The Shanghai Scoop is a monthly column dedicated to the latest food and drink news happening in Shanghai. Here is a round-up of the newest restaurants and bars, hotel news, and upcoming projects.
Together — A contemporary French-Asian restaurant with sizeable portions that are made for sharing. Date night, double dates, large group feeding frenzy…it’s good for all those things.
Together is the favorite opening of the month. Everything I’ve had here, I’ve liked. The contemporary French-Asian menu is led by Chef Bina Yu, who was previously at CHI-Q, Three on the Bund, and has trained under the illustrious Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Bina’s food ticks all the boxes—beautifully presented, calculated flavors, distinct flavor profiles, and can be understood and enjoyed by just about any kind of diner.
From the sinful Tournedos Pork with pepperoncini sauce to the umami rich barbecued eel with truffle foie gras, it’s impossible not to fawn the food.
Desserts are crafted by Kim Melvin, the chef extraordinaire responsible for the irresistible sweet treats at The Commune Social. Ice creams galore and cakes you’d sooner steal off the counter than share with your dining companion.
It’s great. Actually, it’s amazing. At least for this humble diner, it’s the highlight of the month.
Urban Café — The all-day dining restaurant at the Sukhothai Shanghai. An unlikely place to find excellent Southeast Asian food that’s accessibly priced. Malaysian chef Marcus Ng is killing it!
Urban Café surprises with impressive Southeast Asian food. It’s possible one of few all-day dining hotel restaurants I could see myself eating at regularly. They have a great Pad Thai, Thai-flavored scotch eggs, addictive rendang, and desserts that remind me of home. It’s affordable too—3, 5, 7 courses for ¥188, ¥288, and ¥368.
I’ve already recommended it countless times since my visit.
Café Gray Deluxe — Western cuisine with a few global dishes bolstered by the weightiness of acclaimed chefs in the Middle House hotel.
At the neighboring Middle House hotel is Café Gray Deluxe. It’s an import from The Upper House in Hong Kong and bears the lofty name of Gray Kunz. Steering the wheel is Peter Lin, previously of The Peninsula Shanghai, and former candidate representing Team China in Bocuse d’Or. Interiors are very artsy. The Middle House has taken great care to acquire both provoking and elegant art pieces.
Most of the dishes are great, but some are a hit and miss. The seared seabass with yellow bell pepper emulsion is the highlight, seared to a crispy finish yet juicy, paired with a peppery and exotic Muhammara sauce. The dessert of chilled “soup” of pear and chrysanthemum leaves a long lasting impression that you’d think uncommon of such a light and cool dish.
Less fancy and more approachable is the lovable café Tartine on Jianguo Xi Lu.
Here, you’ll find coffee, healthy desserts, open-faced sandwiches, a few brunchy items, and shelves of health-inclined products.
758 Julu Lu’s Building No. 2 has gotten out of its leasing freeze and is now open for takers. If that address sounds familiar, that’s because it’s where Lost Bakery, Lost Heaven Silk Road, newly opened Atelier by Taste Buds, and Beach House reside. There’s another block tucked around back that’s just ripe for the taking. Let the bidding wars begin!
Plant-based restaurant MissGreen is due to open this fall on The Bund and in Sanlitun in Beijing. It’s led by Vivian Chang, executive chef and advocate for plant-based lifestyle. She’s more like an envoy for plant-based living—armed with an unwavering passion, supporting the A-to-Z of eco-friendly ideas, sustainability, feel-good lifestyle, and clean eating.
MissGreen PlantLab will be modeled after Chang’s wildly popular Taipei restaurant of the same name. Dishes aim to cover international flavors, but are likely to gravitate towards Southeast Asian and European profiles.
Logan Brouse (Logan’s Punch), Saira Shazad and Thijs Oomens (BYFO Hot Sauce), and Adrian Wall (Joe’s Pizza) are opening Tacolicious in the space of Goga. It’ll be…you guessed it—tacos. We hear the menu will have double shell crispy tacos, filled with smoked beef brisket, chicken asado, mapo tofu, and more. They’ll also be serving ceviches. And with what we’ve experienced at Logan’s Punch, the drinks won’t disappoint.
Opening this June at the basement level of K11 and in July at Raffles City is RATIO, another robot café. This time, it’s coffee and cocktails. The idea is each order can be tailored to precise measurements, all made through WeChat. From how many shots of espresso, shots of alcohol per kind of mixer, to the way your cocktail is make (shaken vs stirred), the app lets you do it all. Timeout Shanghai has a comprehensive summary here.
Chef Sean Jorgensen is moving from Highline to The Cannery. Chef Freddy Raoult (The Nest, The Cannery) will be switching out from the Yuyuan Lu gastrolounge to work on “The Nestling”. The Nestling is a three-part concept that is due to open at the end of this year. It’ll be a casual all-day cafe and bakery, a lounge space for dinner, and a cocktail bar (with outdoor space to boot).
The Plump Oyster is finally making use of its gorgeous rooftop terrace, turning it into Вотаиik. It’s from the same people behind Osteria, powered by Rudy Guo, organizer for the China Shuck Off and proprietor of Osteria. The concept is driven by master forager Elijah Holland, formerly of Noma Australia. It’s certainly one to look forward to.
Restaurant & Bar Closings
Little Catch OG and Brother’s Kebab have closed on Wulumuqi Lu. Thankfully, both have other locations and will continue to satisfy through delivery!
Outback closed all of its locations overnight. That’s all, as in every outlet in China. They plastered a printed notice on their doors. Read more about it here.
We found out just now that Little Catch closed their Xintiandi location last week. Thankfully, they’ll be opening on Yanping Lu in the old Pure & Whole space at the end of July.
EKEKO closed abruptly yesterday. I wrote about them in last month’s Scoop.
Below is a statement written in collaboration with Carlos Sotomayor and restaurant manager Jenny Yang, who, as you can imagine, are now open to explore new opportunities. Official statement below:
The company, FULU Group, decided earlier this week to close EKEKO. The final day of operation was May 31, 2018.
The decision stems from multiple reasons. The powers that be at FULU Group have weighed the pros and cons of running a Peruvian restaurant of this level of complexity. Simply put, the Shanghai market is not yet ready for this style of dining. Additionally, the reason for “now” is that FULU Group wanted to end their relationship with the staff on a good note.
To be clear, the closure of EKEKO has nothing to do with business licenses, company closures, landlord issues, or the sort. It’s just that sometimes in business, you have to know when to cut your losses. In this case, a concept that hadn’t even had time to find its footing was halted before it could have been developed into something more mature.
“It’s an idea that didn’t get to grow up. “Genesis” was just that—this whole project was about exploration. We knew we had the space for a limited amount of time. The idea was to run it as a test concept, and move at the end of the year—the high rent on Donghu Lu would eventually push us to find a new spot. Then, we had the space and we had the chance to try. Maybe in the near future, EKEKO will return.” — Carlos Sotomayor.
Sushi Oyama, Racines, and Ochobo will remain open.
That’s all for last month’s recap! Stay tuned for the next F&B news column.