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All the best flavors of Spain

By Yang Yijun (China Daily)

10:44, June 12, 2012

Pork ribs. Provided to China Daily

The popular Spanish restaurant Azul, launched on Dongping Road in 2003, has taken up its new residence at Ferguson Lane on Wukang Road.

Besides picking up the most popular items such as the osso bucco from the original Azul, the upgraded Azul Tapas Lounge has added an eclectic mix of authentic Mediterranean dishes from southern Italy, as well as France, Spain, Greece and Morocco.

Eduardo Vargas, one of the most well-known chefs in Shanghai, is behind the menu, recipes and all operations. The chef de cuisine, Gabriel Rodriguez, has previously worked in the Cordon Bleu in Paris, Arzak and El Bulli in Spain, BLT and Nobu in New York City.

To test a Spanish restaurant, seafood paella is a must-try.

Here, the squid-ink rice is cooked just to the right point - the rice at the bottom of the pan has turned into crispy soccarat. From the rice, you can also sense the fresh scallop, lobster, squid and the unique fragrance of saffron crocus.

The restaurant offers tasty Italian rice, too. The creamy risotto is well balanced with the strong flavor of lamb and a slightly sweet taste of sun-dried tomatoes. Truffles enhance the aftertaste.

The lamb kleftiko is another impressive dish. The lamb is slow-cooked for 20 hours with potatoes, garlic, oregano and lemon, though it would be better if the lamb could be juicier.

Other recommended courses include Latino table, which is made of beef empanadas, Latin bruschetta, tequila cured salmon tostadas and citrus barbecue pork; Eduardo's fish ceviche with sweet potato, corn and chilies, and chicken relleno with Spanish ham and spinach.

The menu also features more than 30 tapas and a wine list that consists of 60 wines. Twenty of the wines are available for less than 200 yuan ($31).

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