Le Saleya Bar à Vin: Classic French Fare & Wine in Quaint Garden

By Sophie Steiner, October 1, 2021

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Winner of the That's Shanghai New Restaurant of the Year 2020, Bar à Vin took over La Saleya on Changle Lu in December, making it none other than Le Saleya Bar à Vin. With more of a 'home-style' feel, the French food is rustic, country eats and classically simple, yet still paired with a stellar wine selection. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

After getting his hands on the space, owner Jeffrey Yao completely overhauled the menu – it now offers everyday French fare like rilletes, Burgundy-style snails, terrine, beef tartare and braised frog legs. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A few summery bits and bobs – seafood stew, tuna tartare and Hokkaido scallops in lobster sauce – also grace the menu for the time being, best enjoyed in the quaint outdoor (yet covered from the elements) garden that is always full when the weather is nice.

Every meal starts with a complimentary sliced baguette, served with salted butter and anchovy butter. As warm, crusty and tempting as it is to gobble it down in one go, instead hold out for the mains – in true French form they are slathered in luscious sauces and drizzled in glistening infused oils that can be fully taken advantage of with said starter bread. 

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A generously large jar is filled to the top with Duck Rilletes (RMB95), a sharing portion that could easily feed a small family, accompanied as it is by toast, cornichons and whole grain mustard. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Despite hailing from Spain, a thick bowl of Gaspacho (RMB125) makes its way onto this French countryside-leaning menu, adorned with a baby squid salad and shaved fennel. Deep in flavor with a peppery spice, this exemplary plate gets a boost of protein from tender mollusks. 

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The Tuna Tartare (RMB165) arrives tableside spilled across rippled, sliced and marinated artichoke heart. Textbook in ingredients – shallots, garlic, capers, cornichons and Dijon mustard – this is a characteristic example of an unassuming dish done right. 

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Celeriac purée topped with Grilled Octopus Leg (RMB195) is crowned with an herb salad and dots of herbaceous aioli coupled with a lashing of lemon zest oil. Together, these citrusy, fresh flavors form an anchor that allow the umami-rich seafood to take the lead. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Expertly seared Cod Fish (RMB185) is crisp with a brittle crust, yet flaky, while creamy celeriac mash topped with crunchy sautéed leeks act as a textural contrast on both extremes of the spectrum. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Lightly seared Foie Gras is paired with thick slabs of Oxtail (RMB185), another hefty portion that is ideally shared. A bright green lemon leaf and basil oil is pitted against a tangier teriyaki red wine sauce, cutting through the fattiness of both the oxtail and its indulgent foie gras sidekick. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

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Dessert sees timeless options – choux-like Tiramisu Puffs (RMB65) and lush Crème Brulée (RMB55) with a caramelized crust that shatters on impact, along with a Yuzu Tart (RMB60) and Basque Cheesecake (RMB70).

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The wine list, covering more than 320 vintages at any given time, is 90% French (in contrast to the original Bar à Vin's wine list that represents a global selection). But, with so much hailing from France, you can really discover one-off bottles and wines from small producers spanning a wide range of varietals that clock in from RMB250 to RMB700 per bottle. There are nearly ten total of reds, whites and sparkling available by the glass for RMB60-75.

In the same vein as Yao’s other venues, Le Saleya Bar à Vin isn’t a revolutionary wine bar concept, it’s straightforward, casual and notably charming. Whether it’s a patio-perched afternoon glass of wine or a full French dinner, Le Saleya Bar à Vin fits the bill. 


See a listing for. Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews.

[Cover Image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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