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Where We’re Eating: Anokhi and Bhacus in The Weave

A few new restaurants to check out in The Weave. Exciting!
2022-09-16 12:00:00
Photos: Brandon McGhee

Roll on with the wheels of F&B progress! Roll on at any cost, damn you!

Newly opened at the end of August this year — after, y'know, the slight change in plans due to the GD lockdown (TM) — is Shanghai's newest F&B hub, "The Weave".

We're happy to report... It's not bad! Hey, there's actually some good stuff in here!

The Weave is smaller, more organized, more well-thought out, and, architecturally, less completely alienating and insufferable than your typical gazillion-RMB, post-2020 Shanghai food and drink hub. It has a great, central-ish location at 277 Wuxing Lu, near Gao'an Lu, and is offering up some tried and true local chain success stories — Drunk Baker, Lokal, one of Alimentari's offshoots, Circo — and a few new places that are worth the trip down for, even if you live some boring but sensible place like Zhongshan Park or something.

These are them:

Anokhi

3F, 277 Wuxing Lu, near Zhaojiabang Lu View ListingTaxi Printout

Coming to us from the producers of the classic, comfort food Indian resto Khan Chacha -- now with two locations in Shanghai -- is this gorgeous new Indian restaurant Anokhi (meaning "unique" in Hindi) which is pushing contemporary Indian cuisine into creatively singular fusion territory, not only on the menu but in the drinks, design, music selection, decor -- the whole experience. Feels very bright, fresh, modern, stylish, international.

The interiors are a mix of India and Persia, with lots of beautiful prints, colors, and rustic natural green elements. Softer concretes, earth tones, ratans and rugs, Taj-inspired arches, limestone terrazzo flooring, patterned ceramic tiles. Golds flickering off glassware. Regional and personal art, artifacts, and photography adorn the walls.

Design from New York's Newkirk. Drinks list from the mixologist at Italo. Playlist from the music director at W Hotel. Natural craft beer from Postwave. It's kind of the best combination of what Shanghai has going on right now. The food comes from Chef / Owner Jibin Arjunan. It's already got its five-star Dianping rating and has only been open since August 25.

The menu tilts hard into merging contemporary Indian cuisine taken from all areas of the country and all eating situations — street food to family to formal dinner — with international influences, in particular from Japan (yakitori grill and josper oven in the kitchen to grill up that seafood) and Spain (lots of tapas dining elements).

Food is arranged in ascending order of commitment, starting with street food chaats -- tangy, crispy compositions -- on into kebabs and skewers and a pesto-inspired dips section, on into grilled catch of the day-style made-by-order seafood, into their signature mains. These include fusion butter chicken, lamb leg, duck breast and lentils, grilled prime rib -- very serious and delicious things.

From flavors to colors to texture to presentation, it really fires up the senses. Chef Jibin Arjunan and team are really bringing the pyrotechnics with dishes you can't find on any other Indian menu in town.

To wit: Gol Gappa Gimlets. Enjoyed via the universal language that is the shot glass.

To top it all off, they even have an entirely separate menu called "I Want My Curry", which is traditional curry dishes if you want to go the traditional route.

Price-wise, it really depends. You can just go for Pica Pica snacks and cocktails in their lounge area, which would be a couple hundred, or go all-in with several opening skewers and dips salvos, a Japanese-inspired seafood course, and a deep dive into the mains and deserts -- this would put you over a thousand RMB. But it would be a meal.

Why you should check it out: Umm, 'cause it's all pretty gorgeous and great? Because you're looking for a unique Indian dining experience in which you're bound to discover new things.

Try something completely new.

BHACUS

277 Wuxing Lu, near Jianguo Xi Lu View ListingTaxi Printout

Just underneath Anohki is the latest from Eduardo Vargas and company. It's called Bhacus -- as in, how you would spell the Greek god of wine's name if you spent a proper evening in Bhacus. Wine and more wine is the order of the afternoon, evening, night, and late night, and they have a spacious, relaxed indoor dining area and a nice, big-ass patio from which to do so.

Over 200 labels on offer in their wine cellar. Mostly from France, but all other major areas represented as well: South America, Italy, Australia, America... China...

The selling point is thus: If you're a wine lover and like drinking while eating out, you're usually bringing your own bottle with you and paying the corkage fee to avoid the massive markups restaurants have. The wines at Bhacus are very much cheaper -- a lot of the time only priced like 30rmb more than they are in the catalog -- so you don't have to do that anymore.

There's no wine menu. You go into their wine cellar and a professional wine-drinking person -- what do you call those? -- will help you out according to your preferred flavor profile and wallet capacity. Coming from our tested and proven philosophy of "just get the cheapest one and also the third cheapest one" there was more than enough to choose from and be within budget.

The menu, of course, is mobilized to dishes that are complimentary to wine drinking, albeit, of course, with a pronounced Latin and South American leaning, reflecting the pedigree and specialization of Vargas and his executive chef. Their wood grill is the central tool in the kitchen and you'll find a range of steaks in various cuts from M5s for the common folk to M9s for people who buy and sell small countries for a living. Behold: the requisite tomahawk. What a beast. But a delicious one. Maybe even a sexy beast. Comes with six different dipping sauces.

If you don't want to go the steak route, there are two great charcoal dishes -- a lamb (really good) and an octopus (also really good) -- as well as sauteed clams, seabass, lobster risotto, mushroom and truffle risotto, four kinds of French oysters, cheese from the China-famous Le Fromager de Pekin, sides and wine-inspired desserts.

That last one is the "Pinot". Very much recommended. Choux Puff with white coffee cream.

Look for Bhacus to expand on their wine offerings, host wine-o events -- they already have the Shanghai Wine Society coming by later this month -- and for a glorious patio brunch deal unveiling in October.

Always great brunches at Vargas restaurants.

Why you should check it out: Because your teeth and lips are red and you know exactly how much a bottle of wine should cost, goddammit.

With its beautiful patio, relaxed environment, it's ideal for all wine lovers and situations -- from people who want to get a steak and make a big meal out of it, to people who just want some really nice snacks and some fairly priced grapes.

...And Also...

A familiar logo was glinting to us in the night so we had to poke our heads in. It's called Temperature & Temptation. Big dining area with lounge and bar. Ground floor patio. Sports on the television. Adele, bless you, on the stereo. As well as Eminem feat. Rihanna. (Or Rihanna feat. Eminem?)

Temperature & Temptation and is... a lot of everything western on the menu but mainly Italian. Beetroot carpaccio, seared scallops, grilled chicken and kale salad to start. Tons of bar snacks and sharing platters. Lots of wood-oven pizzas. A couple of premium steaks. Mains include a Seafood Risotto, Slow-Cooked Harissa Lamb Shank, and Texas-Style BBQ Ribs. We got a seared salmon. Which, in all honesty, was quite lovely.

Snagged the very decent happy hour deal for your edification, should you be in want of a patio and some booze. Monday to Friday, 2pm to 7pm. Special drinks prices. Very nice selection of by-the-glass wines for 35rmb. 38rmb cocktails. 25rmb Tsingies, and more bottles around 30rmb-40rmb.

B-52 and Kamikaze shots for 28rmb! Buy five get one free!

If you're the kinda person that goes to a happy hour and slams B-52 shots all evening, I'm gonna need your WeChat contact immediately!

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