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January 17, 2021

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Ottimo offers wine, food with Mediterranean soul

BISTROS delivering an excellent wine list selection are a hot trend these days.

Within the last year, several newly opened Shanghai establishments have proved successful because of a passionate team of wine advocates. Soif, for example, is one of them. The classy joint has injected some fun into the quieter stretch of Wuding Road and is keen to share an appreciation of wines made without chemicals.

Bar a Vin, owned by a sommelier on Jiashan Road, is another boasting an impressive wine section from different regions, while Blaz, a new project by Simon Briens, provides a modern French menu with more than 200 wine references.

Ottimo, a new restaurant tucked inside the street-front building of Yongjia Court, has joined the trend. For thousands of years wine has been one of humanity’s greatest pleasures, but never before have there been so many good wines available. And Ottimo’s sommelier team has made big strides to pick out different wines — each bottle has its own character.

Famous wineries and boutique producers are both available, including Burno Giacosa, Roagna from Piemonte; Opus One from the Napa Valley; Ornellaia from Tuscany and Lungarotti from Umbria. The dining space is decorated with simplicity in mind and it features mostly wooden touches with plants dotted around the place. Wines and food with a Mediterranean soul is what Ottimo is all about.

For those wanting a casual dinner with two glasses in mind, Ottimo offers several choices for wine by the glass.

They keep changing the by-glass offering therefore offering diners an opportunity to try out new wines on a regular basis.

With abundant seafood on the menu, I picked two white wines from Burgundy and Loire Valley to pair with the food. My dinner kicked off with sea whelk (68 yuan/6 pc) and shrimp toast (78 yuan). It was a bit salty but they explained most customers prefer the food with stronger taste. There are quite a few raw seafood options like freshly shucked oysters and New Zealand scampi. Customers can continue a seafood indulgence by picking their mains, including mussels with sake, lime leaves and ginger and the fish stew. The whole turbot fish cooked inside a Staub cast iron cocotte with tomato-based sauce ensured a Mediterranean experience. It was comforting winter dish I liked best of all.


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