THe menu of the newly opened Raw Eatery & Wood Grill on Yanping road comes with some surprises.
This cozy and cheerful food bar has all the elements a good laid-back neighborhood restaurant would need: high-quality food, delightful cocktails, considerate service and pleasant ambience.
The simple menu is crafted by chef Juan Campos and combines Spanish and South american cuisines. The dishes are very real, highlighting the natural flavors of the ingredients.
I started with the Chilean Wagyu beef tartare with smoked egg yolk (128 yuan, US$20), which is served with crispy bread and a generous serving of french fries. Served in customized tin jars, this dish with a hint of smoky flavor from the egg definitely justifies the price.
Chilean Wagyu beef tartare with smoked egg yolk
Another warm starter is egg 63° (78 yuan), which is a slow-cooked egg with running yolk served with boletus, chanterelle and shiitake mushrooms with sprinkles of Iberico ham crumbs.
The dish was interesting and rich in flavor, and egg lovers should not miss it. I also think this dish would be great for brunch.
Campos does the grilling in his “Josper” charcoal oven, which he was very kind to show me in the kitchen. The oven makes the hottest indoor barbecue and grilling possible, and the sealed compartment also ensures the no flavors escape.
I tried two main dishes that were cooked in this oven: the homemade teriyaki yellowtail with grilled pineapple, green chili and broccoli (278 yuan for two to share) and the grilled asparagus with black truffle and almond crusted fried egg (78 yuan).
The fish was served in a large square tray and I liked the grilled pineapple that balances the bold flavors of the teriyaki sauce. The grilled asparagus was quite tender and the fried egg with running yolk made the sauce more delicious.
There are a few grilled steak dishes on the menu as well, including the not so common dry aged bone-in ribeye and strip loin.
For dessert, I had the light rice pudding with chocolate and strawberry.
Raw has a short list of cocktails. The sangria (60 yuan) is a must try if you are into fruity drinks. Unlike most sangrias made with red wine, this house special was made with white wine, apples, oranges and lemons — a very summery sangria on the light side.
The aperol sour was also nicely made, chilled with a large ice rock that melted very slowly.
The complimentary artisan bread served before the meal was paired with a house-made seaweed and garlic butter, a salty and appetizing spread.