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[On The Radar]: My Butchery, Ninja Bar, RAW

Our weekly roundup of new venues. This week: a sleek butchery, a hip hop dive in Gubei, and lots more. Let's feed the beast!
Last updated: 2016-06-10
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.
On The Radar is a weekly SmartShanghai column where we profile 2-3 new venues that you might like to know about. Here are the facts and our first impressions.

1. My Butchery


Quick Take A well-designed neighborhood butchery and deli on the same block as Avocado Lady.

What It Is: A small butchery going for that family-shop vibe on Wulumuqi Lu. The butchery's 14 cuts range from rib-eyes, lamb chops, and ground beef to mutton racks and pork loins, coming from foreign lands like Australia, Canada, Brazil, France, and New Zealand. They also deal in cheese, French wines, cured meats, steak sauces, canned goods, and rotisserie chicken.

Atmosphere: Clean and upscale, and designed by Max Trullas Moreno, who's also done work for el Willy, Nike, and Arkham.

Damage: Australian sirloin steak is 30rmb/100g, chicken breast is 7rmb/100g, rib-eyes are 35rmb/100g, and their "premier Brazilian tenderloin" is 44rmb/100g. So, it's not Save-A-Lot, but they do have a few deals running. Rib-eyes are buy-one-get-one on Mondays and a whole rotisserie chicken with potatoes is 48rmb every evening from 5pm.

First Impressions: The place is clean and the meat looks high quality. It's only been open for a couple weeks, but there's a continuous stream of people going in there. Might just be the kind of place people like to poke in and look around. Definitely a fine addition to block that's already got a lot of good food and shops.

- XZ Palmer

2. Ninja Bar


Quick Take: A small hip-hop dive on the Westside, with surreal promotion and vibes, twerk / rap / high-heels battles for cash and champagne, and actually, pretty good service and good times if you go in with no expectations.

What It Is: This little club above an internet bar in Gubei was all over my WeChat months before they opened, promising "hot ninja girl waitresses" and pure hip hop. Then SmartShanghai started getting their event submissions. There was "High-Heels Queen", "Gemini's Little Revelry", and "Hot Shorts Party." Had to go. Obviously had to go. I went for the hip hop battle last Friday and the vibe was hype, with a mixed crowd getting buck to like six people on a tiny stage rapping along to tracks by Meek Mill and Rick Ross, on a soundsystem that needs a lot of work.

One friend described it as such: "LOL. I did have fun though (albeit for the wrong reasons). It's a good place for up and comers to rock."

In other words, the spirit of 2008 is strong here.

Atmosphere: Dada meets Perry's in a community center? Spoiler alert: the waitresses are not wearing full ninja costumes (no mask), but they're pro. Ninja seems inclusive and totally unpretentious. Just don't go expecting a bougie spot.

Damage: Pretty pianyi. Asahi draft is 35rmb a glass and real cold. A bottle of Jager and two cans of coke (odd mix) is 500rmb. There's a Family Mart downstairs that seems to be popular with patrons as well. If you've got twerking / rapping / high-heels skills you could actually come out ahead here -- I saw them give 500rmb cash to the rap battle winner last Friday.

First Impressions: Yes for more hip hop in the city. The only pure hip hop club in town is Monkey Champagne, and even they get into Top 40 and EDM territory sometimes. It's cool to dip into another corner of the city and into another world. Service is really quite good and the beer is cheap and cold. Fun times, cheap thrills. Please don't ever start doing tech-house nights.

– Ian L

3. RAW

This next one flew under our radar when they opened, but it deserves some coverage

Quick Take: Not only serving raw foods, this restaurant / grill across the street from San He Hua Yuan in Jing'an is steadily packed at night, despite being open for months.

What It Is: So much going up on Yanping Lu these days, like this restaurant by some of the people behind Malabar, that Spanish spot just around the corner on Wuding Lu. Their new place is on the second floor of the building where MVP's La Stazione was, and Revolucion Cocktail is opening downstairs in a week or so. RAW only seats 40, they're only open for dinner, and reservations seem essential. The place and the food look really sharp. Despite the name, it's not just raw fare, though they have that, with dishes like a Chilean Wagyu beef tartare, Icelandic codfish ceviche, and an "Egg at 63°". The right side of the menu gets into animal territory, with Chilean and Argentinean beef and chicken, smoked foie gras, and fish.

Atmosphere: Busy and warm. Wood and cement with low lighting, illuminated by a touch of neon and refrigerators displaying some fat cuts of beef. Casual enough for dinner with friends but romantic enough for dinner dates. Can't remember the music, so, probably not bad.

Damage: Raw dishes average around 100rmb, like 98rmb for a ceviche and 128rmb for tartare. Sides like the baked potato and baked cauliflower are all 28rmb. The RAW burger with Iberico pork and Chilean Wagyu is 128rmb, then mains to share like start at 298rmb for a Picanna rump cap and top out at 1388rmb for a 1.3kg dry aged bone-in rib-eye. Cocktails are about 60rmb, and beers, including three kinds of Estrella, are around 50rmb.

First Impressions: Haven't eaten dinner there yet, but reviews online have been mostly positive, especially concerning the meats and the aesthetics. I can say the bartender is friendly and knows how to make a drink. The kitchen had closed at 10.45pm and he brought one hungry patron a big plate of olives for free. The wine list looks short but well-selected. Shanghai does have several cheaper options for grilled South American meats, but judging by how busy this place was on a recent Tuesday, that's not stopping anyone from coming here.

- Ian L

And Also...

These are some new places we didn't have a chance to check out yet. If you did, feel free to write a review for a shot at 500rmb in Sherpa's delivery.

1. The Market – This converted swimming pool on Ao'men Lu is already home to Cambio Coffee and Amelia's, and stalls by Happy Buddha, Pizza Topolino, Dutch Pies, Papito Crepes, and more will open in the next few months. They'll also hold community events, themed markets, and performances. It's still under construction but Cambio and Amelia's are open now.

2. Urban Grill – Also in north Jing'an, this Greek and Turkish restaurant serves up dishes like lamb on roasted eggplant, salads, BBQ, mixed Mediterranean plates, and more. Looks promising.

3. Intermezze – Moving on to central Jing'an, with a fusion restaurant in Plaza 66 by a former pastry chef at Jean Georges. Dishes combine Japanese tendencies with continental proclivities. Note: the restaurant is inside Vancasa.

4. Sproutworks (Jing'an) – Taixing Lu recently got an outpost of Kelley Lee's popular quick-serve salad, sandwich, and soup shop.

5. The XO – Wine delivery app Bottles XO just opened a bar on Hengshan Lu across from the bowling alley. It's small and open, and the restaurant upstairs has a nice balcony. They've got lots of wines by the bottle (from 165rmb) and glass (from 25rmb), some good Italian beer, and occasional DJ bookings. Look out for more happening in this area in 2016 as that huge development Yong Ping Li opens.

6. Stockholm – New Swedish bar and restaurant on The Bund. Their PR description sounds wild -- "The concept theme is totally nautical and will immerse you into an ocean of pleasure with its luxurious yacht style materials and colors", and, "The Bund popularity and all the advantages, which STOCKHOLM ON THE BUND offers, will not be long to make this place famous and classy."