Three new openings within a block of each other. Contemporary Chinese eatery Bastard, cocktail bar Post No Bills, and croffle slingin’ café Circle.


Bastard

Address: No. 102, Bldg 30, 319 Jiaozhou Lu, near Wuding Lu 胶州路319弄30号102室, 近武定路
Tel: 13162076826
Hours: Tue-Sat, 6pm-midnight; closed Mon-Sun (soft opening)

Bastard is a contemporary Chinese restaurant by chef Michael Janczewski in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

This season’s hyped up new opening is Bastard, a contemporary Chinese eatery serving small bites and natural wine, led by chef Michael Janczewski (Juke) and Jiro (formerly Bird, Bitter).

Bastard is a contemporary Chinese restaurant by chef Michael Janczewski in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Bastard has quite the unique location, situated all the way at the end of the residential lane, in a building that was once a popular youth hostel. It’s a small, ultra-stylish space with seating for about 25 people. They’ve really made a bold statement with the interiors, juxtaposing industrial walls with bright magenta tables and a neon-lit metal-top bar. It’s so hip. It’s one of those places where you go to be seen.

Bastard is a contemporary Chinese restaurant by chef Michael Janczewski in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

The menu is a hodgepodge of dishes inspired by Chinese cuisines and flavors, which are then mixed up with Asian and Western influences. Like the name suggests, they seek to “bastardize” Chinese food with an inventive, tasty twist.

Bastard is a contemporary Chinese restaurant by chef Michael Janczewski in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Fried Tofu (¥38) – Two tiny pieces of fried tofu topped with diced century egg, dried prawn, and roasted Hunan chili. Mildly spicy.
Bastard is a contemporary Chinese restaurant by chef Michael Janczewski in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Yellowtail (¥108) – A yellowtail crudo in a lively sauce made with green Sichuan peppercorns. Has a naughty kick of spice.
Bastard is a contemporary Chinese restaurant by chef Michael Janczewski in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Assorted Beef Taco (¥78) – A scallion pancake (which I’m hoping is at least made in house) with sesame paste, a type of sweet sauce, beef brisket, tripe, and tongue, and a healthy helping of raw shallots and cilantro. Very tasty, gone in two bites.
Bastard is a contemporary Chinese restaurant by chef Michael Janczewski in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Spring Roll (¥68) – A single spring roll filled with eel and “hing kee sauce.” The “dish” is forgettable, except you’d remember you paid ¥68 for a single spring roll.
Bastard is a contemporary Chinese restaurant by chef Michael Janczewski in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Sichuan Charcuterie Smoked & Stuffed Chicken Wing (¥78) – A single wing stuffed with rice and Sichuan cured meats, slow braised in a masterstock.
Bastard is a contemporary Chinese restaurant by chef Michael Janczewski in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Mayura Wagyu M9 Bavette (¥138) – Thin slices of exceptional quality raw beef topped with smoked chili beef fat vinaigrette, tiny wood ear mushrooms, shredded leek, and an egg yolk. Creamy, slightly smoky, and rich.
Bastard is a contemporary Chinese restaurant by chef Michael Janczewski in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Charsiu (¥138) – Thick pieces of Iberico pork glazed in honey and Yunnan rose jam. It’s textbook Charsiu with a subtle flavor difference.
Bastard is a contemporary Chinese restaurant by chef Michael Janczewski in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Crispy Saliva Chicken (¥138) – Deliciously crispy chicken topped with fried garlic and lemon. If anything, this is the dish to come for.
Bastard is a contemporary Chinese restaurant by chef Michael Janczewski in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Bastard Ban Mian (¥78) – Homemade noodles with Xinjiang Dan Dan Sauce, cumin, and crispy panko. Tasty and comforting.

Cocktails (highballs) from ¥78, wines by the glass from ¥78, beer from ¥58.

Bastard is a contemporary Chinese restaurant by chef Michael Janczewski in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

There is no doubt that the food at Bastard is tasty. However, the sticker shock is a lot to bear for the small plate portions. It is pricey almost to the point of fury. A single eel spring roll for ¥68 and Dan Dan Mian for ¥78 is exorbitant, because while delicious, it’s not particularly new, exciting, nor inventive. A great name, a great concept in theory, but it falls short on expectation.

Dinner was ¥900 for two without alcoholic drinks, and having ordered nearly the entire menu, both me and my dining companion left full, but only “just full.” I wouldn’t recommend it as a dinner date spot, as tables are tightly packed, almost mushed together, and the volume quite loud. But otherwise, it’s a hip and lively setting that’s better enjoyed with friends.


Post No Bills

Address: 970 Wuding Lu, near Jiaozhou Lu 武定路970号, 近胶州路
Tel: 13167229117
Hours: Daily, 5pm-1am

Post No Bills is a cocktail bar by bartender Ana Souza in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Post No Bills is an American-inspired neighborhood cocktail bar by bartender Ana Souza (The Pontiac HK, 1515 West). It’s a fun destination with a great vibe and an excellent playlist, slinging quirky concoctions, classic cocktails, and hella tasty bar bites.

Post No Bills is a cocktail bar by bartender Ana Souza in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

The best way I can think of to describe Post No Bills is “dive bar chic.” It’s a fairly simple space, save for the concrete walls plastered with bills (oh, the irony), stickers, and a miscellany of pop culture references. There are also a couple of seats outside, and those are often snapped up.

