In Collaboration with Azul
Azul is a Latin restaurant and bar located in Shankang Li, a new F&B development at the intersection of Shaanxi Bei Lu and Kangding Lu.
Azul is the anchor venue of Shankang Li, and claims a prime spot with a fantastic outdoor seating area that overflows past its neighbor, Global Fitness, a sports apparel store.
This Azul is different—it’s completely new. The original iteration was more Spanish, but now the food is 100% Latin, it’s more modern, and more showy, but still casual. And when questioned why ceviches and pisco sours aren’t on the menu, the answer is simple: you can find those things at Colca already.
To help with execution and flair, Azul has new Group Executive Chef Willmer Colmenares on board, who also oversees Colca. The Venezuelan-native has worked in fine dining restaurants around the world and was recently the Culinary Director at CHAR and project leader for Greater China. Operations Director Angel Abadia from Spain and chef/founder Eduardo Vargas from Peru lend their expertise on fine-tuning the modern Latin concept.
Azul is currently serving dinner, but they’ll soon open for breakfast, lunch, and brunch.
The Food at Azul
Dishes are all designed to share, and there are plenty of small bites to pair with cocktails.
There are twists on classics, like the Causa Brava, which is a combination of Peruvian causa (mashed potatoes) and Spanish patatas bravas sauce.
Some are more showy, designed for the era of “camera eats first,” most obvious is the Betun de Foie, foie gras mousse made to look like shoe polish, served in a shoe shine box with bread and apple chutney. I’m not the target demographic for gimmicks like these—but I can appreciate that foie gras mousse is tasty, and the freshly made breads are excellent.
And I’ll admit, the baby potatoes coated in edible clay, served with huancaina (spicy, creamy Peruvian sauce) and guasacaca (Venezuelan herbed pepper sauce) is thoroughly enjoyable.
I find myself drawn to the comfort foods, and simple, well-executed dishes. I would order the Cheese Jalapeno Empanadas tout suite. These fist-sized corn puffs are stuffed with cheese and avocado, served with lime aioli. Simple and good, see?
There are also the classics of gambas al ajillo garlic prawns and lobster rice. More refined is the squid tagliatelle, which feature ribbons of squid in a habanero cream with peas, Iberico ham and crispy corn, as well as the perfectly-roasted barramundi fish with creamy polenta.
A signature dish at the new Azul is the tuna tartare. It’s Nikkei tuna with wasabi-lemon sour cream, served with wonton chips and seaweed. It’s a good starter to share.
My overall favorite has to be the lobster rice, also a signature dish. It’s a heaving portion of juicy rice cooked in seafood stock, enriched with prawns and mussels, and comes with either a half or whole lobster.
And here’s dessert:
The bar takes center stage, and therefore, Azul has re-upped their cocktail menu, courtesy of Kir Yue, their resident mixologist. Kir Yue also does the drinks at Colca.
They also have a diverse wine selection—organic, biodynamic and traditional—that rotates regularly. Signature cocktails from ¥58 to ¥78, wines by the glass from ¥58.
Again, some drinks are flashy—an explosion of whipped cream on the Apache and mini ice cream cones in the Purple Love. I could do without the lollipop in the Pink Lollipop, as the drink itself is enjoyable and goes down well.
If I were to pick a favorite, it would be the Tumaka, made with gin, tomato and black pepper, which is tied to my love for Bloody Marys.
Cheese Jalapeno Empanadas, Tuna Tartare, Squid Tagliatelle, Barramundi, Lobster Rice, Sugar Butterfly.
Nomfluence Readers Deal
Complimentary glass of wine or beer for Nomfluence readers when dining in. One drink per person. Valid until November 16.
Click here to book now!
Address: Bldg. 6, 358 Kangding Lu, near Shaanxi Bei Lu 康定路358号6栋101, 近陕西北路
Hours: Tue-Sun, 5pm-10:30pm