Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: October 2023

By Sophie Steiner, October 27, 2023

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Everyone came back from Golden Week ready 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 autumn saying goodbye to a few Shanghai favorites, but simultaneously welcoming more to fill their spots. 

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Image courtesy of UVVU

First up, UVVU is an endeavor backed by VOL – the management group behind Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet – to stretch the 'UV' brand into a day-to-night coffee and cocktail experience.

UV and its mirrored acronym VU make up the venue’s name, a play on the concept that coffee has a place in the evening (just like cocktails can make a showing during the day). 

By daylight, UV offers seasonal-themed coffee and desserts; at night it transforms into VU, incorporating culinary elements into cocktails.

Coffee and dessert offerings are omakase style, with a seasonally rotating menu for the Wukang Market crowd. 

It is important to note that Paul Pairet and Ultraviolet’s current team are not related nor involved in any way in this venue.

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Image courtesy of Roodoodoo

UVVU is not to be confused with Roodoodoo, a new concept by chef Paul Pairet himself (Ultraviolet, Mr & Mrs Bund, Polux, Charbon) – an all day, every day snack and bakery-centric casual dining concept in Pudong's IFC Mall.

The space combines a coffee shop, deli, restaurant, patisserie, boulangerie and ice cream parlor, plus a terrace all in one that opened on October 17.

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Image courtesy of Fotografiska

Renowned photography museum, Fotografiska made its debut in Asia with a location opening along Shanghai’s Suzhou Creek on October 21.This is the fifth location, after Stockholm, Tallinn, New York and Berlin.

A beacon of contemporary photography, the venues hosts hundreds of global exhibitions every year, including creative arts like music, dance, and technology.

Unlike other museums, Fotografiska remains open daily until 11pm, so guests can appreciate the art after work, and linger in the 4,600-square meter space that encompasses a rooftop lounge restaurant, gelateria, terraced café and bar and concept store as well.

Entrance tickets go for RMB120 for the day, or RMB600 for an annual pass.

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Image courtesy of OHO by MIG

OHO by MIG – the same team behind longstanding wine bars Le Verre à Vin and Le Vin – is celebrating their grand opening this weekend in their new digs on Xinhua Lu. The menu is modern European bistro fare with nuances of Asian fusion (think: steamed clams with sake, fettucini carbonara, burrata, beef tartare and marinated pigs ear), and – no surprise here – a hefty bottled wine list.

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Shanghai partygoers rejoice – October has seen a glint of the city returning to its glory days (when it actually lived up to its reputation as the city that never sleeps). For all the non-sleepers, there are a handful of new club openings, a couple of which took over the space of some big-name venues. 

For starters, there is the aptly named The Venue – an all-in-one dining, drinking and dancing destination that houses a French-Asian fusion restaurant and lounge; an uber chic club with no expense spared on sound and lighting design; and private KTV rooms that stay open until the wee hours of the morning.

READ MORE: The Venue: An All-in-One Dining, Drinking & Dancing Destination

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Image via Dianping

Bar KEV – short for kilo-electron volts – is the phoenix that rose from Bar Rouge’s Bund 18 ashes, another posh club for the Shanghai night life fiends.

With its iconic Shanghai Bund over to Lujiazui view, bold red and pink lighting motif against a black backdrop, and EDM-meets-trap remix playlist, the space really does align as self-described – the “city’s newest luxury destination.” 

Similarly, M1NT may be no more, but SUNSEEK has been quick on the uptake, a more “relaxed” alternative to its predecessor in about half the old space on Fuzhou Lu. 

And, while Celia shuttered its doors a few months back, just as we speculated, it has reopened again in its new location on Nanyang Lu – celebrating its grand reopening this month, along with a slew of seasonal parties and big name DJ lineups.

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Speaking of reopenings, Sober Company is back full time. Shanghai’s once top-rated bar (No. 5 bar on the 2021 Asia’s 50 Best Bar list), Sober Company shocked the city when they closed unexpectedly in June of 2022.

READ MORE: Sober Company Becomes 1st Big F&B Casualty of Shanghai Lockdown

The Shingo Gokan-owned (Speak Low) three-floor establishment, which opened in 2017 at 99 Yandang Lu, consisted of three sections – Sober Cafe, Sober Kitchen and Japanese-style bar Sober Society.

It was a regular fixture on the Asia's 50 Best Bars and World's 50 Best Bars lists, appearing in Asia's 50 Best Bars for six consecutive years and World's 50 Best Bars for three consecutive years.

After much anticipation, the team was back at it this summer, with popups going on every Friday and Saturday evening from 7pm-2am at INS on Yandang Lu.

And now they are back back, full time in INS, open every evening (except Monday) with a handful of favorites from the previous food and cocktail menu, plus some much-anticipated newbies.

Stay tuned for a full writeup. 

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Image courtesy of Highline

As mentioned in our August Gossip column, Muse Group Executive Chef Conrad Van Den Heever (currently of HighlineDentreeThe Nestpreviously of BloomAnchor & Clover Club) has opened his own restaurant, La Brise 523 in Sinan Mansions.

The concept is a firepit-roasted proteins bistro with a modern Southeast Asian flavor-leaning menu. The kitchen will sport its own firepit, so expect 80% of the menu to be roasted over open woodfire flames. 

The front area offers an all-day snacking and sipping bar showcasing a roster of global wines and an impressive whiskey list.

But the real kicker comes when the 'artsy hipster designed' main dining room opens daily at 5pm, revealing two backsplash wall art murals by a local graffiti artist and displays of trendy art collector’s items and statues.

Soft opening took place at the end of September, with grand opening is well underway now.

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Image via Dianping

Spread the Bagel has expanded in all sense of the meaning, with a bigger second location, known as Spread the Bagel Café & Bistro, in Xuhui's Nanyang 1931 Mall.

The menu offers the same as the original – bagels, bagel sandwiches, cinnamon rolls and the like, plus salads, lunch sets, and sides – in a sun-soaked bistro space with ample seating.

We see this as a great addition to Shanghai’s café scene, an ideal spot to tuck into an afternoon bagel sandwich and some work. 

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Image courtesy of Chili's

Chili’s has opened its fifth store in Shanghai, Chili’s Hongshou Fang, in a district known for its historic shikumen architecture.

Diners can look forward to the same Tex-Mex cuisine, like Big Mouth Burgers, tender pork ribs smoked with American hickory wood, and seared Fajita steak cooked over a high-temperature iron skillet. 

Cocktails are also on offer, with this new location showcasing the Margarita of the Month, an exclusive deal only available at the Hongshou Fang store.

Soak up those last rays of sunshine before winter hits on their expansive patio, a Chili’s signature design element.

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No easy feat, Funkadeli just celebrated its 10-year anniversary, an institution on the Shanghai weekend expat rite-of-passage trail, an unwavering guarantee for a good time on the Changle Lu-Fumin Lu-Donghu Lu corner. 

And now onto the no-so-good news: closures.

Or, in the case of Frantzénnever-had-a-chance-to-opens.

That’s right, three Michelin star Nordic omakase restaurant Frantzén has pulled the plug on its anticipated Shanghai opening, choosing to focus on other Asia ventures instead. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Spread Bar à Tartine also closed down recently, and another that hits home, Zup Pizza Bar is shutting its doors for the very last time on October 31 – a sad, sad day for Shanghai’s pizza loving community. 


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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