Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: August 2021

By Sophie Steiner, August 25, 2021

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If you thought the Delta variant was going to slow down Shanghai’s F&B scene, this round of gossip is here to prove you wrong. Full steam ahead with the new openings apparently, especially expanding empires of already existing venues. 

DSC07360.jpgImage by Sophie Steiner/That's

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Image courtesy of Mezcalito

Mezcalito, a new taco and mezcal bar, just soft opened this past weekend in the old Dodu spot on Changshu Lu. It's backed by Hugo de Mondragon (DoduEspíritu), who is going full in on the agave plant front with his second mezcal-themed venue.

Funkadeli on Fumin Lu will be *gasp* closing in mid-September. No, don't worry, just to get a quick revamp so it can reopen soon after as a Funkadeli 2.0 of sorts, with an updated 'streetwear-inspired' interior designed by Oha Group.

This more refined version of Funkadeli will open earlier (like 10am daily) and offer breakfast and lunch, plus an array of loaded pizzas with diners' choice of rye or sourdough base and various cold and hot toppings. Get excited for the new Funkadeli era, still full of all the spritzes and negronis you can handle! 

One of the longest standing pizza and pasta restaurants, part of the mi & mrwillis group, La Strada has opened a second branch in Taikoo Li in Pudong, allowing those on the other side of the river to indulge in a little more Western food love. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

More on the mi & mrwillis group, Wukang Market, and their three restaurants in it – Agnes, Mi Mian Hui Xin and Something – are now officially open seven days a week. After the longest soft opening of all time, no more waiting for the weekend to visit these places, they are now open for lunch, brunch and dinner every damn day. 

READ MORE: American South BBQ Meets Nordic Flavors at Wukang Market’s Agnes

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READ MORE: Not Your Mama's Dim Sum at Mi Mian Hui Xin

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READ MORE: Craig Willis Is Always Up to Something – This Time on Wukang Lu

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

READ MORE: 7 Izakayas to Satisfy Your Yakitori Cravings in Shanghai

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Image via @sakaba_malabar Instagram

More Japanese options are now available from the once-Spanish focused Malabar, that has now officially reopened and rebranded as Sakaba Malabar. A more upscale décor, coupled with Japanese-inspired bites and curated cocktails designed by Yao Lu (Union Trading Company), have turned this once post-work to late-night watering hole into a esteemed date night restaurant. 

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And be on the lookout for Chuan Long (aka Skewer Dragon – now that's a snappy name) Japanese izakaya in Found 158, taking over the main entrance area of the old Mania club. 

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Image courtesy of The Sukhothai

The Sukhothai is launching a new gin lounge, featuring a live band. Soon after, the Zuk Bar will also get a facelift plus a massive new outdoor terrace coming off of Urban Café, aka it's all going down this season at The Sukhothai!

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Image via @rozoluwei Instagram

Another new contemporary restaurant and wine bar, RŌZO, just opened at the beginning of this month on Wuding Lu, near Jiaozhou Lu. Because Shanghai, and Wuding Lu specifically, needs more wine bars about as much as the city needs more noodle shops. 

One of the first international cocktail popups since COVID started is taking place now at Ars & Delecto, with Leo Kim from Seoul’s Alice Cheongdam bar bringing his entire menu to Shanghai through mid-October. It is all about exploring Korea’s four seasons through different sips in the Seoul bar’s signature Alice in Wonderland whimsical style. 

Speaking of Korean influence, Gin Pork, a Korean-style BBQ joint opened on Anyuan Lu in north Jing’an, focusing on – you guessed it – pork, which is grilled tableside on built-in circular grills. Aside from the meat, the usual contemporary KBBQ fare is on offer – banchan, bibimbap, beef tartare, cheesy corn exploding from a stone pot (who doesn’t love this?!) and tteokboki.

Will the number of Korean BBQ joints in Shanghai overtake Japanese izakayas? Only time will tell. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

It's almost mooncake season, and with that comes the Ultra-Lune release of Paul Pairet's (of three-Michelin star, full sensory experience Ultraviolet) mooncakes. A combination of a French sablé biscuits and a Chinese mooncake, the four filling flavors – lemon, chocolate, peanut and orange liqueur – are available in 8-mooncake box sets for RMB588 (through August 31) or RMB688 after that.

Of the 4,000 boxes being sold, one holds a golden ticket prize – a free dinner for two at Ultraviolet, while 14 silver tickets prizes are also sprinkled throughout, with dining vouchers for Mr & Mrs Bund and Polux. Pre-orders can be made through the Paul Pairet Mini Shop.

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Speaking of mooncakes, Strictly Cookies is also back with their annual mookie tradition – a hybrid cookie and mooncake that is available in six flavors: brownie + caramel, salted butterscotch + duck egg, nutella + chocolate, sugar + red bean, chocolate + peanut butter and matcha + marzipan. A box of all six mookies can be purchased via the Strictly Cookies Mini Program for RMB188 before August 31 or for RMB208 before September 18. 

