Awkward name. It wasn't bad though. Some of the stuff was good. The supermarket was alright. It didn't work out. It closed at the end of 2017. But now it's back as...
...a bunch of different smaller restaurants and delis mixed with a few retail shops and an imported goods supermarket. Hmm. I guess if at first you don't succeed...
So what's new: They've renovated the space and brought the supermarket section more to the forefront (it was sort of hidden at the back before). That's not open yet. A few venues have carried over (Lost Bakery, Lizzy's All Natural, Nicolson's, and Prima flower shop). The venues as a whole are delineated with their own seating. There's clearer branding on what's what, and everyone is serving their own menu (it used to be just a big communal cafeteria style menu.)
Here's what going in: Uniman ("dumplings with a twist"); Piuttosto by Molo 9+ ("Italian toast, taste, and drink"); Le Paradis des Epices; MOST izakaya; Prince Super (the supermarket); My Poultry & Craft Dog ("roasted chicken & craft hot dogs"); Sauce Master (by Tribelife); Pichet ("Wine, Cold Cuts, Bar, Snacks"); and Atelier by Tastebuds (which we told you about here).
A pretty mixed bag. The whole place is opening properly in a few weeks but a bunch of these places are already soft open. SmartShanghai went restaurant-hopping checking out the new stuff. Here's what going on in there in the weeks leading up to their opening.
They've still got one big communal table but everyone's got their own seating area now too. Less food court and more "lifestyle hub".
What It Is: My Poultry was "My Butchery" a home-spun neighborhood butcher erstwhile on Wulumuqi Lu that specialized in just 14 cuts of lamb, pork, beef, and more. They've ditched that and moved a few streets over to two counters in a shared space. One serves chicken (My Poultry), the other (Craft Dog) serves a few entry level dogs (single pork and beef dogs are 38rmb and 48rmb respectively), and then six "craft" dogs which run the gamut from Asia-inspired ones (there's a Shanghainese one for 62rmb and a "Lost in Tokyo" for 73rmb) to avocado (78rmb) and blue cheese (78rmb) variations. All dogs are coming with sides (spiced fries or shrimp crackers), and they're pushing an organic wine add-on for 45rmb.
First Impressions: "Craft" hot dogs (read: fancy, expensive hot dogs) aren't anything new; even in Shanghai we've seen a few come and go. These guys do some alright variations, though, along with the standard "East-meets-West on a tube of meat" style with a few others in there. (Craft dogs are always "East-meets-West".)
Great sausage quality (homemade), decent buns (also homemade), good ingredients, and pretty inventive. Organic wine, sure, fine, whatever. My favorite, actually, is the Shanghainese one, with the pork sausage, fried noodles, shrimp, and green beans.
That said, damn dude once you get past the entry level ones with no toppings, we're looking at a 10-dollar hotdog. That stings. That's like the price of a really good burger in Shanghai. (Which is still... damn, 10-dollar hamburgers, wtf.) I think the dogs are great, and they seem like passionate guys who are in it for the love, but I wish the prices would come down to like 40rmb-50rmb or something for the fancy ones.
What It Is: A couple of tables and a pinkish back-wall where a Taiwanese chef whips up "modern" and "creative" takes on broadly Chinese dishes. Two things stand out; despite the tagline being "dumplings with a twist," there's quite a bit of non-dumpling on the menu, and also a fair amount of sea urchin. I guess the "modern" and "creative" is putting uni in dumplings, on a steak and in a taco? An uni taco. But the 6 piece dumpling courses are the main draw, with intriguing combinations like chives, minced pork and fish roe (32rmb), pickled cabbage, pork and bacon (28rmb) or lemongrass, chicken and red curry (32rmb for 6).
For the moment they're running a lunch menu where you pick a main for between 48-68rmb with a salad, soup and two sides, and a dinner menu with mains ranging from 30 to 50rmb, and snackable/shareable dishes going for anything from 12 to 58rmb. These menus are on A4 pieces of paper, so everything's liable to change.
First Impressions: We didn't try the uni tacos. Maybe should have. But that lemongrass and chicken jiaozi was real nice. The parentheses up there aren't meant to be sarcastic, I just couldn't tell whether the "twists" were tectonic shifts in the land of Chinese dishes. Maybe a modest tremor. Except the uni taco, that's going to change the world. I'd go back to try some more of those dumplings, though!
- Alex Panayotopoulos
What It Is: "Sauce Master" (AKA my middle name!) is the most fast food-y stall in the new More Than Eat. It's a pretty simple concept. Restating what I said above then: You choose a base (pita, sandwich, or spaghetti); then you choose from one of four homemade meaty sauces (Jamaica Style Fresh Pepper Sauce; Chef's Homemade Chili Meat Sauce; Cane Pepper Mushroom Sauce; and Slow Boiled Black Pig Scallion Oil); then you eat that. They have options for side mash potatoes and / or soup. They have a bunch of different coffees.
Prices are pretty cheap. 28rmb-45rmb depending on the sauce you choose.
First Impressions: Hit and miss. There's some interesting stuff going on with these sauces, but the bases and portions are a little off. The bread's too sweet; the spaghetti is... spaghetti in a cup; the wrap is too small. Satisfactory, maybe, for a quick (and cheap) snack but for the wrap, the best thing, which we had with the tasty "Jamaica Style Fresh Pepper Sauce", it's about as filling as a single taco from a dedicated Mexican restaurant. I'd have to order like 3-4 to make a meal, and that pushes the price tag up into uncomfortable terrains. But if you're broke (and a light eater), you could do worse. If they develop it out more it could be pretty interesting.
And also... a few more we didn't even get to
The above three are open, as are these two, Pichet, a wine, snacks, and cold cuts bar. They're not giving up on the deli stuff at More Than Eat. Not ever.
Hmmm, don't we have an imported goods super market coming back in here? How much wine and cheese is needed in one room?
...And something called Le Paradis des Epices. Spicy!
Look for all these (and the supermarket) to be running within the next few weeks.