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This Creole newcomer has gone all-out to establish an otherwise under-represented cuisine in Shanghai. Originating from the U.S.'s southern Gulf Coast, Creole cuisine has French, African and Caribbean influences, and a splash of Spanish thrown in for good measure.

Nothing speaks more to this than the classic Louisiana gumbo, combining a long-simmered stock, fresh okra and chunks of meat or seafood, with piquant spices and bay leaves over rice. The Boiler SKC’s signature lamb gumbo (RMB80) takes this one step further by serving it over fettuccini pasta. It delivers a smooth blend of mildly spicy flavors, which perhaps belie the cacophony of ingredients within. We were left less than awestruck but definitely satisfied.

Behind the wide kitchen bar sits a dozen or so of The Boiler SKC’s steam kettle cookers, each acting as a high-temperature cooking pot for a single serving. A bowl of pan rice with seafood (RMB128) came to the table piping hot. After cooling for a few minutes, a sultry, paella-like rice with shellfish and a creamy, almost Cajun-style sauce emerged.

Elsewhere, the menu is pale in comparison to the main events. A bowl of deep fried soft shell crab (RMB45) was crispy but not flavorful enough. The main dishes are definitely the right place to focus.

In this new Hongqiao development, The Boiler SKC is rubbing shoulder with big names like Outback Steakhouse and Boxing Cat Brewery. But with an unfinished shopping mall surrounding the restaurant, weekday evenings are going to be slow. For now, they’re trying everything to attract customers, but perhaps those life-size statues of superheroes are taking the gimmick a step too far.

  • The Boiler SKC
  • 021 6237-1231

  • Unit 104, Fengshang Street, 122 Zunyi Lu (near Ziyun Xi Lu) [map]
  • 遵义路122号丰尚街L104 (近紫云西路)

  • American
  • ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
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