Year of the Rabbit Recap: New Shanghai F&B – Part 1

By Sophie Steiner, February 5, 2024

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And so we bid adieu to the Year of the Rabbit – a wild ride of high highs and low lows. Yet, the show must go on, and that means enjoying it in the way we know best – through good food and plenty of drink.

Here's our A to Z recap of some of the major restaurants and bars that swung their doors wide open and bunny-hopped through into the Year of the Dragon.

See Part 2 here, Part 3 herePart 4 herePart 5 here, Part 6 here, and Part 7 here.


8 by Anarkia

Helmed by Chef Gabo, 8 by Anarkia is a punky new concept where traditions are both respected and broken by a man who is equal parts passion and pace. 

Taking over the Monkey space just above Diner on Wulumuqi Lu, this intimate 16-seater venue showcases a mad scientist’s level of unbridled creativity, with absolutely no boundaries – it's just you and the chef, inside his kitchen, with eight of everything. 

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All of the norms of fine dining are blatantly ignored, replaced by an approachable casualness, where good conversation and freedom to move about trump all.

Yet, the food quality and originality is top of the line, matching any upscale dining experience.

The menu features an eight-course dinner, with eight drink pairings based on the utmost seasonality and – really – just the whims of Gabo himself (they can change on the daily).

Expect ingenious fusion, eccentric uses of Chinese flavors and a consistent party; 8 is meant to be playful, in your face. 

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It’s Gabo’s personal test lab: If you’re into white tablecloths, prearranged ordering and meticulous plating, probably give 8 a pass; if you’re into experiential dining that flushes the rulebook down the toilet, then it’s for you.

“The concept is that there is no concept,” laughs Gabo, between sips of baijiu. “It’s food. Eat it. Enjoy it. If you like it, good. If not, well come back and try it again. Or don't."

Love it or hate, it’s guaranteed to be memorable.

Read a full review here.

8 by Anarkia, 2/F, 145 Wuyuan Lu, by Wulumuqi Zhong Lu, 五原路145号2楼, 近乌鲁木齐中路.


18 by Fréderic Anton 

Exciting news for the city's gourmets – 18 by Fréderic Anton, a French gastronomic project by acclaimed five Michelin-starred Chef Fréderic Anton, opened in January 2024, in the space previously occupied by L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Bund 18.

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It is the acclaimed chef’s maiden voyage outside of France, where he is currently in charge of three Michelin-starred Le Pré Catelan on Paris' Bois de Boulogne, one Michelin-starred Jules Verne on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, and one Michelin-starred Jules Verne gastronomic cruise on the Seine River – the only boat to have obtained a Michelin star. 

An impressive CV, to say the least. 

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Together with Executive Chef Adrien Delcourt – the trusted Robin to Chef Anton's Batman – the duo will update the menu seasonally, with Anton returning to the city quarterly, thus affording him the shiniest new seat on the ever-stretching roster of A-list chefs who have franchised their restaurants into Shanghai. 

The only dining option is a set menu (six courses for lunch and 10 for dinner) with optional wine pairings.

In terms of technique, what is presented on the plate is unquestionably flawless – in execution, presentation, and quality of ingredients – with a level of service to match.

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And the setting is equally transcribed; a poster-child for a luminous French gourmet eatery. 

Read a full review here.

18 by Fréderic Anton, 3/F, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, by Nanjing Dong Lu, 中山东一路18号3楼,近南京东路.


A, WAY

A, WAY co-founders Linhang Ren and Lauren Lee met at Yale University, where their passion for the food and beverage industry brought them together in an unexpected way – to create a fine spirited ice cream brand (luxury booze ice cream, in layman’s terms).

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After launching right here in Shanghai's INS 复兴乐园, A, WAY has made a name for itself a lot more than just alcohol-infused ice cream; it’s a lifestyle brand with an experiential space flagship store.

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At the A, WAY lounge, offerings encompass both familiar and novel flavor pairings, with the aim of elevating any occasion.

A, WAY adds to the neighborhood by being a destination where patrons can have an ice cream and wine after work, pregame before heading upstairs to one of the seven nightclubs or other F&B establishments in the complex, or have a quiet place to relax.

Since launching, A, WAY has already partnered with luxury brands, high-end hotels, boutique airlines, and more, becoming one of the hottest new products to come out of the city.

Read a full review here.

A, WAY, F101, 109 Yandang Lu, by Nanchang Lu, 雁荡路109号F101室, 近南昌路.


Air by Ounce

Located on Fuxing Lu, Air by Ounce is a coffee and tap cocktail hangout focused on easy-to-understand, approachable beverages, and a sister bar to whisky legend Marley Teng's other bar, Ounce. 

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Although seemingly simple – the drinks are poured from a tap and can be enjoyed within seconds of ordering – the cocktails at Air by Ounce, are complex, nuanced and purposeful.

