The Autumn Shortlist

By 2019-12-02 09:53:37


Nakama is situated in a cosy villa in Xuhui and shares the space with its sister restaurant, Ochobo. As soon as you step off the street into the small, serene, bamboo-lined courtyard, you might think that you’ve wandered into a branch of Zen Massage, but fear not, you’re in the right place! The focus here is their in-house, dry-aged beef which you will see upon entering. There are various cuts of beef available from Australia and the US ranging from 88 RMB to 360 RMB (all prices are per 100 grams) for their M9 striploin. If it’s your first visit, I highly recommend selecting several different cuts in smaller amounts, so you can get a feel for what you like, which might not necessarily be the most expensive cuts. We enjoyed the beef tongue (138 RMB), M5 Rib Finger (118 RMB), M7 Striploin (275 RMB) and my personal favourite, the thinly sliced A5 Ribeye (330 RMB) that dissolves on the tongue. All the meats are cooked Yakiniku style on a small charcoal grill and watching your meat being skillfully cooked is part of the experience. We loved the Sichuan pepper clams which are an excellent bar snack and don’t miss the Lotus root chips. There’s also a raw section including horse meat sashimi (98 RMB) for the adventurous and although not the focus here, there are also sashimi platters. Wash everything down with some iced cold Japanese beer, or a bottle of Sake.

Address: 283 Taiyuan Lu near Jianguo Xi Lu; Reservations: 021 5466 6260; Price: Approx. 600 RMB pp; Good for: A romantic dinner or special occasion

Umaami Global Kitchen

Opened in January 2018, Umaami has steadily built up a loyal following of office workers by day and nearby residents by night. The brainchild of Joey Cheong, Umaami was inspired by Mezza9 in Singapore, where Joey originally hails from, offering authentic food styles from around the world in one venue. To achieve this, the spacious open kitchen is effectively two kitchens in one, split into two halves, allowing for both Asian and Western dishes to be prepared side by side. The result is a versatile menu with an interesting mix of choices that doesn’t compromise on quality, from traditional popular and “forgotten” Singaporean dishes (Laksa, chicken rice and curry chicken) to pizza and tapas style dishes; ideal for indecisive diners like me. The food then, by and large, isn’t fusion, although there are a few fusion dishes available, like the chilli crab pizza (168 RMB) and the Sichuan beef nachos (68 RMB). There’s also a somewhat rare Singaporean Sunday buffet brunch for 168 RMB (free for kids under six) serving up classic Singapore dishes including kaya toast, nasi lemak and hakka style “yong tau foo” (stuffed tofu). An impressive selection of craft beers, whiskies, and cocktails make for an enjoyable evening visit or perhaps even for lunch if you’re having a bad day at work! Joey’s passion, meticulous attention to detail, and his dedication are the key reasons this venue continues to thrive.

Address: 379 Hengfeng Lu, WPP Campus, Room L105; Reservations: 021 6040 0898; Price: 100-200 RMB; Good for: Business lunch or relaxed evening meal and drinks


Tucked away on a side street close to bustling Xintiandi, you’ll find Luccio’s, a cosy, non-pretentious, owner-run Italian bistro, offering authentic Italian cuisine at a more affordable price point than neighbouring Xintiandi. Open for almost seven years now, with a large loyal following, it is one of Shanghai’s longest established restaurants in a highly competitive and crowded market. Set lunches start at 78 RMB for a starter and pizza or pasta, or there’s a more substantial option for hungry diners at 148 RMB. In the evenings, there’s an a la carte menu covering everything you’d expect: charcuterie platters, salads, risotto, fish and meat dishes, pizza, pasta and classic desserts (save some room for the tiramisu), all prepared in-house. On our lunchtime visit, we especially liked the Parmigiana di melanzane - scrumptious layers of slow cooked eggplant interwoven with mozzarella and tomato (73 RMB) and the mussels and clams sautéed in white wine sauce (78 RMB). It’s worth mentioning that Luccio’s import their own wines, allowing them to offer a formidable wine selection at competitive prices. We highly recommend the South African Chenin Blanc (218 RMB) which paired well with the seafood dishes and didn’t break the bank.

Address: 242 Danshui Lu, near Fuxing Lu; Reservations: 021 5352 0587; Price: 200 RMB pp; Good for: Casual family lunch or dinner

Siu Long Fung

There are those of us who can be reluctant to “go local” and explore dining options outside of our comfort zone, but there are rewards to be had for those willing to be a bit more adventurous. A good place to start would be Siu Long Fung, a small Hong Kong style café serving classic Cantonese dishes that are perfect for lunch, dinner or just a light snack in the middle of the day. For a light meal, you can’t go wrong with a bowl of noodles with luncheon meat and egg (32 RMB) or perhaps fried rice noodles with beef (38 RMB). For something more substantial there are stir fried dishes as well as roasted meats like the roast duck with white cut chicken (79 RMB) with the essential ginger and spring onion dipping sauce and a personal favourite, the salted fish with eggplant in a clay pot (be careful, it’s hot!) for 38 RMB. No Cantonese meal would be complete without a bowl or pot of slow boiled soup and Siu Long Fung has a rotation of daily soups to choose from. Order some chicken wings and some HK style French toast for the kids. English menus are available, so there’s no excuse not to stop by.

Address: 129 Jiaozhou Lu; Reservations: 021 6222 8838; Price: 100 RMB; Good for: Casual, affordable lunch or dinner for individuals or groups.