Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: October 2020

By Sophie Steiner, October 26, 2020

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Everyone came back from Golden Week ready to to eat, and the F&B industry responded with open arms. The time off gave a number of restaurants an opportunity to revamp existing menus, release new ones and, in some cases, open new venues. We are entering fall saying goodbye to a few Shanghai favorites, but simultaneously welcoming in more to fill their spots. 

First up, the entire world seemed to open up over on Kangding Lu / Shanxi Nan Lu in the new Shankang Li Complex. With RIINKHomeslice and Alimentari Grill flinging their doors open first in the end of August and beginning of September, a wave of others – like Tap HouseGin & JuicePudao WinesBubba's and the newly opened and better-than-ever Azul – quickly following suit.

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Moving a bit south, straight out of Flushing, New York (well, not really, but that's what the sign says) and coming at you from Charles Zeng, the Charles behind Charlie's, is the hyper meta Lucky You Cafe, an American Chinese diner – in China – with all the knock-off Canto favorites like General Tsao's Chicken, Beef and Broccolli and Orange Chicken, as well as roasted meats (think char siu, soy sauce chicken and roasted duck and goose), plus a few dim sum heavy hitters. If you've been holding out for Fortune Cookie to return for the last four years, this might just be the answer to your calling. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Around the corner, carbo loading has never been easier (nor more delicious) since Julu Lu's new bakery Dosage opened in mid-September. Pair signature Madeleines with an expertly curated wine list, or just load up on that baker's dozen of cinnamon buns and other rotating baked goods and daily cakes – it is sweater season after all. 

Hakkasan reopened on the Bund for all your favorite high-end Canto needs (bonus, it's now serving up daily lunch with a new and improved dinner menu too), and just up the road the restaurant and bar at Ce La Vi is bumping once again, while the nightclub will be bringing the party back to the Waitan soon. 

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Image courtesy of Graeme Kennedy

La Baracca, brought to us by The Camel Group, is an Italian osteria on the now cafe-filled Yongkang Lu. They've got everything from grab-and-go pastries and Yunnan-sourced coffee beverages in the morning to a full menu of pizzas, charcuterie boards and salads for lunch and dinner. Not to mention, a stellar lineup of 16 spritzes to choose from for just RMB50. Hello round-the-clock Happy Hour. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

For all the winos out there, Atto Primo just opened a new, private room within the restaurant that houses over 250 carefully selected Old and New World labels with tasting and wine pairing menus to come soon. Similarly, Bird just installed a new walk-in wine cooler that is soon to become our second home. 

Tim Ho Wan, a once-small owned dim sum joint hailing from Hong Kong, but now with dozens of stores around the globe, opened its first location in mainland China last month, right in the Jing'an Kerry Center. The plan is to open about a hundred more across China in the next few years, since that's what we all need – more dim sum chain restaurants. 

In boozy news, from Cross Yu (Epic), Shanghai's very own Bartender of the Year (named last year at Drink Magazine's DMBA awards) comes a new concept. Glory – a multi-level cocktail bar, gastro lounge and event space all in one, supplemented by coffee, alcohol, food and music. Soft opening will officially kick off in two weeks with a grand opening in November.

Bandit, a three-story villa in Jing'an (are you following the trend here) opened just before Golden Week as a restaurant, cocktail bar and lounge with multiple bars and an outdoor terrace. Owned by the BIBIMI Group (Bites & Brews, Barbarian, Hot Chick, Solana, Nomad and MANIA), this is not your average cafe. 

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Image courtesy of The Blending Room

The Blending Room, a partnership between High Class Spirits Co. (the creators of 白8 Baijiu) and Pudao Wines, launched its first round of interactive two-hour classes, an opportunity to enjoy an all-encompassing spirits making experience, from distilling to blending to bottling. Lookout for an updated November class schedule and for 白8 Baijiu at your favorite bars around town. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

In other liquor news, Shanghai saw the opening of its first mezcaleria in the form of Espíritu, tucked away down a short alley off of Yongjia Lu. Sip on a mezcal sampler or opt for a mezcal-based cocktail. Either way, agave spirits are all you'll find there, for a quick trip down Mexico way without actually leaving Shanghai city limits. 

