ØSP: Restaurant & Bar Meets Avant-Garde Art Gallery Experience

By Sophie Steiner, January 10, 2023

0 0

The Place 

Trio-concept venue ØSP, situated off Yanping Lu, is the brainchild of previous World’s 50 Best China and South Korea chair, foodie extraordinaire and luxury dining scene aficionado, Boris Yu.

His opulent taste can be noted in all aspects from concept to design to menus to execution; there are no corners being cut, unless it's by the highest end chef’s knife on the market.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The letters of the venue each stand for one of the three components. Ø is for Ømakase – a dining room featuring one multi-course chef’s menu for RMB880.

S stands for Savøur – a cocktail lounge and bar with drinks curated by the Hope & Sesame team, plus an impressive spread of snacks of all sizes.

And P represents Pøp – an upstairs, 10-seater pop-up kitchen with a rotating chef-arranged menu, plus wine pairings or Basao tea pairings, for RMB1,280.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The idea is to migrate between the spaces as the night evolves – a nibble here; a standing drink at one of the three 360-degree bar stations over there; a wine pairing dinner at high-top tables upstairs; followed by a resettlement in a plush, button-tufted couch on the main floor.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Like a contemporary art gallery for chefs to display their most eccentric work, the whole concept – from ‘chefs in residence,’ to interactive dining, to boundary-pushing, ever-evolving sips and snacks that pose existential questions like ‘What even is a cocktail?’ – is exceedingly avant-garde.

The Food & Drinks

“I’m not opening a restaurant, I’m opening an experience,” says owner Boris Yu, between sips from a cocktail glass filled with a clear liquid that smells like a lemon and a curry leaf got friendly with a bottle of soju.

And, from top to bottom, it is just that – a sensorial trip that pulls diners to different places and times through the interaction between food, drink and memory. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

We started our journey with Pøp’s current menu – revolving around Korean seasons – from esteemed Chef Tom Ryu (Pado, Jeju Sagye, Professor Lee, Belloco, Botong Sikdang). 

The eight-course menu carries guests through a year’s cycle in Korea – with tastes from the start of spring into the summer solstice, from a dewy sprinkle that marks the preamble to fall into winter’s first freeze. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Modestly plated dishes begin to arrive: shaved slices of Australian M7 tenderloin accompanied by kiwi, pear and onion-infused soy sauce that’s meant to be dunked in a punchy beetroot kimchi; yuzu mustard drizzled spring rolls; date-water soaked rice fried into a cracker; and lemon syrup-marinated grapes atop daikon slivers. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Integral elements of seasonal dishes like ginseng chicken – or samgye-tang – are reimagined; the flavor-soaked rice is reduced into a starchy congee-like base, anchoring to the plate a pair of hand-folded mandu dumplings crowned with liquid kimchi crisps. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A citrus-forward broth rolls through umami waves of soy, spooned atop a layered tower of tender poached octopus tentacles and cold kimchi green bean sprouts.  

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A contrast for the senses, next appears a shatteringly crisp shrimp fritter adorned with a canelé of refreshing cucumber kimchi tartare sauce and glistening beads of Kaluga Queen 7-year sturgeon caviar. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

There’s fiery Korean beef soup paired with a Super Tuscan red; thick slabs of fat-ruffled pork belly juxtaposed against bitter endive and fermented chili paste; daikon dashi-soaked rice – a prudent companion for marinated oysters and homemade Korean chili sauce; all served alongside a warming clam soup. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

More a show than a dessert, purple “rice cream” is churned tableside using liquid nitrogen, drizzled with a blueberry compote and puffed rice kernels. 

When compared to Jeju Sagye (the new name for Chef Tom’s original multi-course, rotating menu venue previously known as Jeju Izakaya), flavor and ingredient combinations are more delicate, precise and have a familial draw as many of the recipes come from his childhood memories of cooking with his mother. 

Since opening, Chef Tom’s menu has been in such high demand that, at the end of December – when the menu was supposed to end – it was moved downstairs into the Ømakase space for the next few months (without the wine pairings) for RMB880 a head.

It will remain in Pøp for a few extra months for those willing to reserve the entire 10 seats, so the long list of reservations can be satisfied.

Our one piece of advice – book ahead. Very ahead. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Moving to a new spot (without having to layer up in our winter coats), post-dinner libations take place in Savøur.

There are 16 to choose from; displayed on playing-sized cards rather than a menu, you can organize your thoughts into piles or pick at random – dealer’s choice. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Consistently ranked Asia’s 50 Best-ranked, Hope & Sesame put Guangzhou’s cocktail scene on the map. As is their wont, drink descriptions look more like grocery lists than what you'd expect to find shaken into a cocktail.

