selection. This Australian farmer is one of the meat-world’s superstars and has become the supplier of choice to the world’s best chefs. His beef is some of the best wagyu-style beef raised outside of Japan, and a true delight. At the Fifty 8 Grill it is perfectly cooked, and served with caramelised onions, and side dishes that are almost unnecessary, but very good. The marbling makes this beef melt in your mouth, whilst there is enough flavour to remind you that you are eating beef, not just pure fat. It is difficult to argue with the side dishes, which are prepared just as beautifully as everything else coming out of this kitchen. As far as steak is concerned in Shanghai, this beats 1515 West and many others by a long way.
To top it all off, the desserts here are of a level of refinement, and quality that is rarely seen in steak houses. An Amber classic is the chocolate soufflé with chocolate ice cream. Oakley’s team reproduces it perfectly here: airy, intensely chocolatey, and quite simply moreish this is a dessert that must be the best in all of Shanghai.
The Fifty 8 Grill is a restaurant that shows Richard Ekkebus’ qualities as a restaurateur. It is a steak house, but one that should not be reduced to that alone. Despite the unfortunate location, we can only say that the oeufs en Meuretteand soufflé alone are worth the journey there.