Here are all the restaurants and bars we featured in our December 2019 issue:
Image by Tristin Zhang/That's
In creating new Pazhou haunt Flambé, Justin Wong – along with his partners – decided to utilize their business prowess and connections, which they cultivated running a wine import company. Their goal? To offer the burgeoning Pazhou area top-notch oysters and steak from overseas.
Conveniently located along a major thoroughfare that runs through Pazhou, Flambé seems to have struck a chord with the local expat community. On a Friday evening when we visit, the eatery is packed with English-speaking patrons.
The bill of fare here is still taking shape, but there is a good range of scrumptious edibles available, including pastas, salads, soups, steaks, New Zealand mussels and snacks.
Oysters here vary from batch to batch, depending on what’s being imported. When we visit, North American varieties such as Canadian ‘pink pearl’ (RMB21/115/200 per one, six or a dozen) and ‘kusshi,’ (RMB24/130/225) are on offer, and they are as fresh and juicy as it gets.
Who’s going: expat families, Pazhou dwellers
Good for: farm-fresh oysters, date night
Nearest metro: Wanshengwei (Exit D), 10 minutes’ walk
Image by Matthew Bossons/That’s
Open for two months on Meiyuan Xi Lu, an up and coming street running from near Fenghuang Xincun Metro Station towards Taigucang Wharf, Happy Wait has an unquestionably silly name. In all fairness, ‘Happy Wait’ seems to be an approximate translation of the restaurant’s Chinese name, Deng De Xi, but it doesn’t change the fact it’s a bizarre moniker.
What the restaurant lacks in creative branding, however, it makes up for with hospitable service, tasty eats and a clean, eclectically designed interior. Inside, you’ll notice a large colorful mural on the back wall, an artistic choice that contrasts mightily with the other interior walls, which are predominantly gray. There’s also a mini arcade machine, a jumbo teddy bear, neon signage and even four seemingly out-of-place car tires stacked near the restroom.
When we walk by on a cool November evening, a sign outside Happy Wait proudly promotes what we initially think are lobster rolls. It turns out we’re wrong, though, and that the seafood stuffed inside the buns on the advertisement is actually shrimp. The eatery serves two different styles of shrimp rolls, one made with a punchy garlic sauce (RMB23) and the other with a Sichuan-style mala sauce (RMB19). We decide to order one of each.
Both sandwiches arrive in crunchy, toasted baguettes and are damn near 30 centimeters in length. Unfortunately, the amount of shrimp in each roll leaves something to be desired.
Who’s going: spice fiends
Good for: zesty shrimp rolls, cheap beer
Nearest metro: Fenghuang Xincun (Exit A), 7 minutes’ walk
Image via 247bySECOO/WeChat
Who needs bartenders when you’ve got cocktails on tap? Draft cocktails are the theme of a new bar on Xingsheng Lu called 24/7 by Secoo, a premium premixed cocktail brand owned by China-based Secoo Group. The boozy establishment appears to be in some partnership with Lotus Lounge – a decadent cocktail bar located directly upstairs (you can walk through the bar to enter Lotus Lounge).
Guangzhou is the newest city for 24/7 by Secoo to call home, as the bar concept has set up shop in Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing and Suzhou. (For once, Guangzhou has beaten Shanghai to a new opening.)
As we mentioned, 24/7 serves their cocktails the new-fashioned way – substituting the bartender for cocktail kegs. Aside from fun and tempting draft concoctions, you’ll also find a couple craft brews on the menu (which is clearly visible above the taps). One aspect of the menu that catches our eye is the craft cocktail credits below each drink, which give a shout out to the creator of each beverage.
When we visit early on a Thursday evening, we order the Peking Mojito (RMB58) and the No to Criticism Session IPA (RMB38). Suanmei (preserved plums) are utilized to add a subtle tartness to the mojito with Chinese characteristics, which is otherwise a water-y beverage. But given their selection of other drinks on tap, we wouldn’t be so quick to write them off.
Who’s going: Xingsheng Lu strollers, casual cocktail drinkers
Good for: cocktails on tap, something new
Nearest metro: Liede (Exit B), 10 minutes’ walk
[Cover image by Tristin Zhang/That’s]