Two soft openings: Crave, an all-day cafe and bakery; and Torisawa, a Japanese restaurant and bar for yakitori. There’s also Lenotre, a famed French patisserie, which opened late last year in Xintiandi.


Crave | Bakery, Brunch & Wine

Address: 208-1 Xinle Lu, near Donghu Lu 新乐路208-1号, 近东湖路
Soft Opening Hours: 9am-6pm, closed Monday

Crave is a café and wine bar at the Xinle Lu and Donghu Lu nexus. Fresh baked pastries and coffee, photogenic sandwiches and breakfast plates, and wines by the glass. And they have a coveted corner lot terrace.

Crave, a cafe, bakery and wine bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

On the lunch menu are sandwiches and breakfast plates from ¥58 to ¥108.

Crave, a cafe, bakery and wine bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Kouign Amann (¥18) – Mini versions of the crispy, buttery, sweet treat. Excellent.
Crave, a cafe, bakery and wine bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Coffee Walnut Tart (¥48) – Heavy on the coffee (as it should be), and a nice crust.
Crave, a cafe, bakery and wine bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Mortadella Ham Sandwich (¥68) – Slices of mortadella, mozzarella, mascarpone cream, spinach, garlic oil, vinaigrette, nuts and raisins.
Crave, a cafe, bakery and wine bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Steak Sandwich (¥78) – Sliced steak, confit potatoes, cornichons, caramelized onion and garlic mayo. This one was pretty tasty.
Crave, a cafe, bakery and wine bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Sausage Brunch Plate (¥98) with side salad, avocado, eggs, bacon, vegetables, and bread. There’s a lot going on here. Not a fan of the bacon, but the sausages are good.

Drinks situation: Espresso/Americano (¥26); wines by the glass from ¥50-100, beer from ¥35, cocktails from ¥60.

Crave, a cafe, bakery and wine bar in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

It’s good for a quick lunch if you’re in the area. The pastries are great. (Get that Kouign Amann!) The outdoor seating will definitely draw a crowd.

Currently in soft opening. Crave will add evening hours and a dinner menu around mid-May. Terrace is dog-friendly.


Torisawa | Yakitori

Address: 1515 Nanjing Xi Lu, Jing An Kerry Centre, S1-04, South Block, near Yan’an Zhong Lu 南京西路1515号静安嘉里中心南区商场 S1-04, 近延安中路
Tel: 18018657741
Hours: 11am-1am

Torisawa, a Japanese yakitori restaurant in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Torisawa is a modern Japanese yakitori restaurant on the ground floor of the Jing An Kerry Centre. Chic interiors with bar counter seating around the open kitchen, an adjacent cocktail bar, excellent service, and every part of the chicken served.

Torisawa, a Japanese yakitori restaurant in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Affordable Japanese food concepts like yakitoris and izakayas are in. And like most new restaurants in this category, Torisawa has invested in sleek interiors.

Torisawa, a Japanese yakitori restaurant in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Torisawa has also partnered by with Speak Low for the drinks—more than a dozen signature cocktails (¥78-¥128) from the award-winning speakeasy bar, plus a wide selection of whiskies and sake.

Torisawa, a Japanese yakitori restaurant in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

On the menu is chicken—all of the parts save for the beak, skewered and set on the charcoal grill. There are the usual suspects (entry level cuts) of chicken breast, wing tips, skin, thigh, gizzards and heart.

Torisawa, a Japanese yakitori restaurant in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

The menu also lists “rare parts” like tail, knee, shirako (sperm sacs), ovary, and aorta, which are regular cuts you’d find at yakitoris in Japan. In addition to skewers are appetizers, rice/noodle dishes, and vegetables.

Torisawa, a Japanese yakitori restaurant in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Chicken thigh (¥22)
Torisawa, a Japanese yakitori restaurant in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Crunchy chicken gizzards (¥18)
Torisawa, a Japanese yakitori restaurant in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Chicken Ovary (¥24) – The muscle the taste and texture of liver, while the ovaries themselves are like egg yolks encased in a thin membrane. For the adventurous eater.
Torisawa, a Japanese yakitori restaurant in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Chilled bitter gourd and cherry tomato (¥38)
Torisawa, a Japanese yakitori restaurant in Jing'an, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Rice Cake (¥20) – Fluffy, marshmallow-like rice cakes with potato and cheese. Definitely order these.

It’s good. It’s affordable. For food, expect to spend about ¥150 and above. The big draw is the sleek space (date night, business dinners) and the great service.


Lenotre | Patisserie & French Food

Address: 123 Xinye Lu, L2-216, 2/F, Xintiandi Mall, near Madang Lu 兴业路123号新天地南L2-216, 近马当路
Tel: 63338657
Hours: 10am-10pm

Lenotre French patisserie, bakery, cakes in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

Lenotre is a famed Parisian patisserie and restaurant founded in 1957. It opened a branch in Shanghai’s Xintiandi mall December last year. They serve a tidy French menu, complete with brunch and dinner dishes. However, you’re here for the chocolates, macaroons, pastries and cakes.

Lenotre French patisserie, bakery, cakes in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Lenotre French patisserie, bakery, cakes in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.

The store design and display for the confectionaries and pastries is absolutely gorgeous. You might pass through to pick up a birthday cake, but you’ll also walk away with a box of macaroons (¥150/six) or a case of pralines. Cakes come in two sizes, 6-8 portions (from ¥388) and 10-12 portions (from ¥588).

Lenotre French patisserie, bakery, cakes in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Crazy Pineapple (¥588/¥888) – Roasted pineapple, vanilla cream, passion fruit gel, coconut, shortbread.
Lenotre French patisserie, bakery, cakes in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Lemon Tart (¥58/¥388/¥588) – Lime meringue, yuzu lemon curd, almond crust.
Lenotre French patisserie, bakery, cakes in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
William Pear & Hazelnut Schuss (¥78) – Pear, chantille cream, caramel hazelnut crumbs, cheesecake mousse.
Lenotre French patisserie, bakery, cakes in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Feuille D’automne (¥88/¥688/¥988) – Blueberry chocolate gel, mulberry compote, and chocolate mousse infused with blackberry tea.

In addition to the sweets, Lenotre also has a full menu and sandwiches to go.

Lenotre French patisserie, bakery, cakes in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
I wholly recommend getting the mixed cheese quiche (¥68).
Lenotre French patisserie, bakery, cakes in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Slow-cooked veal, asparagus, black olives (¥228)
Lenotre French patisserie, bakery, cakes in Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk @ Nomfluence.
Quinoa vegetable salad with yogurt (¥58)

Things are on the pricey side, especially the main dishes. If I had to splurge, it would be for the desserts and chocolates. Good if you’re looking for a birthday cake or gift box, or for self-indulgence.