Da Vittorio arrives in Shanghai. Excellent from the start

After Brusaporto and Sankt Moritz, the Cerea family has opened in China. Our report on the protagonists and the dishes

06-08-2019
The team of Da Vittorio Shanghai, which opened a

The team of Da Vittorio Shanghai, which opened a few weeks ago in Bund. In the middle, Chicco Cerea, and to his right resident chef Stefano Bacchelli

It’s Identità Golose’s fault. In the opening of Da Vittorio Shanghai there’s our input and of course that of chef Stefano Bacchelli. Now 32, as sound as the marble from Carrara, where he was born, in 2009 Stefano was looking for the perfect recipe for his future. A past working in Tuscany and then on the Cote d’Azur, learning about France, Stefano wanted to return to his Tuscany: “Italy was my goal, but I wanted to work with a mentor-chef or a restaurant that would leave a strong mark in our great cuisine”.

So he chose Da Vittorio. “I didn’t know any of the Cerea brothers, but in 2009 I found out that Bobo (aka Roberto Cerea) was at the Identità Golose Congress, already in the Fiera”, Stefano recalls. “After his talk, Bobo was surrounded by colleagues, fans and spectators and I patiently waited to introduce myself. When my turn arrived, Roberto was very kind: he gave me an appointment for a few days later, in Brusaporto”. Another few weeks, and Bacchelli was working at the restaurant.

Seven years went by in the valley of Bergamo between the town itself and Lake Iseo, starting from that first exceptional result (3 stars, in 2010). Then, since 2016, two more years at the helm of Da Vittorio in Sankt Moritz and now, since June 8th (the luckiest number in Chinese culture, just think that the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 started on the 8th day of the 8th month at 8.08!), the chef opened the third Da Vittorio in the world, a place that raises Italy’s ambitions in China, after the shining results of pioneer Umberto Bombana (a total of 5 stars between Hong Kong and Shanghai) and the most recent star with Niko Romito at Bulgari.

In the middle, Bobo Cerea and Stefano Bacchelli

In the middle, Bobo Cerea and Stefano Bacchelli

The dining room

The dining room

The private dining room

The private dining room

The open view kitchen

The open view kitchen

They’ve employed a remarkable staff: 30 people in the kitchen, 25 in the dining room, of whom 5 “imported” from Brusaporto (including the excellent dining room manager Enrico Guarnieri and reception manager Anna Rota), for 70 guests when full. The restaurant is a sober but very elegant place in the recent southern expansion of Bund, in front of the skyline of the 3 huge towers of Pudong (including the Shanghai Tower, the second tallest building in the world). Even the equipment is imposing: the steel stoves and worktops from Marrone, custom-made and imported from Pordenone, are the heart of the open view kitchen; in the dining room, instead, the clean white colour of tablecloths and décor is broken by the scattered brass chandeliers which resemble some modern, Mediterranean weeping willows.

Of course, the cuisine is also Mediterranean, and like in Brusaporto it is strongly based on fish. At Da Vittorio Shanghai you can appreciate à la carte many of the signature dishes form the Italian flagship restaurant (the same as the great dishes for the 50th anniversary of Chicco and Bobo Cerea’s history, whenever the ingredients are available), enriched by two seasonal tasting menus: right now, there’s a menu dedicated to truffle (black from Australia and white as soon as it will be possible to have it from Italy, the price of the 6-courses excluding wines is 1988 rmb) and one based on crustaceans (1388 rmb excluding wines).

And it is following this exceptional tradition that started over 50 years ago with dad Vittorio that today, by the Huangpu River, we can taste classics like Ciliegino di foie gras and chocolate with coating of cherry jelly (the foie gras is local, but excellent, as China has a very long tradition producing this dish) or Guacamole with gelatine of tomato water which in this Chinese version, given also the African temperatures, was freshened up with some lime juice.

Tuna Spaghetti 

Tuna Spaghetti 

Guacamole

Guacamole

Risotto with cream of onion 

Risotto with cream of onion 

Cod with lettuce and 'nduja

Cod with lettuce and 'nduja

The stone mile of Risotto with cream of smoked onion, mousse of fish, red scampi and yellow tomato marmalade is a dish that perhaps is not beautiful aesthetically, unlike the others, but is a triumph of flavours and has a strong reference to the culture of the plains in Lombardy. As for the fish, the Tuna spaghetti with bagna caoda (the tuna here comes from Japan, while in Italy it comes from Spain), or even the Shabu shabu with peach granita and glassé spheres of lime, and the gigantic Hokkaido scallops with Bearnaise sauce and white asparagus with puffed quinoa are truly great. Finally, another classic from Brusaporto: Cod with clam salad, covered with lettuce stir fried with 'nduja.

During the first three weeks of life, the restaurant has always been full. A new hit in the town’s gastronomic scene. What’s surprising is not only the great cuisine, but the service too: it’s excellent, which is unusual for a restaurant, even if a big one, that has opened only recently in a place like China where soft skills are hard to refine. If this is the premise, there’s lots of satisfaction awaiting the Cereafamily. Who in 2020 plans to open in Macao as well.  

Express cannoli 

Express cannoli 

Maître Enrico Guarneri

Maître Enrico Guarneri

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Pralines in icing sugar 

Pralines in icing sugar 

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso

Da Vittorio Shanghai
third floor, building N3
600 Zhongshan Road East No.2
Shanghai, China
Tasting menu: 1988 rmb (black truffle), 1388 rmb (In the tradition of Vittorio)
Average prices: starters 468, first courses 400, main courses 600 rmb


Sections

China Grill

Tasty reports from China and the Far East from our collaborator Claudio Grillenzoni