Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: December 2022

By Sophie Steiner, December 26, 2022

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As our diehard WeChat followers may have noticed, we haven’t posted a Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip article since March.

We figured listing out another round of mostly closures would just have added extraneous weight to the already soul-crushing pile of depressing news that has been this last year. Our mental health can only handle so many hits at once.

But – finally! – the scales have rebalanced, as openings begin to outweigh closures and all that is right in the world triumphs over evil. So, without further ado... let's have a good ol' gossip!

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Chef Carlos Sotomayer (previously of elEfante and UP Shanghai) is the man behind the menu at owner Justin Xu’s High Yaki The Sea. This new spot is the seafood-centric sister to the Japanese yakinuki restaurant that bears the same name, High Yaki, and izakaya Hundo – predecessors that both place a stronger emphasis on land rather than sea dwellers.

The menu consists of mostly small plates – sashimi, sushi, snacks and both cold and hot one-to-two biters – with a few mains and rice-based dishes to fill you up when your wallet can’t take anymore. You’ll find this seat-coveted spot in the new Hengshan 8 development.

READ MORE: High Yaki The Sea: Popular Yakiniku Explores the Oceans

Image courtesy of Mozzarella e Vino

Also opening in Henghsan 8, Mozzarella e Vino is neighborhood European bistro focused on – as the name suggests – all things cheese and wine.

Featuring mozzarella molding machines from Modena, Italy’s gastronomic capital, and the menu’s signature burrata, the cheese counter also displays the likes of Brie, Mimolette, Manchego, Emmental and Comté, to name a few.

Open from brunch until the evening, this is a place to get your sip (and snack) on. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Speaking of brunch, breakfast and all things morning eats, Moofin, a neighborhood breakfast sandwich and pastry shop, is expanding to Jing'an with a second location in the new Moho Mall on Jiagning Lu, just south of Haifang Lu. When life gives you COVID, eat muffins. 

Situated on Yuyuan Lu, Chef Tom Ryu Taehyeok (Jeju Izakaya, Professor Lee, Belloco, Botong Sikdang) has launched another Korean spot, Pado. More casual than it's neighbor, Jeju Izakaya, Pado focuses on Korean comforts, offered up in a mix of seafood and meat-centric dishes.

The darklit, streamlined designed space is still welcoming for lunch. The menu offers a number of heartier dishes as well, like seafood tteokbokki, garlic pork belly and spicy octopus, as well as Pado's already signature crab fishcake soup.

We've never not enjoyed a Chef Tom meal, so we are looking forward to sinking our chops into another of his innovative Korean feasts.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Winner of the 2021 That’s Shanghai Food & Drink Award Chef of the Year, Chef Lucky Lasagna has parted ways with Italo to launch his first ever independent restaurant, Bambino, with the Juke team – Chef Michael Janczewski (Bastard, Juke) and Sebastien Dallee (Juke, previously of Italo) on the creative side, plus cocktails curated by Colin Tait (ShakeBlack Rock).  

A bastion to all things comforting and good in this world, Chef Lucky’s bold flavors and unapologetically soulful style carry over to Bambino, with the restaurant’s new tagline “cucina furiosa.” He’s not afraid to share his humble home comfort flavors as food that feeds both the stomach and the heart in this 30-seater trattoria on Shanxi Bei Lu that used to house Popot.


Image courtesy of La Siesta

Right next door to Bambino, Chef Sergio Moreno (previously of Commune Social) has teamed up with Isaac Ye (Tres Perros) and is taking it back to his Andalusian Spanish roots with his new venue La Siesta.

Traveling along Spain’s southern coast, the soft opening menu features Spanish signatures like salmorejo – a blended bread gazpacho-esque cold soup; berenjenas con miel – discs of lightly breaded and fried eggplant drizzled in cane sugary honey; flamenquín cordobés – a deep-fried pork loin stuffed with ham and cheese; and other tapas faves, all ideally enjoyed in a casual setting, a cold, frothy mug of San Miguel in hand.

And this is just the beginning; as the menu develops, expect deeply niche regional specialties like zurrappa and gazpachuelo. 

Trio-concept venue ØSP on Jiaozhou Lu is the brainchild of previous World’s 50 Best China and South Korea chair, foodie extraordinaire and luxury dining scene aficionado, Boris Yu. His opulent taste can be noted in all aspects from concept to design to menus to execution; there are no corners being cut, unless it's by the highest end chef’s knife on the market.

The letters of the venue each stand for one of the three components; Ø is for omakase – a dining room featuring one multi-course chef’s menu; S stands for savour – a cocktail lounge and bar with drinks curated by the Hope & Sesame team; and P represents pøp – an upstairs pop-up kitchen.

