Shanghai Restaurant Review: Oha

The Place

Sharing plates and gastrolounges were a MVP’s of Shanghai dining for a past integrate of years, though a seismic change is underfoot, judging by a flurry of ‘contemporary izakaya’ restaurants that have opened. Like final month’s prohibited ticket, Jeju Izakaya, Oha is also a bar-side eatery, owned by a same folks as Bar No 3. It’s tangible by an ever-shifting menu of tiny plates focusing on internal ingredients, a libation module on equal balance with a kitchen, and many definitively, a bar-like setting. 

Similar to a Japanese izakayas from that they are inspired, a arise of these Lilliputian eateries are a product of let spikes in an increasingly FB jam-packed Shanghai, that has forced restaurateurs to rethink a required grill format into petite downtown spaces. 

The Food

Our initial Oha revisit yielded a menu of Guizhou-influenced dishes from a ardent immature cook innate of a southwesterly province. Among a standouts was a crafty reimagining of one of a region’s specialties, lazi ji (森林风格辣子鸡, ‘mountain-style’ chili chicken, RMB62), that sees dual deep-fried duck thighs nestled with roasted baby potatoes, garlic, konjac root, earthy, roasted chili salsa and uninformed tarragon.   

A stew of pinewood smoked kidney beans and pig (RMB58), is robust and packaged with flavor, interjection to doorstep-thick crowd air-dried bacon, tasty minced pig balls and squashy tofu that soaks adult a sauce.  

Couple it with ‘lard rice’ (猪油哨饭, RMB20) steamed rice surfaced with crunchy, rendered pig chop and melted fat, for a stately xiafan (‘rice downing’) experience. 

We titillate anyone who customarily swerves preserved century eggs to try Oha’s, that sees a much-maligned sweetmeat puréed and surfaced with burned bell peppers (RMB22), stealing their frightful coming though not flavor. 

It really needs bread, or during slightest some of a toasted mantou bun that creates adult a air-dried pig belly, green and sharp plight ‘mini burger’ (RMB28).

The peculiarity of these dishes prevailed on revisit two, by that time Oha’s executive chef, Blake Thornley, was in a kitchen. Thornley, a inhabitant finalist in a Australian Young Chef competition, is a visitor to Shanghai, carrying come from distinguished Bali grill Mosaic.

It’s apparent that of Oha’s dishes go to him. Though they too make use of internal ingredients, they bear a memorable symbol of a exemplary French education. Rillettes, for example, fashioned from a locally-sourced sharp smoked pork, and served with grilled mantou slices, fermented chilies and honeyed preserved carrots.

Among Thornley’s biggest successes were decently charred shrimps, batons of smoked tofu tempura, kindly pale Chinese kale and, in a curtsy to his Indonesian tenure, crumbled tempeh (deep-fried fermented soybeans, RMB92). 

Seared sea drum fillets (RMB110) with preserved carrots and pomelo purée (rind included) serve demonstrated a daredevil proceed to season pairing. This ingenious, and apparently difficult salsa was a ideal betterment for a fish: subtly sweet, floral and zesty. 


Charcoal-grilled beef tongue slices layered with watermelon radish slices and leeks was both pleasing and tasty (RMB38).

Not all plate is stellar, though zero was regrettable. Grilled calamari, boiled tofu skin with ‘meat,’ crispy dates with a distant too honeyed chocolate sauce, cauliflower and celery leaves, and crispy potato cake were partially unremarkable.  

Food verdict: 2.5/3  

The Vibe

As we can tell, we’re fans of Oha, though there’s no denying it’s a Marmite restaurant: you’ll possibly adore it (as 3 of the celebration did) or, like one of the party, find it distant too complicated. If you’re calm with large portions and easier ingredients, give Oha a miss, though if penetrating on saying where this somewhat furious examination with Chinese flavors and dual clearly ardent chefs will go, report a revisit ASAP.

Vibe verdict: 1.5/2

Total Verdict: 4/5

Price: RMB200-350 per person

Who’s going: locals and expats

Good for: curious eaters, dates, healthy wines

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