Suzie – Revamped Lane House Turned Cozy French Bistro & Wine Bar

By Sophie Steiner, November 23, 2021

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The Place 

Powerhouse restaurateur and wine aficionado Li Ze (Ottimo, SOiF, theWarehouse) is at again, with the recent launch of yet another modern French bistro – Suzie – next to the Capella Complex. The revamped lane house-cum-European wine bar is dedicated to all things Champagne and Burgundy, as well as some luxury Italian wines. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A work of art, the wine menu is compiled by in-house sommelier Yonex Zhang (OttimotheWarehous), who curated a prestigious 600-SKU portfolio, heavy on the Grand Crus – the highest and most well-respected wine classification within the appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC), the governing board over the wines produced in Burgundy and Alsace, France.

Heads up – it has the price tags to match; to avoid sticker shock, it’s good to know going in that bottles start around RMB600, with no real price ceiling. 

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Full-time chef Freddy Raoult (The Nest, menu design for SOiF) is behind the traditional French menu, an indulgent smattering of lux buzz word ingredients – oysters, caviar, truffle, foie gras and wagyu – as if Shanghai would allow it any other way. 

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The devil is in the details, and Suzie – a fictitious maître d' that the restaurant is named after – has got all the nuts and bolts sorted. White tablecloths, Baccarat flatware, bedazzled chandeliers and globular stemware all packaged in a warmly lit, European neighborhood-esque bistro. 

The Food

The assortment of high-end French fare is elegant in its simplicity – minimal on amount of ingredients, with an emphasis on the quality of those that are used. 

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Customarily heavy with cream, the Oysters Gratinées (RMB78/piece) here are delicate, with an airy whipped champagne sabayon covering stewed spinach and chives, and a briny, slurpable oyster lurking beneath. If you take yours raw, half a dozen French oysters go for RMB458-508.

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The epitome of a gamey nibble, the Venison Tartare Nordic (RMB130) sees minced dark purple cubes of lean New Zealand venison mingled with pickled cucumber and kohlrabi, and flanked by dots of smoked mayo and a spicy herb dressing. A fried, spiced lichen adorns the top to add a veritable crunch.

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Crunchy leeks and soft potato form the base of the velvet Leek and Potato Parmentier (RMB195) – a rich broth filled with poached oyster and crowned with a scoop of caviar. Albeit a bit one note, a gasp of citrus or a whorl of vinegar could add depth of flavor. 

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Expertly seared BBQ Scallops (RMB175) are drizzled with a sweet and smoky barbecue sauce, accented by sour orange and herb oil, and rest on charred cabbage. Pair any or all of the above starters with a selection from the 12 wines by the glass that rotate monthly. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Unmistakably French, the Oyster Blade Burgundy (RMB195) is a rustic stew of slow-cooked oyster blade, carrots, maitake mushrooms and pancetta, bathing in a red wine jus.

The supple licks of beef flavor coat every opulent spoonful, where the last dregs are just begging to be sopped up by the crusty, baked-fresh-daily sourdough served at the beginning of the meal. 

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Decadence in all its glory, the Albufera Morrel Pasta (RMB268) hosts cylindrical rigatoni noodles, interspersed with diced morels, all doused in a lavish foie gras purée, port wine reduction and beef jus albufera sauce.

A generous serving of shaved truffle and parmesan dust the top, bringing together one of the most sinfully delicious bites we’ve experienced this year. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Other mains span meuniere style Dover Sole (RMB518), flaky Pigeon & Foie Gras Wellington (RMB638) and medium-rare seared T-bones (RMB798/500 grams) and Bone-in-Ribeye (RMB1,400/1 kilo).

Sides include burnt-edged, wood-oven Roasted Leeks, Cabbage or Maitake (RMB50/each) and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes (RMB50)

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Although the menu warns a 45-minute wait, the Chocolate Soufflé (RMB95) is worth the extra digestion time; the crisp, cakey top is reminiscent of a fresh-out-of-the-oven pan of dark cocoa brownies, that when pierced, reveals a trembly center. 

The very best part, however, comes in the form of ultra-creamy vanilla bean ice cream that, when placed on top, melts in a matter of seconds, sinking deeper into the molten lava chocolate center, forming a luscious cakey soup.

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The treacly Warm Chestnut Brandy Tart (RMB75) is similarly fluffy, with a toffee-like center, served alongside a heaping quenelle of porcini-maple syrup ice cream; a curious matchup of earthy and sweet that had us licking the plate clean. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Aside from wine, classic cocktails – like a New York Sour, Bramble, Penicillin and Spumoni – are on offer for RMB89, while non-alcoholic cocktails go for RMB79. 

The Vibe

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Upstairs houses the walk-in wine cellar, more table seating, a few semi-private balcony spots for couples, and two private rooms, each fitting 6-8 guests.

Although seating accommodates roughly 50 people, the number of waitstaff makes diners feel like they always have personalized attention, another benefit included in the price. 

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The cozy space encourages a ‘treat yourself’ vibe, with the building blocks to match – luxury ingredients and abundant wine across the board. Despite the open floor plan, the dim lighting creates an air of seclusion, making it ideal for your next romantic date night. 

Price: RMB500-900
Who’s Going: Anyone and everyone who works in the wine industry, wine lovers, French food addicts
Good For: Date nights, wine explorations, treat yourself foodie sessions

See a listing for Suzie. Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews.

[Cover Image by Sophie Steiner/That’s]

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