Positioning themselves as modern-day food and wine rebels without a cause, Forage owners Jill Jiang, Fan Gao and William Zhu (SOiF) want to be the anti-boring that they feel has taken over the wine industry in Shanghai lately. Coming from a background of high-end kitchens (including Ultraviolet and Maison Lemolaise), the hodge-podge group of friends aim to create a funky wine bar that is unabashedly independent, with the main goal of doing something niche and purely experimental – the kind of place they themselves would choose to hang at.
“We’re wine geeks, doing stuff for the other weirdos that get it. And if you don’t, then go to any other mainstream wine bar in the city. Shanghai’s got plenty,” says Jiang, while simultaneously pouring a Sicilian natural rose, ruby in color, dry and crisp.
The Maoming Lu digs used to be a clothing shop, and the team decided to leverage that unfinished, ugly-beautiful appeal of the old building when completing the design and construction themselves. The bar is from a stone pit outside of Hangzhou, the ceramic plates are hand-selected from Jingdezhen, the upcycled wood tables, plants and decorative elements are repurposed from bits and bobs found around the city, living up to the restaurant’s foraging name.
January 29, 2022
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