Wishbone Number Two
The first edition of Sam Norris's rotisserie chicken shop opened earlier this year in Jing'an and the sequel has already hatched, just two minutes west of Fumin Lu on Changle Lu. Same hearty menu here: roasted chicken, potatoes cooked with the chicken oil, country paté, roasted vegetables, and other heavy, caloric food reminiscent of back home. The new shop sits on a busy little strip of restaurants on Changle Lu, including a famous noodle shop, a pork chop spot, and a ma la tang restaurant. And an action figure store.
When Wishbone moved in, they bought outdoor tables for any of the restaurants to use, and diners are welcome to mix and match dishes from other restaurants. They've also installed a bit of a soundsystem, which was playing some chill disco and boogie on our visit. Expect this to be an evening jump-off, sans any problems from the neighbors.
Whisk a.k.a. CH2
Who knows how many people have gotten laid after dessert dates at Whisk. Likely a lot. The place has stayed successful for about a decade by serving some of the dankest chocolate in town, in a casual place that works equally well for dates or just chilling. Just good and unpretentious. Apparently bored with chocolate, they've now added cheese to the menu. They're serving up nachos, mac & cheese, cheesecakes, cheeseburgers, and crepes. Thankfully, all the desserts remain. They're also doing brunch every day, and have a oyster / wine kinda deal during their happy hour. Feels a lot brighter in there after the remodel.
Other Developments In The Donghu / Fumin / Changle Hood
That new Shanghai Brewery is already busy, despite not opening until 5pm daily, probably because they can't find enough labor. Place is aight; design is decent, and it seems like they're going for more of the Liquid Laundry kinda crowd. No sports TVs here. Beer is a better value than the food. The BBQ chicken pizza was functional bar food, but that Thai Lemongrass joint is wrong. The mayonnaise-on-things-that-don't-need-mayonnaise movement needs to stop. They do have a few new brews on offer here, like a Strawberry Lime Cider and a White IPA.
Next door, Elefante just introduced a new late-night menu. From 10-11pm on Thursday–Saturday, they've got a 185rmb menu that includes a choice of dishes like Veal Carpaccio, Elefante Patatas Bravas, or Boquerones and a drink. That is a short, short window for late-night dining, but the food sounds good.
Lot of Spanish tapas in town. Too many, really. The crew at Fumo just did away with their apertivo deal and introduced a new menu of Italian tapas, something of a rarity in Shanghai. Those start around 20rmb, and anyone who buys a bottle of wine can choose one for free. The Fumo / UVA crew also just opened the impressive Xixi Bistro on Wuyuan Lu last week, right by Fat Mama's new cocktail / wine spot Bar del Castello.
The new Bar del Castello
The Brothers Kebab mafia just extended their reach farther. They've packed up and moved their Changle Lu branch -- the original shop -- to Wulumuqi Lu, near Wuyuan Lu, and opened a shop in Gubei recently, on Zunyi Lu, just across the street from The Place.
Heard rumors that another Spanish restaurant may open in the Changle Lu hood sometime soon…
Slurp! Daliah, And Other Jing'an Developments
In Jing'an, that Yunnan restaurant Slurp! just dropped their new "Summer Dai" menu, featuring roasted fish with Dai spices, wrapped in banana leaves, roasted mushrooms with Dai spices, and a lemongrass mojito. All the dishes are between 28–45rmb, sounds aight. Really hope someone opens a Misfits-themed Yunnan restaurant called "Dai Dai Dai My Darling".
Not super new, but that Austrian spot Daliah on the corner of Beijing Lu and Shaanxi Bei Lu is worth a look. Place is extremely dog friendly and they also have a slide going from the second floor. Apparently that slide was built for dogs. It's a quirky kind of place and they do a good veal schnitzel. This is a good café / workspace for rainy days because of the huge windows. On a first visit, they didn't have lunch sets yet so ended up paying a bit more than ideal, but the place looks fresh. Would come back for a coffee or juice for sure, or some cheap Asahi draft.
Daliah in Jing'an
Vapiano Italian Self-Service Restaurant
Finally, after having a "coming soon" sign up for about a year, this Ikea-cafeteria-esque self-service restaurant Vapiano recently opened in Lujiazui. They've got over 100 locations in Germany. Huge, sterile space, not unlike the Ikea restaurant. It feels like a restaurant following a business plan rather than a passion for food.
The outdoor space is crowded with tourists who stare. Not super comfortable. Food is all self-service pastas, pizzas, salads, and other Italian items. Taste is just alright -- not terrible, but really not great. Pizza was far too oily. The self-service concept…not sure how that's going to work out in China. People dropping money on Western restaurants expect a certain level of service, and this requires walking around to multiple stations, sometimes waiting 5–8 minutes at each one. Anyway, it's already popular with expats living in compounds around there like Yanlord Garden, who are probably so sick of Element Fresh and La Casbah delivery that they'll welcome anything.
And that's what's new for July 2015.