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Shanghai: 3.Top here to satay
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Soak up some natural ambience this summer from the comfort of new fusion restaurant and wine bar 3. Top, the backyard of which spills into Xiangyang Park.

The restaurant's interior dcor is homely and in the style of a modern open-space villa, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and a ledge on the second floor that affords a view of the dining area below.

To broaden the place out, the walls of the back wine bar have been pushed back some 40 cm to make room for a narrowing that holds a stream. The stream runs out to the relaxing patio with its white throw cushions atop wooden benches and a handful of low stools.

The trendy cuisine also matches the restaurant's modern look. While Southeast Asian flavors dominate the menu, its selection includes fusion dishes from across Asia, including Chinese, Japanese and Indian. Korean will be added soon.

To ensure a variety of authentic cooking styles, Singaporian owner Sean Koo (a former partner at Jing'an Temple's Bali Laguna) has hired chefs from Thailand and India to work under Chinese head chef Hu Junfeng.

Warm up your Southeast Asian palette with the assorted platter (128 yuan). Comprising pork slices, Malay satay, Thai fishcakes and seafood sticks - deep-fried squid paste rolled in rice paper - it is an ideal starter for a hungry couple.

The most appetizing of the starter is the thinly sliced pork, drawn from the neck of the pig, marinated, cooked to perfection and lightly peppered in smashed bits of crispy rice noodles. For those who want more, try the sweet-and-sour Thai fish sauce.

For fusion food at its best, check out the cold goose liver with Chinese mixed greens (88 yuan). Topped with salmon roe, the melt-in-your-mouth dabs of liver and virgin-light dressing made from Japanese soybean paste and sesame oil make this salad a summertime pleasure.

The Thai braised shark's fin soup (88 yuan) is another savory classic, and none too oily. Using chicken broth as its base, slivers of shark's fin and small pieces of chicken and crab meat are added and then boiled for up to six hours.

For a more salty and spicy flavor, the Singaporian-style live crab (138 yuan) in black peppercorn sauce is a good option. It is first dunked in oil and black pepper, with a splash of soy sauce, sugar and salt, then wrapped in a banana leaf and baked for one hour.

The gorgeous lady (32 yuan) is a refreshing thirst quencher. Also a healthy, non-alcoholic choice, the freshly-squeezed watermelon juice is topped off with some papaya and aloe, making this a welcome variation on the plain-old watermelon extract.

In the heart of the French Concession amid the boutique shopping paradise of Xinle Road, the restaurant provides a cool, clean environment for dinner with friends under fashionably low lighting.

Head to the wine bar afterwards to kick start your night in the company of some imported wine (35 to 45 yuan per glass) before moving elsewhere to party into the early morning.

3. Top

47 Xinle Road


(China Daily August 10, 2009)

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