Matcha-dusted white chocolate cream floats on SG Shochu Kome blended with yuzu juice as the Alpha (RMB98)

DSC05447.jpgTheta (RMB98), Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A lingering Laphroig smokiness is subdued by earthy beetroot’s sweetness in the Psi (RMB98), ruddy with a healthy glow. 

DSC05435.jpgKappa (RMB138), Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A trick to the senses, the Zeta (RMB138) is presented as a heaping ice cream sundae – speckled with shavings of gruyere cheese and dark chocolate – but the bold Chivas 12-year comes through immediately, asserting its dominance as a surefire booze-forward spoonful.

As for snacks, there are one-biters to full meals – Paella (RMB248) and Fideua (RMB198) – and a smattering of in-betweeners. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The Tomato Tatin (RMB52) is a refreshingly tart nibble, with confit tomatoes dribbled in a balsamic reduction lining an airy, brittle puff pastry. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

For vegetarian-friendly options, the Beetroot Tartare (RMB78) sees poached beetroot on a flower of endive leaves filled with a dewy yogurt, green apple and avocado sauce. It can be served with (or sans) crab.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

For something more substantial, there’s Papa Chick (RMB108), a Thai-marinated, Josper-grilled half spring chicken paired with grilled papaya. 

DSC05490.jpgFrozen Biscuit (RMB42), Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The Vibe 

To find ØSP is not the most straightforward. You gotta want it. 

But once you turn down the correct backstreet that curves into the next alley that walks you through an art gallery that eventually opens up to ØSP’s entrance, you feel like you’ve cracked the code that no one else knows, and you’ve earned it. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Rather than open and boxy, the rectangular-shaped space is like a wide, couch-lined hallway, with guests passing by three floating bars (not attached to a wall stacked with bottles) and enter the earth-toned, track-lighting lined Savøur.

The more futuristic Ømakase is hidden behind Japanese-style sliding doors, while test kitchen-esque Pøp – with deliberately placed kitchen appliances, books, and other artful, modern pops – is up the stairs behind another hidden sliding door.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

With an interior designed by Hiroshi Fujiwara – a Japanese musician, fashion icon and globally influential streetwear designer – and a lineup of chefs ready to take over both the Ømakase and Pøp menus rolling into next year, expect nothing but the utmost style during your visit.

Each trend-setting venue is distinct, happening, and downright cool on its own; together, it is one cohesive hub making up one of Shanghai’s most unconventionally hip hangouts.

The most important question is, what – or rather – who is still in the works, ready to be showcased as the next and trendiest display of modern cuisine?

Price: RMB100-300 for Savøur, RMB880 for Ømakase, RMB1,280 for Pøp
Who’s Going: Trendy Shanghainese, rotating chef fangirls (and fanboys), Hope & Sesame devotees
Good For: Treat yourself date nights, cocktail exploration, food-as-art lovers

ØSPSuite 101, Block 13, No. 30, Jiazhou Lu 319, by Xinzha Lu 胶州路9弄30号13幢101室,近新闸路. 

Tel: +86 191 2157 1279

[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

more news

Shanghai Restaurant Review: Meta American-Chinese Resto in China, Lucky You

The ultimate meta food inception - a Chinese American restaurant in China where patrons eat an American take on what Canto food is.

Shanghai Restaurant Review: 5-Senses Haute Cuisine at Le Coquin

A feast for all 5 sense with French haute cuisine at Le Coquin

Shanghai Restaurant Review: French Natural Wine Bar Blaz

Blaz is breathing new life into the heritage villa on Donghu Lu with all things French fusion food and wine.

Shanghai Restaurant Review: Maiya Rice Canteen

A casual 'rice canteen' for brunch, lunch and dinner, featuring nourishing, locally-sourced East Asian food and rice-based beverages.

Shanghai Restaurant Review: Yongkang Italian Osteria La Baracca

Italian cafe favorites and a stellar lineup of 16 spritzes to choose from. Hello round-the-clock Happy Hour.

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

Shanghai's first plant-based casual bistro for vegans and carnivores alike.

Shanghai Restaurant Review: Food Theory

China's first ever 'food hub,' a restaurant meets cocktail bar meets cooking school meets pastry institute meets coffee bistro —a true identity crisis if we’ve ever seen one.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at Thats_Shanghai for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Shanghai With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Shanghai!

Visit the archives