Post No Bills is a cocktail bar by bartender Ana Souza in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Ana Souza

The tidy bar is warm and welcoming, but especially so if Ana herself is behind the bar. She will chat up almost anyone with fervor, an energy that can only explained as excitement of opening her own spot.

Post No Bills is a cocktail bar by bartender Ana Souza in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Ana, center, in Pikachu form.

On the drinks menu are seven signature cocktails and classics with a twist from ¥78 to ¥98.

Post No Bills is a cocktail bar by bartender Ana Souza in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Fresh Prince (¥78) – Laird’s Applejack, Earl Grey infused Crème De Cacao Blanc, and lemon. Light, refreshing, and very crushable.
Post No Bills is a cocktail bar by bartender Ana Souza in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
School’s Out For Summer (¥78) – Chairman’s White Rum, strawberry cordial, lemon, coconut water, and lemon meringue. Slightly savory with a creamy lemon meringue foam. A drink that goes down too easily.
Post No Bills is a cocktail bar by bartender Ana Souza in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
24Karrots (¥88) – Tequila Arette, carrot and ginger juice, Suze, jalapeños, and salt. It’s like a spiked fresh fruit juice. Dangerously delicious.
Post No Bills is a cocktail bar by bartender Ana Souza in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Penicillin (¥88) – As classic as classic goes.

The food menu is courtesy of chef Carlos Sotomayor, who’s put on some killer sandwiches in addition to delicious bar bites. Whatever you do, don’t miss the Philly Cheese Steak.

Post No Bills is a cocktail bar by bartender Ana Souza in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Philly Cheese Steak (¥95) – An artery clogger for sure, but one you’d gladly take up HIIT to make up for it. Thinly sliced M3 Australian beef with house made cheese sauce, bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions on a hoagie roll. It’s beast of a sandwich.
Post No Bills is a cocktail bar by bartender Ana Souza in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Chicken Sando (¥65) – Crispy chicken thigh with tomato sauce, provolone, and arugula on a brioche bun. It’s like a chicken parm sandwich. It’s enjoyable, but pales in comparison to the cheese steak.
Post No Bills is a cocktail bar by bartender Ana Souza in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Mac & Cheese Bites (¥45) – Three-cheese sauce macaroni bites dusted with parmesan and bacon bits, served with chipotle mayo. I dare say they’re better than the ones at Beef & Liberty.
Post No Bills is a cocktail bar by bartender Ana Souza in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Buffalo Cauliflower (¥45) – Battered cauliflower tossed in tangy buffalo dressing, topped with onion relish and served with a refreshing yogurt sauce. A highly addictive vegetarian snack option.
Post No Bills is a cocktail bar by bartender Ana Souza in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Loaded Potatoes (¥85) – Cheese doused potato wedges topped with braised Cajun M3 short ribs.

Daily happy hour runs from 5-8pm, selected drinks at reduced prices; classic cocktails from ¥50, house wine from ¥40, and Asahi for ¥35.

Post No Bills is a cocktail bar by bartender Ana Souza in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Post No Bills certainly stands out as it offers a completely different atmosphere to its neighbors. The vibe on most nights is convivial, and conversation with strangers is inevitable, which is nice to see, as there are fewer venues that are a good conduit for that. Good for drinks with friends or for making new ones.


Circle

Address: A1, 1105 Wuding Lu, near Yanping Lu 武定路1105号A1, 近延平路
Tel: 18116458951
Hours: Daily, 8am-midnight

Circle is a cafe and bar serving croffles and simple dishes in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Circle is a café and bar that serves sweet and savory croffles, waffles, and simple meals. It’s easy-going fare in a modest if not bare space.

The croffles are OK. I expected them to be airier, akin to croissants, but they’re only slightly less dense than American waffles with a much more crispy exterior. These are served sweet or savory, or even as “wafflewiches.” Circle also has a number of tasty and affordable rice bowls, which make for a good lunch option for those in the neighborhood.

Circle is a cafe and bar serving croffles and simple dishes in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Beef Wafflewich (¥88) – A burger that swaps brioche buns for waffles. It’s hearty, and tastes as expected.
Circle is a cafe and bar serving croffles and simple dishes in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Cinnamon Apple Caramel Waffle (¥52) – Tender, caramelized apples spiced with cinnamon.
Circle is a cafe and bar serving croffles and simple dishes in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Circle Blue Sky Yogurt Waffle (¥48) – Waffles topped with house made blueberry yogurt and fruit. One of their signatures.
Circle is a cafe and bar serving croffles and simple dishes in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Roasted Chicken Wings (¥58) – Excellent wings with a sticky and savory glaze. One of the dozen bar bites on the menu.
Circle is a cafe and bar serving croffles and simple dishes in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Ms C Chicken Brown Rice (¥36) – Honestly, this dish was more memorable than the waffles. It’s a huge portion of mixed brown and white rice with a creamy chicken and mushroom stew. It’s a simple, tasty meal for an unbeatable price.

As for drinks, Circle has a full bar; beers and wines by the glass from ¥48. There’s also a daily happy hour from 4:30pm-8pm, selected beers buy-one-get-one.

It’s not much to write home about, but it’s still worth going if you’re a fiend for waffles. Come evening, it turns into more of a bar. Suitable for casual meet-ups.