Taojiang Lu sequel to one of Shanghai's most popular summer venues, named after that little street those wacky Beatles trotted across. Ample patio seating screened from the road, robust and comfortable seating, cheap beer on tap, friendly food menu, sports on the TV and lots of classic rock. This bar/restaurant is the ultimate expat venue. Abbey Road's menu includes mostly Swiss fare interspersed with some American. As good for an after-work beer as it is for a weekend lunch.
Atmosphere: Surprisingly busy for a Wednesday evening. Such is the draw of their weekly cordon bleu night, I guess. Can't deny the allure of a breaded meat slab and a drink for 108rmb. If daily specials are your kind of economical party, they have one for almost every day of the week (88rmb burgers on Thursdays!), as well as a Happy Hour with cheap-ish drinks. Wine will still cost you around 40 kuai, though.
The clientele when I visited were exclusively American and European expats. There’s sport on the TV, a smoking area outside and a classic selection of gummed-up Heinz bottles to splurt on your fries. Essentially it’s exactly what you’d expect from a place called Abbey Road, except that the food leans more towards the European than the classically British.
Food: Abbey Road’s menu almost exclusively offers cheesy, creamy, meaty foods. Want a schnitzel? Get one stuffed with cheese! Ordered the rosti? You’ll need to dig down through the car tyre-thick layer of melted generic cheddar to find the oily potato shreds.
If your cheese obsession has moved beyond simply using it as a garnish, they also offer fondue sets for 248rmb, so you can eat an entire pot of the stuff for dinner. What a time to be alive in Shanghai.
We tried the vegetable rosti for 75rmb, which absolutely fulfilled its cheesy depiction on the picture menu, and a schnitzel topped with a creamy mushroom and bacon sauce. One thing I quite enjoyed is that, instead of fries or wedges on the side, you can ask for spatzl (little buttery dumplings) instead. They’re very cute and fairly good.
This was unsurprising considering the sheer amount of dairy on both plates, but we found the food very oily. Both plates needed ketchup to take the edge off. If you’re into Eurostodge, though, this could be just the spot for you.
Service: Staff were absolutely fine, and exactly what you’d expect from this type of place. Food and drinks were pretty prompt, and they helped the table behind ours to choose different drinks when the women there mentioned that their first choices were a little too strong.
I’d note that the price is a little high for this sort of food. Mains start at 75rmb, but they shoot all the way up to 200+ if you’re going for steak or a fondue. At that level, I’d expect something a little smarter and better-executed than the very chain-pub-style food on offer. It’s just around the corner from me, though, so I’m sure I’ll go back at some point if I need a melted cheese fix.
The Beef: It’s no news that a smattering of shutterings had befallen the DongPing Lu area a while back. But this one remains a great go-to option for a cozy neighborhood restaurant. No fuss comfort food at reasonable prices. If you’ve been around long enough, you might vaguely recall that the there was a minor relocation (literally meters away, from DongPing Lu to TaoJiang Lu) a few years back but the current Abbey Road 2.0 got a major space upgrade with several sections– outdoor: terrace & garden; indoor: front room/bar & main dining area in the back.
Rosti (75-90rmb) is my must-have dish here. It’s a hearty comfort dish I haven’t found anywhere else around town. What is it? Breakfast heaven in a bowl. Think potato hash, ham, bacon, onion baked in a stone pot, loaded with melted cheese and topped with a sunny side up egg. Perfect for brunch, dinner, or a hangover cure.
The menu is European/Swiss(?) Popular dishes also include schnitzel of all varieties, stuffed with ham and cheese (Cordon Bleu, 100rmb), or just straight up with mushroom bacon sauce (Jagerschnitzel, 100rmb). You can also get spaetzle here as a side, which is a traditional German/Swiss egg pasta. Portions are generous, service is friendly and fast.
The Gang: Casual crowd, pretty even mix of laowai and Chinese.
The Motive: 50% off food on Mondays. Daily happy hour before 8pm. Options for indoor or outdoor seating. TV screens for sports. Dogs allowed.
The Damage: 600rmb for 4 at brunch with mimosas & bloody marys.
The Down n’ Dirty: Clean and well-maintained. Can’t complain.
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