SOiF is a natural wine bar in Jing’an, Shanghai, that also serves a menu of French and European-influenced bites. It’s a place that devotes itself to natural wines, sourcing from small and big natural, biodynamic, or organic wineries from around the world. They also have house-made kombuchas, which they ferment and flavor onsite.
Francois Séguin, Li Ze, and William Zhu are the oenophiles behind this project.
The food is easy-going yet polished, and is the handiwork of chef Freddy Raoult (The Nest), who’s moonlighting at SOiF. This symbiotic relationship is a continuation from last year, when the Francois and Freddy ran service at seasonal pop-up Perch by The Nest at Plump Garden.
The Drinks at Natural Wine Bar Soif
SOiF specializes in natural, organic, and biodynamic wines.
Wines by the glass are from ¥58-88, and changes regularly based on showcase labels. Bottles from ¥348. Specials are listed on the mirror above the bar.
I’m not an oenophile, and so, my wine knowledge is sparse. If you’re a keen drinker or a curious sipper, feel free to ask SOiF’s wine buffs to give you a recommendation.
Other drinks include house kombuchas (¥48). This is my go-to. Flavors are mixed, fermented, and bottled onsite, and include mixes like Goji Lemon Germanium (with rose and raisins) and Mango Kombucha. These effervescent, citrusy, jammy kombuchas are among the best I’ve ever had.
They also have a few cocktails (¥68) and beer from ¥48.
European-esque Bites and Homemade Charcuterie
A talent like Freddy is no joke. He invokes skills accrued from years of cheffing and living in Scandinavia to magician simple bites into some hella tasty morsels, including house-made charcuterie, creamy spreads, and soul-warming stews.
SOiF isn’t a restaurant—the food is there to keep you comfy as you open your second bottle of wine—but that doesn’t mean you should miss out on these bites.
Among the offerings is the insatiable Homemade Charcuterie Platter (¥128). On this platter is black sausage made with squid ink and duck, Hungarian sausage with pork and paprika, coppa (pork neck cured for a week, dipped in white wine, and hung in a pork bladder for three months), and spiced duck prosciutto. Alongside is a scoop of pork rilettes (¥58) and lacto fermented-vegetables, preserved vegetables using the same technique for sauerkraut and kimchi.
The duck prosciutto is a veritable treat. The charcuterie is mostly spice and herb-forward, and does have a long-lasting aftertaste. These cold cuts will rotate, and no two batches will taste the same.
Other offerings are simpler and more comforting, like the Duck Liver Mousse (¥58), a pot of creamy duck and chicken liver mousse enriched with plum wine and brown butter, served with garlic bread. This goes hand-in-hand with an extra order of Sourdough Bread and Butter (¥38).
There’s also a refreshing Endive and Stilton Salad (¥58), dressed in mustard, apple, black pepper, and hazelnuts, and Sardines on Toast (¥68/two) of gazpacho soaked toast with torched sardines, lemon zest, and basil. The sardine dish is a remnant of the Perch pop-up.
Don’t miss the Shanghai-Toulouse Cassoulet (¥118) or the Braised Oxtail Borscht (¥78). The latter is the lighter of the two, made with beetroot, stock, kombucha sour cream, and bone-tender oxtail. Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked French casserole typically with pork shoulder, sausage, duck confit, and white beans. All the above are ladled onto this hearty plate.
SOiF will be adding oysters to the bar soon.
In Summary: Wino-Approved
Most of the clientele is made up of people who either import wine or sell wine, a clear indicator that it is wino-approved. It’s a cozy hub that is a welcome addition to this corner of Jing’an.
Address: No. 105, 550 Wuding Lu, near Shaanxi Bei Lu 武定路550号105室, 近陕西北路
Hours: 6pm-1am, kitchen closes at midnight