Here are all the new restaurant and bar openings we featured in our January 2017 issue:
Braceria Pugliese is the latest culinary effort by Caroppo Angelo, the veritable godfather of Shenzhen’s Italian cuisine, who can boast a 12-year history of running city staples such as Trattoria Italiana and Mediterranean Sun. On your next visit we recommend starting with the cold cut platter of dry-cured ham, mortadella and salami presented with cheeses whose flavors pair well with the meat’s. At RMB100, this selection costs more than the main dish, but the price is in line with Shenzhen’s other Italian eateries. We can also suggest ordering the RMB65 polpettone – something of an Italian meatloaf – hardy fare that will ensure you leave full.
Who’s going: foodies, groups on a night out
Good for: casual Italian, wood-oven cooked meats
Over just a few months Eager earned a reputation for high-speed servings of quality salad, pasta and steak, with prices that neatly fit the spending power of Futian CBD’s white-collar workers. The creamy, lightly cheesy risotto (RMB58) is one of the most popular lunches, though it is on the soft side – a tweek for the Chinese market. Perhaps best left for the evening rush, the small black mussels with parsley and lemon have a slight salty tang. We’re told they are imported from France, hence the RMB128 price tag per bowl, making it a side best shared among friends who are also sharing the bill.
Who’s going: white collars, super monkey gym members
Good for: fast and affordable Italian
Wagas might be old news to Shanghai hands, but its entrance to the Shenzhen market is so recent the location is yet to be listed on its official website, which claims there are already dozens of mainland outlets. In true Shenzhen fashion, Wagas allows you to sit at a table and order your meal through WeChat – a not entirely painless process because one must first set up an account. After going through the registration rigmarole, we order the spaghetti with ground black pepper and chicken (RMB60). It’s a light dish and a bit on the plain side despite a healthy sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. For people who dislike cumin, we suggest you avoid the roasted Australian beef, coleslaw and curried pickle aioli sandwich (RMB58), which comes smothered in the herb despite no mention of it on the menu.
Who’s going: expats, weary shoppers
Good for: a break from buying winter clothes, chatting with friends, dessert
Down a quiet Jingtian side street, 622 Beer Warehouse sits between a pizza shop and a sushi joint – a good location, because the humble, wood-floored bar doesn't have a kitchen, instead welcoming patrons to order out. Stocking 300 kinds of mostly bottled beer, according to owner Max Yiu’s count, only a portion of it sits in a brightly lit refrigerator, the rest on floor-to-ceiling shelving or boxed away in dusty corners. That means most of the beer is exposed to a changing room temperature, running the risk of eventually affecting taste, though we don’t find that problem on our visit. The establishment has the chill part down, but 622 Beer Warehouse has bar-street prices. RMB50 gets a 500-milliliter draft of fruity Blanche De Bruxelles and RMB100 fetches a full liter. This price scheme extends to the few beers on tap, including the citrusy, California-made Easy Jack IPA.
Who’s going: Jingtian locals, import beer drinkers
Good for: bottled ales paired with any food you bring, chilling out and lightening your wallet
Located a 10-minute walk from Houhai station, E.T. Brewery is at the base of an apartment compound and near a real estate agency whose more wayward employees are having a rowdy, beer-spilling time from a second floor vantage when we visit. An early attempt at combining Chinese tastes with modern brewing is the MC&HNY (RMB40), a 7-percent ABV stout that incorporates Chinese angelica, a parsley-family plant popular in wintertime Chinese medicine. The earthy, cinnamon sweet brew is intriguing, but difficult to imagine draining a full 400-milliliter pint of. The La Jennesse IPA (RMB40) runs along more traditional craft beer lines as an IPA that uses Australian Galaxy hops to create a bitter, fruity 6.5 percent ABV brew.
Who’s going: craft beer drinkers, curious neighbors
Good for: a Chinese twist on craft beer