Here are all the bars and restaurants we featured in our June 2019 issue:
Image via Starling
Before we kick this off, full disclosure: Starling is in Foshan.
In homage to the great American diners of, well, America, Starling’s food and beverage offerings are unquestionably simple: burgers, hot dogs, milkshakes and ice cream sundaes.
The ‘classic burger’ will hit your wallet for an easy RMB35, but you can add an extra patty for RMB15. You can also boss it up with extra toppings, including avocados, bacon, caramelized onions, mushrooms, jalapenos and an egg, among others, for an additional RMB3 per topping.
On our visit, we opted for one classic burger and one burger with the works. Both arrived wrapped in an on-the-go-style paper wrapper and, before even taking a bite, the eatery’s standard burger immediately rubbed us as a slightly fancier version of an In-N-Out burger. The every-topping-in-the-book burger was a beast, with a solid 2 inches of goodness set between two fluffy, made-in-house buns.
Both burgers exceeded our wildest expectations, juicy and packed full of flavor. Starling’s burgers fall in the soft spot located between a fast food burger and something more gourmet. They were so good, in fact, we got one to go to eat at home later. (Three minutes at 400 degrees and Starling’s burgers are as good as new).
Price: RMB35-70 per person
Who’s going: Shunderen, day-trippers, diner lovin’ dudes and dudettes
Good for: a taste of American-style burger glory
Nearest metro: Shibi (Exit A), 30 minutes’ drive
Image by Tristin Zhang/That's
Since the establishment of the first Toritama in Tokyo in 1999, this skewered chicken restaurant and bar chain has opened branches across Asia and won numerous honors, including four Michelin Bib Gourmand awards.
The must-order dishes here are the momo, or chicken thigh skewer (RMB18), and the chicken meatball (RMB15). The momo uses what is arguably the best poultry part and comes with a seven-ingredient dip known as shichimi, while the meatball is elevated by the addition of gristly chicken parts. Another hot order is the chicken intestine (RMB25), which comes with eggs attached and is apparently in limited supply.
While Toritama’s skewer offerings are undoubtedly tasty and extensive, you won’t sate your appetite on meat sticks alone. As such, we recommend sampling the establishment’s minced meat and chicken skewer on rice (RMB65), a hearty dish, whose flavor is balanced by the addition of nori and a half-cooked egg.
Who’s going: Guangzhou’s Japanese community, culinary cosmonauts
Good for: testicle-lovin’ diners, Michelin-quality chicken skewers
Nearest metro: Shipaiqiao (Exit D), 10 minutes’ walk
Image by Matthew Bossons/That's
Whiskey drinkers in Guangzhou have a new spot to check out this month: Polaris.
Located on Huangpu Dadao Xi, this rye-focused bar and restaurant boasts an impressive collection of more than 100 whiskey varieties, including eight notable Japanese bottles and 36 scotch offerings.
The long, thin interior of the restaurant is well decorated and seemed like as good of a place as any for a strong drink on a rainy May evening. We ordered up an old fashioned (RMB45), which arrived mostly true to form, without an icy whiskey ball. Its strong and fragrant flavors hit the spot, although we must admit we were craving a punch of the straight stuff.
With a brilliant playlist featuring the likes of Phil Collins, Tom Petty and The Beatles playing over the bar’s sound system, we demanded a wee dram of Macallan 12 (RMB70) with a casual fist pound.
When we eventually departed the establishment, we were tipsy and full of a steadfast appreciation for Polaris’ outstanding specials (drams of Talisker 10, Laphroaig Quarter Cask and Macallan 12 for RMB180, or Johnnie Walker Black, Cardhu Amber Rock and Lagavulin 16 for RMB170).
Price: RMB100-150 per person
Who’s going: whiskey aficionados, Japanese people, Johnnies and walkers
Good for: intimate boozing, an encyclopedia of whiskey choices
Nearest metro: Tiyu Xi Lu (Exit H), 5 minutes’ walk
[Cover image by Tristin Zhang/That's]