As soon as it hits your tongue. That’s when you know you’re in good hands. The gnocchi melts in your mouth, the bright and herbal pesto lingers, and the subtle funkiness of the blue cheese jabs at your taste buds.
It’s unconventional that the first thing mentioned in a review for a cocktail bar is a pasta. However, Arch is not your typical cocktail bar. You come here for the drinks, but you stay for the pastas. And what a wonderful selection of pastas to choose from. The aforementioned gnocchi with pesto and blue cheese, orecchiette with a meaty and zesty lamb ragu, spinach tagliatelle with bite-sized meatballs and peppery arugula. It’s hard to decide which one is the clear cut favourite. Not to mention a perfectly charred octopus starter, served on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes, that prepares your mouth for the onslaught of flavours that’s about to be experienced. The pastas at Arch are, unequivocally, the best pastas I’ve ever eaten in Shanghai.
The cocktails are nothing to be sneezed at, either. The drink list is imaginative, beginning with a selection of aperitivos that opens up your palate. One recommendation is the refreshing Campari & BBQ Orange served with a burnt orange wedge. The presentation of the Saffron & Ginseng, refreshing though potent, is highlighted by a glass dusted with pumpkin powder. Tell the bartender what kind of drink profile you prefer and have them come up with something on the spot. I wanted something a bit strong so the bartender whipped up a coconut Old Fashioned. Who knew that could be a good combination, but sure enough, just about everything works at Arch.
Arch is a well executed cocktail bar where the food menu sneaks up on you and takes you on a journey you never could have expected. Hats off to the team here because they know what they’re doing and it shows in each sip of imaginative cocktails and each indulgent bite of perfectly cooked pastas.
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