We have mixed feelings about 2017, to be honest. On the one hand, there are new openings in Found 158 to get excited about, such as Cyclo 2’s new Cambodian and Laotian-leaning menu, a new Zapfler brewpub, Pera Turkish Cuisine (which we've heard good things about from a real, live Turk) and a brand spanking new Cafe de Stag.
More exciting news comes from chef Akrame Benallal, whose eponymous restaurant in Paris earned him a Michelin Star and a successful spin off in Hong Kong. He’ll be opening Akmē, which like its siblings will focus on modern French cuisine, housed in a minimalist design palace on Wulumuqi Lu. Opening in a month, they say.
Hot from the success of his first opening, Tour, Torontonian mixologist Mack Ross has gone all meta on us and opened a bar within a bar: The Magnolia Room. Like Tour on the first floor, Ross sticks with the cocktail plus amuse bouche formula – each of the drinks comes with a small edible bite that compliments the flavor/mood/vibes.
Johan Holmberg, the fella what designed the drinks over at The Parrot has opened a new venue of his own: Wonderland. Bossman's given it a quirky Alice in Wonderland theme, and the whole place looks very colorful and jolly indeed. You can jump down that particular rabbit hole from April 18 onwards.
Remember Xixi Bistro, that cool little Italian Chinese bar and restaurant that opened and closed last year after a ‘no license’ fiasco? Well, they’re back in the game. The new location is at Xintiandi, stay tuned for our review next month.
In less happy news, Shanghai bid farewell to a jazz institution last month: The Cotton Club. The legendary live music venue hosted over 5,000 performances, and earned the respect of music lovers all over the city. Said owner Greg Smith to That’s: "The party on the corner is over. But not to worry, we shall rise again." Could a second iteration of Cotton Club be on the cards?
Much-loved surf ‘n’ turf eatery The Bull & Claw will also make a comeback at long last, after abruptly closing last Christmas. That’ll be at the expense of long-standing El Patio, as Bull & Claw will be occupying the entire Fenyang Lu villa that the Spanish restaurant previously called home.
And that's not the only switcheroo we've seen this month – Hollywood, that semi-sleazy late night Euro club that turned into Lola last year, is making a comeback (not that they really changed anything the first time around). Long story short, it'll never be as good as the old Lola at Surpass Court that closed after complaints from party pooper neighbors, and Hollywood will return as a den of debauchedness that we low key love but will be ashamed to admit we go to.
Speaking of El Patio, their former chef Pol Garcia, has taken up station at the newly revamped La Maison. The food is an interesting mix of Asian meets Mediterranean; standouts for us were the beetroot tartare with salmon roe, and nutty pistachio dip with pita. See also the gorgeous lounge bar on the second floor, AND a soon-to-be-opened exclusively vegetarian concept on the top floor. Veggies can be fun. Yes they can.
Bonus round: Palmetto! A new American restaurant in the nice spot where Ruijin Cajun used to be (*sniff*). Kind of looks like if Highlineand Al's Diner had a baby – think lightly fancified comfort food like cornbread with sorghum butter, fried chicken, chicken fried steak, deviled eggs and so on.
Read more Food & Drink Gossip