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Image by Ned Kelly/That's

We were invited for a sneak preview of The Art Party at 5 Senses Club this month, a multisensory dinner inspired by art throughout the ages – and there was music and dancers, too. The visual, aural and gastronomical treat was hosted by Tokyo's Chef Haruna Atsuki, who is looking to take the concept to a Bund venue around the end of the year. Keep your art-loving eyes open for that one.

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Image by Christy Choi/That's

High-end sports bar meets mini golf meets simulators meets lounge meets restaurant at Lounge by Top Golf, a multi-entertainment venue with drinks and food by Colin Tait and Danyi Gao (both of Shake). The chain hails from the USA, but already has 60+ venues around the world, the first of which in China just opened in Central Plaza on Huangpi Lu. 

K11 will be expanding its footprint in Shanghai with a second location, also situated along Huaihai Lu. After opening in Shanghai in 2013, K11 has also built retail outlets in Hong Kong, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Shenyang, among others. The construction on the second outpost has already begun, with the goal to officially open in 2022. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Chaoyi Buer, a trendy, luxury space housing a café with imported beans and French pastries designed by an award-winning chef, a florist shop and a retail pop-up store with rotating collaborative exhibitions, had its grand opening in the beginning of August in an 800-square meter indoor plus outdoor space near the Bund. The café is decked out with French furniture and dishes, while the pop-up exhibition features photogenic displays in every corner, inviting the wanghong-seeking crowd to snap and sip.

READ MORE: Lifestyle Hub and Café Chaoyi Buer is Making Waves Near The Bund

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Image via Dianping

L'Atelier Chic Choc has been added to the laundry list of French wine bars in Shanghai, with a menu heavy on the steak and seafood, plus an intriguing chili oil ice cream. The cylindrically-shaped, library-esque wine display room is Instagrammable to say the least. A second Chinese wanghong crowd pleaser in two paragraphs. 

Maoming Lu got itself another café and wine bar, itaste Bistro, that focuses on coffee, wine, simple cocktails and beer, along with bar snacks like cold cuts, sandwiches and some baked goods. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Vegan restaurant Duli has opened a second, smaller location, Duli Go, in Foodie Social in Xintiandi. The menu involves some overlap from the original location, but offers a few newbies, like red curry mixed vegetable rice, pad thai noodle and mapo tofu mango with rice, focusing on fast casual yet health-conscious plates that all clock in around RMB58-68 each. 

READ MORE: Shanghai Restaurant Review: Must-Try Plant-Based Bistro Duli

Also on the vegan front, Element Fresh, in collaboration with MissGreen and Roots & Shoots is launching an exclusive plant-based menu inspired by world-famous humanitarian and environmentalist Jane Goodall's life work. The menu, which features hero ingredients like wild banana flowers, green shizo and purple peanuts, will launch at Element Fresh in Xintiandi on September 3, and will roll out to all Element Fresh venues across China between October and November. Expect to find delicious dishes like Roasted Pumpkin with Black Hummus, Thai Celery Salad with Vegan Crab Cake, Coconut Curry Noodle Soup and Salt-Crusted Beetroot with Vegan Meatballs. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Another second store opening, the always busy Professor Lee by Belloco, has set up shop in Grand Gateway. And Shanghai’s favorite pizza chain Homeslice will continue its dominance, now in the east with another store location to open in Pudong by October. 

Just upstairs from Alimentari Piccolo opened Machi, a Japanese fusion bistro heavy on the seafood mains, but also with steaks, duck breast and bone marrow kimchi, along with some creative twists on tacos, like torched kingfish tacos, eel tacos, and foie gras tacos. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Sumerian is temporarily closed for renovation, but should open back up by the end of the month or beginning of September. If you’re missing your coffee and bagel fix, swing by their sister restaurant, Boom Boom Bagels, on Anfu Lu in the meantime. 

Skewer and BBQ spot Styx unfortunately had to close at the end of July; the space will become a Japanese bistro. Along the same lines, Lucky You on Fumin Lu also said zaijian, the second Cantonese outpost at that same address to shutter it's doors in the last few years and the second 'Lucky' venue to close this season. (Lucky Diner, which has no association with Lucky You, also shut down at the beginning of the summer).

It feels like X Bar just opened, but less than a year later, they are shutting down again by mid-September, this time due to landlord issues. We will see what form of dance club gets resurrected in it's place. 

And finally, after more than 10 years, Sushi’O is sadly shuttering its final set of doors in Found158. COVID plus imported product complications take down yet another Shanghai stronghold. 


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

Read more Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip.

[Cover image via tricycle.org]

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