Here are all the new restaurant and bar openings we featured in our December 2017 issue:
The 7th Day’s Western food has a decidedly local flavor. Exhibit A: the breakfast bagel platter (RMB68). While you can’t really go wrong with smoked salmon or scrambled eggs, the homemade bread underneath is soft, buttery and slathered with tangy ‘yogurt sauce’ rather than cream cheese. A similar issue shows up in the mini pork sliders (RMB58), where sweet-tasting buns detract from juicy, savory barbecue and melted gouda. What the menu lacks in authenticity, however, it makes up for in presentation. An intimidating green acai bowl (RMB55) is made appetizing with carefully arrayed toppings of coconut flakes, goji berries, strawberry and banana.
Who’s going: social media mavens, the health-conscious
Good for: all-day breakfast, lunch dates
Nearest metro: Houhai (Exit D1), 12 minutes
We start with nine free appetizers. The tiny dishes, intended for groups of three to four, come arrayed in a case and pack flavors ranging from mild tofu to pickled cabbage to sweet, lightly cooked cherry tomatoes. The yakitori dishes show a similar level of variety and attention to detail, elevating the once-humble street food to gourmet. Two skewers of ox tongue (RMB48) are served still glistening from the grill, the texture smooth and pleasingly fatty, if chewy. Lychees wrapped in pork (RMB28) meld sweet and savory, while lightly grilled mochi cakes (RMB28 each) surprise with warm, melted cheese cores.
Who’s going: businessmen, Hong Kongers
Good for: grilled meat, multi-course meals
Nearest metro: Shopping Park (Exit D), 5 minutes
The ‘kind of’ franchisee pub is drawing on networks built around its long-operating Hong Kong cousins. Happy hour lasts until a late 9pm, though that means a discount, not the two-for-one gluttony in some other Shenzhen stops. Originally touted as a looker, the RMB118 linguine seafood marinara arrived fresh – if not Trafalgar’s most visually appealing moment of our visit. The Golden Mushroom Pilsner (RMB33), brewed by Trafalgar in Hong Kong, is a nod to the local preference for light lagers, but the malty, 10.4 ABV Sambrook’s Imperial stout has already become a favorite with at least one local suds sipper.
Who’s going: weekending Hong Kongers, home-hungry Brits
Good for: hand-pumped beers, happy hour specials
Nearest metro: Fumin Station (Exit D), 10 minutes
Mixy Bar is dim and thoughtfully designed with woods, leathers and glass, stocked with top-shelf ingredients infused by hand. The bar doesn’t fall for gimmicks like passwords, buzzers or secret doors (though it is hidden, three stories up, behind OCT’s Hua Living Space mall). And it can’t help but slip in a little Shanghai speakeasy sophistication with drinks such as the RMB128 Old Driver, a cheeky take on a boulevardier. Peaty notes of Laphroaig whiskey found uncommon harmony with Campari, elevated by vermouth and orange bitters into an incredibly balanced drink. The name refers to a guy who knows how to please a lady – and isn’t shy about sharing the secrets.
Price: RMB98-128 per cocktail
Who’s going: designers, whisky aficionados, thoughtful sippers
Good for: midweek drinks
Nearest metro: OCT (Exit B), 8 minutes
Irregular shaped plaster walls line a few small private rooms and lead up a spiral staircase to a second floor of tables and a view of Futian’s surrounding skyscrapers. We ask for a drink – something special. That sees the RMB65 ‘qinggua yulu,’ (青瓜玉露, not translated on the menu) served – though we spy some Gordon’s Gin slipped in, we’re told it’s based on the medicinal Chinese spirit jingjiu, though its fruity flavors hint not. Like all the cocktails we try, the RMB65 daka (大咖) is on the affordable side and commensurate with the craftsmanship. The vodka, cherry brandy mix is served with small rose buds floating on froth.
Who’s going: event attendees, in-the-know passersby
Good for: looking up, semi-privacy
Nearest metro: Convention and Exhibition Center (Exit E), 3 minutes