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This Is Where We’re Eating and Drinking, September 2021. (And You Should Too.)

So Is Everyone Opening a Restaurant Now?
2021-09-01 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.

Shanghai continues its love affair with casual bistros and wine bars. Here's a bunch of new ones to consider spending some time at. Roll on with the new stuff out there in Shanghai F&B land...


1/F, United Valley, 462 Changle Lu,... View ListingTaxi Printout

From the movie Clockwork Orange and now from in your real life in Shanghai comes Korova, a new cocktail bar that opened last week in the United Valley mall thing off Changle Lu. If you will recall from the movie, the "Korova Milkbar" is where Alex and his "droogs" would go to drink milk laced with HARD DRUGS to "sharpen their senses" for the evening's "ultraviolence". It's got a pretty distinct look. Furniture comes in the form of pristine white, naked manakins with crazy day-glo bouffant afro wigs and the milk libations themselves are dispensed via said manakins' breasts. The walls are decorated with the names of the drinks served.

As far as gimmicks go, well hey! This is a pretty racy one.

Korova in Shanghai switches out the aforementioned, sweet, sweet HARD DRUGS for fancy milk-based cocktails, and significantly dials back the naked manakin furniture. The bartenders, however, are really dressed up like droogs — all-white cricket uniforms with the bowler hats and suspenders — and the music on the stereo is demonically classical. Lovely, lovely Ludvig van Beethoven. It's actually really awesome to drink booze and listen to Beethoven, I've discovered. The venue itself is a little one-room bartop seating area at the front, which opens up into a secret-ish lounge seating area at the back.

And ahhhh! ...Here are the naked manikins with the bouffants.

Hard liquor is the order of the evening. The six or seven specialty cocktails are all milk-based to match the theme (80rmb or so), and then the menu sprawls out into nice whiskeys and such.

Why You Should Check It Out:

‘Cause you're a huge Stanley Kubrick fan? If you like your fancy cocktails served with a side of evil provocation, you might be interested. Their cocktails guy is Angus, who we've met previously in the "Shanghai Famous" column. There's significant crossover with Korova's crowd and the Inferno metal bar 10 meters to the left. This is a nice little Shanghai dystopian scene you want to get involved with.

-Morgan Short


81 Changshu Lu, near Julu Lu View ListingTaxi Printout

Hey, that decent rotisserie chicken place Dodu has turned into an even decent-er mezcal bar.

(Insert sentence here about how mezcal is really trendy right now in Shanghai.)

From the people(s) behind Espiritu, the "first Latin-style mezcaleria bar in China" — Really? Huh! I didn't know. Well, congrats! — comes Mezcalito, a new tacos and mezcal bar on Changshu Lu. Simple and cost effective tacos and very nice mezcal and tequila drinks on the menu. Mezcalito is split on two floors, plus a little patio seating, with the bar and kitchen on the ground floor and table seating upstairs. It's a nice, chill, welcoming, relaxed sort of vibe with great drinks and tasty, creative tacos to match. Cheap tacos too. Starting from like 25rmb, which is a solid price. Everything in life should only cost 25rmb. Who can we email to make this happen.

Decor is new, clean and mod-ish without being cliche. Maybe a little too new and clean, but that's just my tastes. Good for casual dates, low-key nights out with friends, and for drinking lots.

Why You Should Check It Out:

The drinks are great. Super refreshing mezcal cocktails. Very much required to get through these damn hot summer nights. Yes, I can see why mezcal cocktails are popular. Especially with this fucking weather. But yeah, they've got tons of mezcal and tequila on the menu if you're a fan and looking for interesting brands to try that you can't get anywhere else. I don't know anything about mezcal but I do know how you apply it. Simply open your throat and pour it down. It's easy and anyone can do it. Go for either the cheap and nice tacos and then stay for the drinks, or do that in reverse.

-Morgan Short

Sakaba Malabar

1081 Wuding Lu, near Jiaozhou Lu View ListingTaxi Printout

Sakaba Malabar is a reinvention of the concept previously known as "Malabar" in the same space. With the renovations, they're going for more of an upscale Spanish tapas wine bar, with a huge half-circle bar occupying most of the space. But that's just the design. The food and drink follows a different path of Spanish-Japanese fusion. Sometimes "fusion" results in "confusion" but not here. Chefs are brother and sister duo Juan and Ana Campos of RAW Eatery, creating something entirely new for Shanghai's dining scene. Despite not having announced any openings, the place is packed out in the evenings starting around 7:30pm. If you go at 5:30pm when they first open, you'll have a quieter, more subdued atmosphere.