Look out for Chris Zhu's (formerly of Bird + Bitter) newest project, Blaz, a canteen and wine bar set to soft open this weekend in the old elEFANTE space on Donghu Lu. If his recent popups are any indication of what's to come, we will be bringing our stretchy pants. 

WechatIMG1.jpegImage by Sophie Steiner/That's

Future Food Studio, by Eat Just, launched this month in the Jing'an Kerry Center Piazza, featuring all plant-based recipes, with JUST Egg as the highlighted ingredient in all dishes. They have been offering free cooking classes by reservation only (with limited spots) during the month of October, with classes taught by Shanghai-famous chefs like Jamie Pea (Egg, Maiya), Jonathan He (Bird), Brian Tan (Gourmet Library) and many others. 

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Stream Concepts is a new popup space at the entrance of the Shanghai Center with rotating alcohol brands using the space for 4-6 weeks at a time. Currently, Vedett beers are the name of the game through November 8, with another concept (hopefully a big name drinks brand that we can't quite yet say) coming in for four weeks starting on November 18. 

Speaking of popups, Peddlers officially has a full-time home through the end of the year in front of X Bar (previously The Parrot) on Donghu Lu. Everyday from 8pm-late, enjoy Shanghai's favorite gin based cocktails, with the occasional guest bartender shift. 

Continuing on the popup train, Curry Gaeng, a Northern Thai fan favorite, replete with curries, satay, laab and tangy nam prik, is finally back at a popup space in Fan Tang Space on Yanping Lu by Xinzha Lu from November 8 to December 7. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

After closing for renovations during the summer, Mr & Mrs Bund launched a new menu for the first time in 11 years with a flashy new seafood bar and expansive grilled meat options. Grab your mink coat, satin gloves and oh-so-elegant Cruella De Ville cigarette holder and get ready to drop some major Maos. 

Other noteworthy new menus include Portman's Southeast Asian menu, which is heavy on the indulgent seafood, Commune Social's fall seasonal menu that had us wishing we brought a second stomach, Egg, serving up spiked PSLs like we need even more of an excuse to day drink, and Luneurs in ITC Mall that now serves a full brunch. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Continue satisfying that seafood fix with UnTour Food Tours, which has only three more dates available for their fall fan favorite hairy crab tour. Book your reservation for Oct 24, Nov 14, or Nov 28 (6.30pm start) ASAP, or you'll have to wait until next year. 

Shanghai also saw quite a few milestone double digit anniversaries this month, proving that it's not always about the newest and hottest spot – those tried and true oldies but goodies are just as worth your weekend nights. Happy 10th birthday to Xibo, 17th for Cotton's and C's – everyone's favorite dingy dive bar hit the big 2-0! 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Last week Shanghai received the 5th round of a Michelin Guide, with the biggest news being that Da Vittorio snagged its second star. Congrats Chef Stefano!

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Image by That's Shanghai

Ninth grade physics class taught us that for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction, and Newton's Third Law of Success rings true even in the F&B industry. Goodbye to all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ on the Bund spot JUJU, which closed unexpectedly earlier this month. We will miss the early 2000s rap, free flow banchan and, of course, soju bombs the most.

Similarly, RIP free-flow BBQ meats, pizza and cheaper-than-chips cocktails at the nearly seven-years-old Crocus. We always wondered how they actually made money on that, and now we think maybe they didn't. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Arch shuttered its doors about a month ago, leaving our tummies empty of the pillowiest blue cheese gnocchi Shanghai ever knew, but mastermind Daniel An will be redesigning the space and launching a new concept, Atelier Izakaya in the upcoming month. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Egg and Maiya also bid farewell to their beloved head chef Jaime Pea with a fittingly sweet Glazy Sunday goodbye donut party last weekend. Chef Pea fans, have no fear, she's still sticking around in Shanghai, just taking a break from professional chef-dom to focus on food research and writing full time.


Got a hot tip? Feel free to email all juicy rumors sophiesteiner@thatsmags.com. 

Read more Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip.

[Cover image image via tricycle.org]

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