With an interior designed by Hiroshi Fujiwara – a Japanese musician, fashion icon and globally influential streetwear designer – and a lineup of chefs ready to take over both the omakase and pøp menus rolling into next year, expect nothing but the utmost grandeur during your visit. 

The Hope & Sesame group has been busy in Shanghai lately, with their hand in another venue – Dentree in Anken Air (where Camden Hauge once had Maiya Rice Canteen and then a second Egg).

Partnering up with the Muse Group (The Nest, The Cannery) and Remy Cointreau, this powerhouse trio is gunning for a coveted spot on the Asia’s 50 Best list with their take on the newest trend in the drinks biz – sustainable cocktails.

Think single origin this, locally-sourced that and a smattering of underutilized proteins, all done up with unexpected ingredients – so exactly what we would expect from Hope & Sesame, a group known for possibly the most theatric cocktails China has ever seen. There are also some equally out-there bar bites. Pigs brain fritters, anyone? 

Image courtesy of Anokhi

Following the opening of the second location of Khan Chacha last year, restauranteur and Chef Jibin Arjunan is at it again with Anokhi, the second in his lineup of modern Indian cuisine restaurants.

Situation in The Weave on Wuxing Lu, the menu sees everything from Indian street food – chaat – to belly filling curries, grilled meats, seafood and kebabs. 

Outfitted by MTM Design, Mind Yakinuki has set up shop on Donghu Lu with a menu full of Japanese BBQ staples. Run by the Kanpai Group, we’ve heard the meats are just as good as the interior design. 

Near the Bund, on the top floor of Shamei Mansion, the Upper Room – a two-for-one concept – has kicked off, with drinks designed by Mark Lloyd (J. Boroski).

The rooftop bar is all about the rum drinks, while the indoor bar sees travel-inspired sippers (since none of us remember what it feels like to actually travel). The same building also hosts The Living Room, with a Western brunch, lunch and dinner menu. 

Image courtesy of Union Trading Co.

After being forced to close for over eight months due to COVID restrictions, Union Trading Co. finally reopened in November, managing to avoid any layoffs while maintaining full benefits and salaries for employees – no easy feat.

Hats off to the team and congrats on finally getting to take advantage of the new space on Hengshan Lu you moved into end of January.  

Oh yeah, and Xuhui’s favorite whisky bar – Senator Saloon – re-opened earlier this month; time to swing by for a nostalgic Old Fashioned and to pour one out for all those we missed this year. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Sadly, not all news can be positive, and Shanghai saw a more than a few good men fall as a result of COVID restrictions. The Camel – the absolute definition of a Shanghai institution, the OG sports bar, one that has housed the original quiz night for over a decade, countless That's Shanghai Sports Awards, the original home of SantaCon, and a venue that has survived two moves throughout its 13-year Shanghai life, closed down on December 18, going out with a bang by showing the World Cup Final.

Some good news from The Camel Group, though – The Blarney Stone is finally back open on Yongkang Lu.

Image courtesy of The Rooster

Another beloved drinking hole and free flow brunch icon, The Rooster on Shanxi Bei Lu is bidding the adieu on December 30 with an all day and all night closing party, rocking out with their “rooster” out until the wee hours of the morning.

New landlords with lofty redevelopment plans and ending leases are regrettably how too many of these pillars tumble. Their second location, the recently converted Perch, will still remain open as The Rooster Jiagning Lu for all your Wing Night needs. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Lizzy’s All Natural – our go-to for meal plans, smoothies and healthy lunch breaks – closed up shop (and online store) following National Week in October. Now we will be forced to make our own smoothies and nut butters. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

On the other side of the diet spectrum, but still just as beloved of an institution – Strictly Cookies – sent out a message saying that, after a 12+ year run, their final days of serving cookies to the masses will be December 31.

Goodbye Mookies, farewell Cookie of the Month, au revoir Spookies, adios Rainbow Pride Cookies and zai jian to our favorite Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies in the city. You will be missed. 

And woefully, that’s not all for the double-digit-year Shanghai venues – Inferno, Shanghai’s answer to all things metal and the devil for the last 11 years, has shuttered its doors in United Valley. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Rap and hip-hop club UP Shanghai has closed, but immediately reopened as PALACE, and over by the Bund, Heritage by Madison – the late Austin Hu’s third Madison-named restaurant – served its final guests this month.

From boldly using locally sourced ingredients for Western fare at the original Madison on Dongping Lu to sneaking kimchi into monstrous grilled cheeses at Madison Kitchen to a rigorous reinterpretation of flavors from someone who spent his life bouncing between cultures at Heritage by Madison, the Madison restaurant trilogy’s final chapter has sadly come to an end. 

Got a hot tip? Feel free to email all juicy rumors to 

Read more Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip.

[Cover image via]

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