As one of the hottest malls in China, IAMP has a precedent of strong mall-restaurants to live up to. Enmaru certainly looks the part but aside from a couple of strong dishes, falls short of delivering a category winning meal.
Visually impressive like a pristine izakaya dream, an expansive grill and sushi counter grace the entrance with a fleet of chirpy wait staff stationed next to it. With a sheltered booth and glass of chilled Kirin beer topped with a frozen foam head (RMB30), we were settling in comfortably for the meal.
A creamy but average house special potato salad (RMB48) followed a great infinity sushi roll (RMB188) (pictured in the headline photo). Served as one long scroll and topped with a tapestry of eel, urchin, tuna, snapper and salmon sashimi, it's simply delicious from start to finish. We were almost ready to declare the new king of Japanese food right here.
However, Shanghai is brimming with Japanese food royalty and it takes more than phenomenally cold beer and an excellent sushi roll to seal the deal. Where Enmaru gains in style, it loses in authenticity. A cold tofu salad (RMB64) is tasty but the leaves and dressing complicate the clean, simple flavors we were looking for. Teppanyaki slices of boneless Australian rib steaks (RMB138) feel too plump and overly dressed.
Ultimately, Enmaru is too expensive to take the crown. But for a couple of strong dishes following an afternoon of walking IAPM’s floors, Enmaru has the answer.