Why You Should Check It Out:

Spanish-Japanese Fusion is an actual thing that tastes damn good. Chef Juan is a great host, and if you know a bit of Spanish, speak to his sister Ana who won't hesitate to give you a hug on the first meeting. Great place for a first date, especially if your out with a hard-to-impress foodie. The "Leek Croquettes" are a must order. Apparently, the way the French and Spanish do Croquettes are entirely different. Here, they are in the traditional Spanish style with a very hot béchamel center. The "Blue Fin Tuna Tartar" dressed in a light homemade teriyaki is worth having all to yourself. Drinks? Try the "Horchata Milk Punch". It's made with clarified milk (i.e. it's CLEAR!), and dressed lightly with sherry brandy. Before you know it, you'll have had four without noticing.

-Jacob Flowers


30-2 Sinan Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu View ListingTaxi Printout

Located on Sinan Lu at Huaihai Zhong Lu, Fenoli is a modern bistro that mainly serves French and Italian along with other exclusive treats developed by their HK executive chef and his team. The restaurant is situated low-key between Café on Air and a Chinese place, so you will likely miss it out if you don't know about it. They've got a tube-like interior with a minimalist decoration.

Food is a mix of authentic Continental with some individual Asian twists. Home-made duck hams are the most popular go-to items in terms of appetizers, and they've also got the classy, classy foie gras and toasts, burrata, and more in the 50-80rmb range. As for mains, they have fish, meat, risotto, confit duck dishes, to name a few, served in their own style. Like the risotto, they use a type of Chinese grain that's chewier. More creativity can be found in their "drunk" tiramisu which is regular tiramisu dunked in three types of alcohol.

On weekdays, Fenoli is only open for dinner but on weekends, they open at 11.30am serving a brunch menu.

Why You Should Check It Out:

Because "bistros" are so trendy, and you've got to try the new ones. Kidding. But yeah, Fenoli offers great value for their prices and you can feel the effort and care coming out of the kitchen for their food. Lots of attention to details, from presentation and plating to the food itself. Friendly staff and a nice atmosphere too.

-Shirley Xu


141 Maoming Nan Lu, near Nanchang Lu View ListingTaxi Printout

A five-minute walk from IAPM, Forage is a funky eatery and wine bar hidden amongst the quiet neighborhoods and boutique shops off Maoming Nan Lu. The interior concrete minimal but relaxing and natural.

The wine list is curated by William Zhu from SOiF, a place we're always hearing about these days. So, how it works is you pick your glass or bottle from the front. Red wine, white wine, honey wine... you tell them your mood / preferences and they'll hook you up with recommendations. It's not cheap — 70rmb a glass — but it's all about the vibes, ain't it. The food menu is seasonal and currently features classic Western aps like cheese and cold cuts, along with fusion dishes like lobster rice (108rmb), cinnamon rice cakes (58rmb) and more. Each of the founder has their "signature dish" on the menu. For example, "William" likes Iberian pork cheek.

Why You Should Check Out:

It's an interesting wine bar that does decent food, which already sounds good enough. The atmosphere is very chill. Good for groups of friends looking for a night out at a wine bar.

-Shirley Xu

Roof P.M.

5/F, Museum of Art Pudong, 2777... View ListingTaxi Printout

Roof P.M. is a modern dining place that occupies the rooftop at the new Museum of Art Pudong. It's got big glass windows and offers a 360-degree view of the Bund and the OPTV Tower. The venue is café by day for the museum guests, and restaurant and event space in the evening.

The café opens at 11.30am and is only accessible to museum guests, mainly serving accessible Italian — aps, salads, pastas and and mains. They also offer semi-buffet sets. From 6pm, the venue turns into a high-end restaurant with a separate entrance, featuring modern Continental cuisines with a touch of local flair, headed by two international award-winning chefs: Giovianni Young and Paul-Arthur Berlan. Appetizers start from 88rmb, while mains start from 258rmb, with meat, fish, tempura and a few more. A glass of wine would cost you 78rmb to 168rmb. In addition, the venue can be booked for private / business events.

Why You Should Check Out:

Well, if you're at the museum and starving, go eat lunch! For dinner, you're going for the beautiful view and lovely food. It's also a nice option if you are a rich person looking to host some wonderful event.

-Shirley Xu