Designer tiles, jovial service and a plate of honest food are the hallmarks of a modern Scandinavian café and EQ has all three in abundance. From behind a pristine glass counter, the Danish owners of this newcomer to the Super Brand Mall serve up a changing menu of marketing heavy ‘life balancing’ bites with a smile on their faces.
That they’re two floors underground in one of China’s most infamous mega-malls and not in some leafy European neighbourhood doesn’t seem to phase them. Equilibrium belongs to the current renaissance of the Shanghai food-court where sourcing and presentation are the meal definers and needs to be written on every surface to bang the message home. Indeed everything looks impulsively delicious behind the counter from the leafy colourful sandwiches (¥53-58) to more involved mains like a simply plated and wholly invigorating duck leg with red cabbage, bacon and hazlenuts (¥69).
Local city workers and discerning shoppers come here for two things in particular though; salads and meatballs. ¥49/¥59 (small/large) is enough to buy a selection of EQs freshly prepared, light but feature-rich salad delights. A chicken, couscous and peppers concoction served with lemon Tzatziki has summer inside every delicious mouthful. Warming too, is an artichoke, risoni and broad bean affair – and hearty.
Save room though for the aforementioned meatballs. Served from the ‘pork station’ in a ciabatta bun with mustard and red cabbage (¥58) they’re a Danish smile from ear to ear. High fives all round. Mall food is back in business.