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New Eats & Drinks: Terrakota, Stardust, Goose Island Taproom, and More

A flurry of food and bev' activity on Yanping Lu; new restaurants, bars, and clubs for your consideration...
2023-07-19 12:00:00
On the Radar is a SmartShanghai column profiling new restaurants, bars, and other new places we find interesting. Sometimes we stumble upon these places, and sometimes we are invited, but in both cases, we are never paid to write an opinion, rather, these are our honest first impressions, and not a formal review.

It has always been a real revolving door of venues out there on one of Jing'an's most active streets, Yanping Lu, but lately it's really gone into overdrive.

Yanping Lu, this street is paved with DREAMS, my friends!

Now, in addition to the classic, traditional Yanping Lu activity -- trying not to hit anyone on your scooter or trying not to get hit by anyone else driving their scooter -- you can check out all these new places if you want.


Terrakota is the new, big-deal, expensive restaurant opening from the makers of Raw just a few doors down. It's a "bistronomy" concept that promises a journey "from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean" right at the top of the one-page menu. So, a bistronomy is "bistro" (small, inexpensive, hearty, homestyle fare) plus "gastronomy" (rich, fine, inventive with local ingredients, food as art-plus-science, quite a bit more expensive).

...And Terrakota does deliver on all these descriptors. We've got big, bistrot-style portions, finely wrought daily specials with local ingredients, and a fair amount of invention and uniqueness on the menu in dishes we've not seen before anywhere else.

The menu is a one-pager, with simple "Starters", "Mains", and "Sweets" sections, but everything on it feels like a creation:

"Watercress Gazpacho with Basil-Mint sorbet - 48rmb";

"Wagyu-Angus Tartar, Bone marrow emulsion, smoked Cuttlefish Parmesan, hand cut fries - 148rmb";

"Angus Escalope alla Milanese with black Truffle, egg 63-degree C, cheese foam - 198rmb";

But we're getting ahead of ourselves, the space is indeed quite lovely; a wood banquet hall with an open kitchen at the entrance which abuts on a large communal glass house, with an arched roof, lined with greenery, and gorgeous light fixtures that look like gigantic sea urchin shells. Feels like a modernist chalet space that is angling for architecture and sustainability prizes.

But yes: some really interesting creations and the feeling that we're only scratching the surface. And we just did a quick 1000rmb meal. (Yeah, eh!)

Complimenting the daily specials (seasonal mushrooms were really great), the Angus Escalope (a huge schnitzel dish), the Wagyu-Angus Tartar, Bone marrow emulsion Cuttlefish; it's all creative and compelling, and we'd not seen it before. And, you know... good. Delcious, even.

Terrakota: One to check out now if you're a super keen Shanghai food scene folllower and want to try the latest thing. If expensive meals are more of a rareity for you, maybe wait until after the soft opening period to get the fully refined experience for your special occasion.

Shout out to the really good service also. Really attentive and curteous. Two servers running us through all the dishes! Thumbs up!


Back in the day, SmartShanghai used to have an events tag called "Bund Life", and it was deployed for events at places like M1NT, Lounge 18, Unico, and Bar Rouge. "Bund Life" signifies a certain type of clubbing for a certain type of clubber: international young professionals. International young professionals who like to go out on the weekends. International young professionals who like to get a bit dressy and maybe splash out on a table package on a rooftop with a view. International young professionals who are career-minded during the week sure, but also up for the potential for some real debauchery on the weekends with their international, young, and professional friends.

Add that "classic Shanghai skyline" to taste.

These days, "Bund Life" seems like a thing of the distant past but Stardust is bringing that flavor to Jingan with their two-story, open format, commercial club. The owner and management team behind it count the following names in their resumes — UP, Bar Rouge, Gin & Juice — and you can see bits of all those in the venue's DNA with maybe the requisite dash of Le Baron in that smoking section. It's two floors with a bar, DJ booth, tables (VIPs and lesser), and small dancefloor inside, and a really quite nice patio on the roof. The menu is a line of signature cocktails and ingenuity from the Bar Rouge alums, along with ample booze package deals for groups.

And Stardust is a dressy affair. As in, there's a dress code to get inside. In particular, dudes take note: fix up, look sharp if you want entry. Events-wise, at Stardust, you're not going to see a DJ / genre of music in particular but for the vibes as a whole, which is feeling like a star with your stylist friends at the VIP table, halfway through a bottle package.

To those ends, head's up: Ladies Night is Wednesday; Models Night is Thursday (why hello there, M1NT!), and Friday and Saturday is parties, parties, and parties with a theme of.... let's just say general chic escapism.

Goose Island Taproom

Goose Island's slow and methodical Shanghai domination increased another Taproom recently with the opening of their second in town, this time on a prime piece of real estate on Yanping Lu at Xinzha Lu. If you've not been following, this is the scaleable version of their proper brewhouse on Maoming Bei Lu, kind of like the expanded pack, eminently replicable all over the place, wherever beer flights and Chicagoan gastro fare is required.

But there you have it: in a one-block radius already serviced by a Tap That, Mikkeller, and an 8PINTS, people looking for an easy beer within stumbling distance to their apartments have another option. More than a dozen beers on tap, ranging from the super approachable signature beers to the more esoteric stouts and season-specific ales (Goose IPA, Duck Duck Goose -- their main award winners). This month's Beer of the Month is the "Thirsty Goose", a lager that comes across like a lighter IPA.

It's really pretty damn good. Could "crush" a few of these, as they say.

Food is burgers, sandwhiches, hot dogs, wings, nachos / quesadilla, and that sort of thing in the 100-200rmb range. For a more invovled feedbag, the signature mains include their IPA Fried Chicken (78rmb) and the Lemon Beer Can Chicken (98rmb), among others.

Goose Island's been really good at sticking with it and getting out there in Shanghai over the years. Their strategy? Be really cheap! Remember seeing the Goose taps in bars all over town a few years ago? It's like they were just giving it away!

At Taproom, they've got a three-hour free-flow deal on beer for just 150rmb, Monday to Thursday before 6pm. Same deal is available every damn night after 10pm.


Even More New and New-ish Stuff on Yanping Lu:

How many people live in San He Huai Yuan? I guess enough?

They're probably going to like Smokey Project, a new ‘Merica-style BBQ place that's serving quick and easy gut-busting burgers, ribs, and brisket platters. We went right for the brisket on a bun (78rmb), which was indeed juicy and succulent, but maybe a little light on the meat quantity. Quality is there, though, so it's one to check out, probably somewhere in the middle of a massive beer bar crawl.

More developments: That little stretch that used to be Hunter & Gatherer and that HAY interior design store has been smashed into Toasty by O'Mills and something called, Yuye, which looks quite a bit fancy and very wine-centric. The older news is Funkadeli is, of course, gone but you felt that already like a disturbance in the Force.

Rounding this out with an item of interest for the old Shanghai bar hands: BnC, one of Shanghai's most beloved and longest-running dive bar staples, reopened last weekend after shuttering for renovations.

Not quite on Yanping Lu but close enough to it, and even closer to our hearts... welcome back, BnC.