Appreciated by both tourists and locals, T8 serves a playful combination of Asian food prepared by modern Western techniques. As part of the upscale Xintiandi neighbourhood, it symbolises how a fast-moving city as Shanghai leads to new types of dishes by blending ingredients and styles from all over the world.
Set in a traditional Chinese stone-gate house, the restaurant has a rather dark interior where old meets new through a mix of glass, metal and wood. On the ground floor there is an open kitchen whereas the upper floor is more of a lounge area with wooden tables and large couches. In this stylish interior, guests can choose from a set menu or eat à la carte with plenty of dishes meant to be shared. The set menu usually has five or more courses and is changed every couple of weeks, depending on the seasons and special events held in town. During the last Formula One Grand Prix, Chef Servalls developed a special seven course menu where each dish was named after – and based on the preferences of – famous race pilots. At lunch time, there is a sharply priced four course business lunch.
The man behind this fusion kitchen is Executive Chef Jordi Servalls, born and raised in Sant Fruitós de Bages, Catalunia. Having received his training at top restaurants such as El Bulli, El Celler de Can Roca and Restaurant Lluçanès, it is his intention to bring a more eclectic style which can not directly be put in one corner. This is clearly visible on the plate where Chef Servalls seamlessly combines traditional French food and modern gastronomic techniques with Chinese and Japanese ingredients. The result is a fairly playful kitchen where colours and textures are just as important as the ingredients used. For example, he uses black sesame paste and coloured potato to imitate a moon landscape or dresses a classic king prawn with crunchy olive oil and pastis sauce. Both are subtle preparations that are not necessarily mind-blowing but very pleasing nonetheless.
To match this wide variety of tastes with the right glass, Head Sommelier Johney Gao serves a wine pairing for each set menu and otherwise carefully advises the guests from a broad collection of international wines. No gimmicks or focus on fancy names, only the right taste to match the combinations of Chef Servalls.
All things considered, T8 is one of Shanghai’s finest to enjoy fusion kitchen. A perfect example of how different origins and styles can create tasty new combinations.
Written by Sebastiaan