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A Bunch of F&Bs: Openings, Closings, News Around Town…

Your semi-regular round-up of the cosmic vicissitudes in the world of restaurants and bars…
2023-08-16 12:00:00
The monthly dose of what's new and hot in Shanghai's F&B scene.

We're still knee-deep in the summer vacation so cataclysmic, earth-shattering food & bev developments are a little on the light side of in edition of "A Bunch of F&Bs". Actually, we're still working our way through the new openings (and closings) of earlier this year, post-lockdown, when everyone in Shanghai wanted to follow their crazy dreams and open a venue. Maybe we're pumping the breaks a bit on that, eh!

Nevertheless, onwards, always, onwards. Here's what's happening in restaurant and bar land lately.

Some Random Restaurant Openings and Closures

Saucepan, the Western food delivery service that was taken over the Camel Group a few years ago closed last week after a run of eight years or so. Sauceplan also operated the meal plan service Revo, which has closed to. It just got that much harder to count your macros...

The original Homeslice in Found 158 has also closed shop. They've still got several around town though, casting a wide enough delivery net, we should think, for their ardent following. And they've just opened another one in Qibao Vanke.

We talked to a few of the other businesses in Found and they're saying business isn't bad so maybe it was just time to move on for them. And so it goes...

Five Guys has increased to three venues. There's a new Five Guys in Taikoo Hui. We like the Five Guys. That shit is consistent — a quality harder to achieve than you would think.

Porcellino, our go-to for delightful, mid-range Italian cuisine in Changning has opened up in Pudong. Congrats to them.

Alors, a new wine bar is opening this weekend, with event support from a few Shanghai grassroots success stories, Bastard and Yaya's. Just getting by with a little help from your friends, hey that's alright.

Levi's Stroomwaffles is also officially opening its first brick-and-mortar store. They're serving freshly baked waffle goodness that is endorsed by the Dutch consulate no less. The Dutch Consul General is popping by for the opening ceremony this Friday at 4pm. Huh! Sounds like a pretty sweet job. We want to be Consul General...

Do you want another F&B hub? Do you need another F&B hub? With a name that sounds straight out of Anytown, USA, Gemdale Lane at the southwest corner of Columbia Circle, is a new offices-plus-restaurants development, already home to basically every coffee chain in town, and an eclectic bunch of restaurants behind construction cocoons. Like 10 of them. Tapas place. Japanese BBQ place. Italian place. Bakery. Check. Check. Check. Check. It's the latest development in the Changning District in the area's bid to be Jing'an 2.0. We'll check back.

What's Going on With These Michelin-Starred Restaurant Openings?

Shanghai just can't quit these international celebrity chefs. Here's what's going on at the new fancy tables in town.

Narisawa: Open. And serving guests Chef Yoshihiro San's trademark mix of immaculate French-influenced fine Japanese cuisine, 20 years in the making. The 1000 Trees-located venue is accepting bookings on their MiniApp for group and counter diners, deposit required.

Maaemo EHB: Open. And booked solid for the next three months, evidently. Assuming a beautiful space at 11 Dongping Lu, the Norwegian namesake restaurant of Esben Holmboe Bang is slinging the "natural extension and exploration of Bang's cuisine with hints and reflections of the thousand-year-old food traditions of Chinese cuisine."

Maybe "slinging" isn't the right word there. But yeah, three-month wait. It's easier to get in for just drinks though if you're super keen.

Shanghai lifers will be familiar with the location, which used to be a little thing called Sasha's/Zapatas. These storied venues were swept up in a clampdown on F&B venues in the area. The location sat empty for eight years before coming back as... an F&B venue. Interesting!

Frantzén: No news on the Japanese-influenced Nordic restaurant from celebrated chef Björn Frantzén. A project in the making since 2020, they moved from their original location to something in the North Bund, and are still "coming soon". The only three-star restaurant from Sweden is also concurrently opening in Singapore and Dubai so maybe they've got a lot on their plate.

Shakeups in Bars and Clubs

The splashy, KOL-approved art gallery-cum-nightclub Basement Never Sleeps closed up abruptly in July, shuttering a venue that must have been a massive investment after just half a year. Committed to the "club culture" in Shanghai, the creative concerns behind that one are opening as "Garage Never Sleeps" in the K11 Mall, and hosting a few big names in American RnB/hip hop to launch the place: J.I.D on August 18 — that's already sold out — and Jaden Smith, scion of Will Smith on August 27. Maybe keep that Hengshan Lu venue outcha mouth if you stop by.

Another big closure, at least in terms of square meterage, Mojokaya, the music-themed bar and restaurant in Blackstone Apartment, by the team behind Labella Winehouse, closed a few weeks ago. That's a shame. It was a beautiful venue.

Dada Bar only closed last July but already a crew has picked up the torch and launched a new club called Club Knot in the exact same location. Open for a few weeks now, the game plan looks like classic, original recipe ALL Club vibes — less commercial, more local, more experimental, more offbeat — than what ALL is doing these days. If you're looking for the more classic version of ALL, maybe it's one to check out.

You just can't keep a dedicated after-hours venue down. Tech-house club Celia is returning with their third venue, this time in the location that used to be Manhattan in Jing'an. Daaaaamn, if those walls could talk. The original opening date was announced as September 1 but it's looking like it'll be a bit later.

And if you missed it, yeah, we've been to INS in Fuxing Park. Read about it here.

And Around Town...

This one happened already a few months ago but is still worth a mention: Kate & Kimi, the Epermarket competitor from F&B food supplier Gusto has closed its operations. Retail is a tough business and it seems there really isn't room for more than one English-language grocery delivery service.

Union Trading Co. is celebrating its 9th anniversary this weekend. Ayy, congrats! So yeah, expect that one to be packed.

Al's Diner got fined for their pancake challenge. Because it promotes food waste or something. Possibly just karma for when this pancake challenge laid us low when we tried it like 3 years ago.

Doesn't really fit into F&B, but still worthy of note: Ringside boxing gym is back with a new venue — Arena by Ringside — and their hosting a huge boxing card this Saturday night to launch it off. If you've been missing White Collar style boxing events ‘lo these many years, that's one to check out. Reasonable ticket prices too.