Coquille is French Vietnamese Seafood restaurant opened by John Liu, who also opened the popular Scarpetta. Coquille has the ambiance of a French Bistro, with the cool throwback black and white mosaic tiles and couple of romantic sidewalk tables in the interior facade.
It has been said the top 3 reasons for a restaurant’s success is 1. Location, 2. Location, and 3. Location. Yet, Liu has single handedly put Mengzi Rd. as one of the finer restaurant streets in Shanghai, with Scarpetta and now Coquille. Mengzi Road, is not exactly smack dab in the idyllic Former French Concession, or the historic Bund, or the bustling Xintiandi area. Liu has assembled a nice dream team, led by chef Anna Bautista and GM Christoffer Backman, to first take Scarpetta to the next step and develop & open Coquille.
Backman, responsible for the emergence of the Bund’s Waldorf Long Bar, put together a collection of Gins and unique tonics. Among the artisanal gins were Monkey 47, Pink Gin, Sipsmith, and Botanist. As a G & T man myself, I found myself leaning towards the Pink Gin. Fortunately, they don’t necessarily serve the canned tonics, which is replaced with craft tonics like Thomas Henry and if you’re lucky Fever-Tree Tonic. But I don’t suggest having a G & T, unless you’re a serious thirsty drinker, like myself.
Bautista’s work with seafood is amazing with the fine ingredients. The Smoked Yellowtail (178 RMB) and Foie Gras Au Torchon (158 RMB) were our party’s favorites. But I’d side with Bautista’s land dishes of Crispy Duck Leg Confit with Pork Crackling (218 RMB) and Grilled Black Pork Chop 1kg (428 RMB) as the exceptional standouts. Bautista is the only Michelin Star rated Chef in Shanghai. I also enjoyed the Crab Roe Garlic Noodles (88 RMB), as almost a tribute to the famed Garlic Noodles from the Beverly Hill’s Crustacean.