Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: January 2021

By Sophie Steiner, February 1, 2021

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With the Western holiday season rolling into the Eastern holiday seasons (plus a seemingly never-ending COVID rollercoaster), restaurant openings – and thankfully closures – have been quite slow. For the most part, venues are focusing on unique events, popups and new menus to attract customers rather than immediately launching into new concepts. 

With the approaching Chinese New Year coupled with a travel ban, we are looking forward to checking out all the new spots that have opened and plan to report back with our findings. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

After a soft opening in December, Plump Oyster has extended its empire with a second location next to Ambassy Court in the old Hooters spot. The new digs are about 50% public seating and 50% private rooms with a – no surprise here – seafood heavy menu. But baller grilled steaks, bone marrow and high-end charcuterie are also readily available. 

Jax Bistro just soft opened on the same strip as Lucky You and Funkadeli on Fumin Lu. This spot has seen restaurant after restaurant turn over, leading many to believe the large space – which the landlord won’t allow to be broken up into multiple smaller venues – is cursed. 

The expansive space features a café and pastry counter at the front, a seafood heavy restaurant in the middle – including legit seafood towers – and a bar in the back. The menu is still changing a lot, the décor is really, really red and the space is wide open with loads of seating. How they will continually fill all those seats is a wonder, but we're hoping for the best. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Maiya Rice Canteen in Anken Air morphed into Egg Zhenning, an Egg 2.0 of the original location on Xiagyang Lu. We thoroughly stand buy any concept that involves more avocado toast, buckwheat pancakes, matcha lattes and putting an egg on everything. 

Jobu, a neighborhood cocktail bar with Taiwanese-inspired bar snacks, closed briefly and re-emerged from the dust as Heartbreaker – a casual pizza and beer joint. Can never have too many of those. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

When Arch closed last fall, it was immediately replaced by Atelier Izakaya – a Japanese grill joint with cocktails in line with other Daniel An endeavors. The menu is fairly tight, with appetizer, small plates, grilled items and a few more extravagant mains. 

Mezcal is the new gin and will be the main focus of a multi-concept spot all in one venue on Yanping Lu, scheduled to open by May. Bonica will be the restaurant, La Barra is the lounge and La Mezcaleria will be a cocktail bar with – you guessed it – mezcal as the liquor of choice, all housed under one roof. Chef Marco Chavez (previously of Polux, The Chop Chop Club and Mr & Mrs Bund) will be heading up the south of the border-focused menu and Chris Peart will be lining up the beverage menu. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Chef Hardeep’s modern Indian eatery – Klay – is slated to open after Chinese New Year in Jing’an. The menu is still in the works, but we are hoping for naan-wiches, chicken tikka, tandoori ribs and lobster masala available daily! Geo Valdivieso will be designing the drinks menu in his free time while simultaneously launching his own new bar, Zodiac in Shankang Li. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

More salted caramel ice cream and croissants are in everyone’s future that lives in Minhang since Luneurs newest branch just opened on Wuzhong Lu. The new shop also offers DELI&WINE products, a wide variety of cold meats and cheeses and an expansive wine selection. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The owners behind Chinese fusion spots Bloom and Huma are launching two new concepts in the coming months. First up will be a new concept on Changping Lu in late spring. Expect Japanese BBQ vibes with a whole lot of grilled skewers and sake to boot. Next will be a bigger, more laidback lunch crowd spot in Taikoo Hui around mid-summer. Exact menu design and format is TBD.

Also opening soon in Taikoo Hui is another reason to let out your waistline, Shanghai's second installment of The Cheesecake Factory. This moster portion serving, artery-clogging American chain will now be offering the downtown lunch crew pizza, pasta and every kind of cake, pie and pastry under the sun with dishes big enough to feed a family of four – exactly what you need for a productive afternoon. (By productive we mean 'nap-filled.')

Our most regretful closure to report in the last quarter of 2020 came in the form of landlord troubles for Logan’s Punch. One of Shanghai’s favorite cocktail hangouts, led by one of Shanghai’s equally favorite cocktail personalities, has unfortunately been locked up since the end of November. Here’s praying for its reopening.

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Image provided by World of Beer 

World of Beer, an American chain from Tampa, Florida, closed its only Shanghai location on Fumin Lu in the end of November. What started without bang, ended with even less of one. 

And last but not least, word on the street is that the Dongping Lu area, the once home to the original Camel and Tacolicious is reopening. What will move in there is still up in the air, but we look forward to that oddly triangular-shaped hangout – Puskin Square – to get the revamp it deserves. 


Got a hot tip? Feel free to email all juicy rumors sophiesteiner@thatsmags.com. 

Read more Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip.

[Cover image image via tricycle.org]

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