Why one would name a restaurant after facial hair is beyond us. We're not sure we understand the idea behind the logo either, a mustachioed egg wearing a tutu. All we can say is look past these mysteries and give Miss Mustache a try, because the quality is there and for real cheap.
Operated by the same team behind Spanish restaurant Mustache on Julu Lu, this new eatery is part of the Fengsheng Li complex, where you'll find Goose Island and the soon-to-open White Castle. Like the original location, Miss Mustache does Spanish standards, but the space is an upgrade. Rather than a stuffy and confining labyryinth of little rooms, it's an open and airy floorplan.
An average check for dinner here is around RMB150, which is a steal compared to the competition. This is because they source locally, making it possible to charge only RMB88 for a pan of Seafood Rice— and that's among the most expensive dishes on the menu. Does this paella transport you to the shores of Valencia, well, not exactly. Naysayers may impugn this dish's "authenticity," but Miss Mustache makes up for the shortcoming with gobs of seafood, like green lip mussels, diced squid, prawns, fresh clams and sausage. Throw in a couple of tapas for appetizers, and you’ve got a surprisingly affordable dinner.
They do callos here, too. Look for it on the menu as Braised Beef Tripe (RMB34). It's Madrid-style tomato-based stew perfumed with garlic and paprika and loaded with tender chunks of beef tripe and buttery soft chick peas. It lacks the punch we look for in a dish like this. Smoky, spicy chorizo would be a welcome addition. Still, it’s far from dull. And it only costs 34 kuai!
Other tapas worth a look include their Confit Octopus (RMB32) and the Gambas A Pil Pil (RMB38). The octopus is suitably tender, dashed with paprika and sea salt. The plump shrimp in garlic-infused oil begs for bread to dip. They also serve sardines and olives. Those, of course, are imported.
Even the more unconventional tapas impress, like the Cheese Baked Argentina Red Prawn (RMB22/piece). The flesh is diced and baked, blanketed with three kinds of cheese. It’s rich and generous.
For dessert, Churros (RMB24) dusted in cinnamon sugar is a light and satisfying finish.
Adding to all of of this is prompt and polite service, a rarity in this city. Sometimes you want pitch-perfect, "authentic" Spanish cuisine. You can get pretty close that in Shanghai, and it will cost you. But if all you can tolerate Spanish-ish food of decent quality and a reasonable price, Miss Mustache more than delivers.
Our Rating: 4/5 Stars
What: Miss Mustache
Address: 223 Maoming Bei Lu (near Weihai Lu) 茂名北路223号 (近威海路)
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