Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: August 2017

By Betty Richardson, August 7, 2017

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Biggest news of the month? Why, it can only be the 15th Annual That's Shanghai Food & Drink Awards. Voting for the 2017 edition commenced last week; be sure to give a shout out to your favorite bars and restaurants via our official WeChat account (Thats_Shanghai). Tap the "Vote" button to get started.

Restaurants

You might be wilting like a leaf of arugula on a hot pizza, but the summer heat hasn’t been slowing down new F&B openings in Shanghai. Last month saw it all: a new restaurant from legendary French chef Pierre Gagnaire (Le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire), which serves contemporary fine dining inside the newly opened Capella, Shanghai Jian Ye Li estate; and the first ever White Castle to open outside the USA on our very own Maoming Bei Lu. 

Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: August 2017

White Castle Shanghai

Cotton Ding, local restaurateur and proprietor of the eponymous (and legendary) Cotton’s, has done away with Hunan House and replaced it with Lychee, a multi-story gastrolounge and cocktail bar inspired by the story of lychee-loving Tang dynasty beauty, Yang Guifei.  

In equally sweet news, Shanghai Bakery is back on the scene again at a new location: the street-side gatehouse of La Maison. Find all the old favorites there – namely freshly baked breads, savory and sweet pastries. 

Shanghai Bakery

Jing’an has a new casual Japanese restaurant on Wuding Lu, Machiya. Serving up sashimi, chirashidon (rice bowls with sashimi), sushi, and hot dishes, we’ve got high hopes for this place.

Look out Bundites, there be a new venue for your consideration. Empire, a drinking and dining concept with a ‘distinctly urban vibe’ is the culminated effort of three Shanghai F&B veterans: mixologist Christoffer Backman (The Nest, The Long Bar), music director Reggie Ba-Pe III (Arcade, Arkham) and chef Massimo (Goodfellas). The place is already open.

Empire Shanghai Bund

Meanwhile, Eli Falafel has just opened for business over on Wulumuqi Zhong Lu, just a stone's throw away from Brothers Kebab. Hailing from Lebanon, they're serving up some pretty legit falafel, shawarma and more.  

Eli Falafel Shanghai

Health nuts, rejoice! WHEAT is opening a second location on Fumin Lu, set to debut later this month. Like its other branch on Dagu Lu, the eatery will be serving up a menu of fast casual whole food.

Sad news to report on the closings front. Madison Kitchen, chef Austin Hu's pickle purveying, intense grilled cheese sandwich vending delicatessen has made quite the mark on Shanghai since opening last year. But alas, it seems Xuhui District doesn't feel quite the same way, as they, along with veteran Taiwanese restaurant Charmant, are being closed in September and August 31 respectively. Austin "Location Cursed" (his words) Hu tells us all is not lost, and that Madison Kitchen is set to open again, in a prominent location that will be revealed soon. As for Charmant, the future is less certain, though proprietors say they're looking for a location in Xuhui. 

In the meantime, get those peanut ice smoothies and sandwiches while you still can...

Madison Kitchen

And last but not least, Yongkang Lu sushi den Sushi'O will be closed for renovations effective immediately. They'll be back with fresh new interiors and more sushi on September 1, bosses say. And in the meantime, Sushi'O on Yanping Lu will remain open.

Bars

It certainly hasn’t been a dry month for Shanghai’s drinking scene, and leading the charge is the appropriately named 

Wet Bar at the newly opened W Shanghai - The Bund. Channeling Miami vibes with a sick Bund view, the bar sits alongside the hotel’s rooftop pool, and is riper than a yangmei in June for selfie taking. Inside is a spacious lounge bar with DJ decks, comfy couches and sleek design elements. Pro tip: try the Jungle Juice cocktail. 

W Shanghai - The Bund

Further down the Bund, Captain’s Bar, on the rooftop of Captain’s Youth Hostel, will be making a resurgence in the very near future. The erstwhile bar was known for being one of the few places to drink on the Bund without the risk of going bankrupt; here’s hoping the new iteration stays that way. 

Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: August 2017

Yet another hidden bar has also surfaced, giving cause to believe that speakeasies may one day actually out-number regular bars. Poker House is a large one at that, set over four floors of an old lane house near Sober Company on Nanchang by Yangdang Lu. Different themes on each story, cigars, craft cocktails and gimmicks await. 

More bizarrely, Shanghainese dining institution Yongfoo Elite has opened a speakeasy. Situated inside the restaurant, Keep it Quiet (below) serves classic drinks that match the antique-adorned environment. Bonus points if you take your cocktails out into Yongfoo Elite’s beautiful garden terrace. 

Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: August 2017

Meanwhile, reports of The Beaver's death are greatly exaggerated. The owners tell us they're working renovating the fusball table zone. The area will be rented out to El Kiosko, run by the brothers behind El Bodegon, who will be running a small kitchen that will sell food both inside the bar and on the street. El Kiosko will open later this month, serving simple late night snacks like steak, chicken schnitzel, pulled pork and chorizo sandwiches. Pizzas will also be added from September.

Craft might be gone, but luckily the owners have carried on their boozy streak by opening a new venue in Found 158. DEUS cocktail club has an extensive menu featuring handcrafted signature drinks from mixologist mastermind Aaron Feder, formerly of Candor, Heyday, El Ocho and OUNCE Taipei. Resident music director Arjen Frank is also assembling a team of resident and guest DJs to bring a memorable vibe to the club.

Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: August 2017

Additional reporting by Bridget O'Donnell


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