Several newly opened restaurants and bars have
been drawing us to the northern reaches of Jing’an District. The Bull
& Claw is a pleasant addition to the dining and drinking scene in
the area with its straightforward concept aiming to simply offer the
best steak, lobster and craft beer in the city.
“Our motto is ‘do it right’ so we bring our guests the three things
we love most and do them right, at an affordable price,” said Hardeep
Somal, partner and head chef of The Bull & Claw. Somal is also the
executive chef of the Camel Group, which is responsible for a growing
collection of bars and dining outposts around the city, including The
Camel Bar, Sliders and El Luchador.
The Bull & Claw is their most upscale venture to date. In an
ample dining space with 85 seats, guests can savor live lobsters flown
in daily from Nova Scotia, Canada, premium Australian steaks and 18
craft beers on tap.
Born and raised in London, Somal explained that the concept is
inspired by London’s ultra-popular chain Burger & Lobster that
offers only three items on the menu.
“However, our menu revolves around our two main ingredients presented
in quite an extensive variety of styles, as I believe Shanghai is not
ready for an ultra simple menu concept yet,” he said.
Since opening in June, over 2,000 live lobsters have been brought to
the kitchen, kept in live display tanks and then prepared either
steamed, char-grilled or thermidor (cooked with cream, brandy, onions
and garlic and topped with mild cheddar cheese) depending on diners’
“Boston Maine lobsters are well-known worldwide, however I believe
Canadian ones are better quality, with more meaty tails and smaller
claws,” Somal said. For lobster lovers, there’s also a thermidor Caesar
salad (148 yuan/ US$23.2), lobster bisque (68 yuan) and lobster sandwich
(148 yuan). The lobster bisque requires some effort to make but The
Bull & Claw’s version is superb, capturing the true essence of
lobster with a slightly sweet complexity.
The highlight of the menu is the half lobster & 250-gram veal
fillet (378 yuan). Some people prefer the lobster steamed retaining the
original delicate taste, while the char-grilled version has a slightly
smoky, charred flavor that adds a deliciously savory element. The baby
veal fillet is also exceptionally tender.
They have selected beers with a story, encouraging people to stop and
appreciate how they were made and what ingredients have been used in
the brewing process. Cider Republic (60 yuan) is one of the signatures.
Brewed in Shandong Province from dessert apples, it has a crisp taste
that sets it apart from mass-produced ciders.
The Bull & Claw has a welcoming, homely feel, inviting guests to
slow down and enjoy a break from the hectic pace of Shanghai. A lot of
green has been used in the design, including an impressive living plant
wall. They’ve also mixed in soft, deep-red leather on the comfortable
chairs and added a rustic touch with century-old floorboards salvaged
from Shanghai lane houses.
In coming months, a selection of set lunches and a weekend brunch
menu will be introduced. Expect a continuation of the lobster theme
complemented by an oyster and Champagne buffet.