The common thread here is that of full sensorial experience: one that removes the pressure of a complicated menu but boasts the benefit of expertly-crafted drinks that are a lighter – or airier (hence the name) – alternative to the more serious cocktails served at Ounce. 

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With such wallet-friendly drinks, and no reason to ever wait for a glass refresher, Air by Ounce is an ideal spot for a casual catchup, a low-key date, or a pre- or post-bar hangout (it’s open until 4am most days). 

The ambiance, regardless of the time of day, compliments said experience that arrives in your glass.

Read a full review here.

Air by Ounce, 559 Fuxing Lu, by Ruijin Er Lu 复兴路559号,近瑞金二路.


Alors 

Alors is a modern Chinese wine bistro just down Gate 1 in Tianzifang, backed by wine expert Franklin Chiang (Next Bottle), chef Bingjia and designer Ting Ting.

The trio all previously studied in France, and have built a connection between French and Chinese cuisines, wine and culture, right here in Shanghai.

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The wine program is 100% French, with 70% natural wines and 30% conventional wines (plus no shortage of champagne, of course).

While Alors is undoubtedly a wine bar, the food is truly the highlight, with Zhejiang native Chef Bingjia the star of the show.

Alors is a neighborhood hangout, designed to be a place you can revisit time and again, which is why the menu is purposefully kept small and changes every few weeks.

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Dishes are ephemeral, highlighting Chinese ingredients prepared and presented using French techniques, encouraging repeat visits to see what chef Bingjia is up to next.

Read a full review here.

Alors, 120-1-1, Bldg 3, Lane 200, Taikang Lu (Gate 1 Tianzifang), by Jianguo Lu 泰康路200弄3号楼120号-1-1室(田子坊1号门,直走,右手边).


Anokhi 

Anokhi is a contemporary Indian restaurant, the brain child of owner and chef Jibin Arjunan, and the posh older sister restaurant to his casual Indian and Middle Eastern eatery, Khan Chacha.

Meaning 'Unique' in Hindi, Jibin’s goal is for every aspect of the restaurant to be a new form of discovery for guests – be it the whimsical take on classic Indian dishes, the colorful room accents, or the modern music.

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The impressive open kitchen focuses on flame-licked meats – a Josper oven, yakitori grill and tandoor oven are just a few of the cooking options on hand.

Hailing from the southern state of Kerala himself, Jibin created Anokhi’s menu to offer an overrepresentation of South Indian food compared to the rest of the market, with at least 40% of the dishes sporting the coconut and spice-laden curries of the south. 

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While most Indian restaurants involve larger portions and heavy curries, Anokhi is more about Indian style 'tapas' that fit the lounge vibes; diners can work their way through the menu, adding in complimentary and contrasting flavors as they while away the hours, drink in hand. 

Read a full review here.

Anokhi, 3/F, 277 Wuxing Lu, by Jianguo Lu,  徐家汇吴兴路277号 3楼, 近建国路.


Bar Blanc

Chase White (founder-owner of OFTB 反调 alcohol brand and all-round industry legend) has opened his first independently owned cocktail and coffee bar, Bar Blanc on Julu Lu.

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Currently in the process of a rebrand from Shimmer, Blanc, meaning ‘white’ in French (that just so happens to be Chase’s last name), represents the idea of restrained simplicity – the ethos of his nine-cocktail, monthly-rotating menu. 

Don’t expect to find rotovap infusions or molecular gastronomy garnishes; instead, the menu centers around the concept of 'five or less' – keeping only necessary ingredients that maintain a balanced sip, rooted in the classics. 

The menu is really an opportunity for seasoned barman Chase to flex his mixologist muscles, and in the world of cocktail artistry, White is a bodybuilder. 

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With such an impressive CV of accoladed venues under his belt, it’s about time he set sail on his own, sharing his cocktail expertise with the Paris of the East, allowing it to speak for itself, in verses of sips, slurps, and sculls.

Prepare to be – and remain – equally inebriated and intrigued from the moment you walk through the door.

Read a full review here.

Bar Blanc, 542 Julu Lu, by Shanxi Nan Lu, 巨鹿路542号, 近陕西南路.


Read More...

Year of the Rabbit Recap: New Shanghai F&B – Part 2

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Year of the Rabbit Recap: New Shanghai F&B – Part 3

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Year of the Rabbit Recap: New Shanghai F&B – Part 4

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Year of the Rabbit Recap: New Shanghai F&B – Part 5

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Year of the Rabbit Recap: New Shanghai F&B – Part 6

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Year of the Rabbit Recap: New Shanghai F&B – Part 7

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To read the full Year of the Rabbit New Restaurant & Bar Openings Recap click here or scan the QR code:

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