A Perfect Time to Dine

By Alex J Maze 2020-06-10 13:25:05

Allow the Warm, Spring Weather to Tease You Back Into Tasting our Latest Favourites from The Shanghai Dining World


In a beautiful heritage building in Fengsheng Li, in the centre of Shanghai, this fantastic restaurant lures you in with charcoal-grilled global cuisine and craft cocktails. If you are lucky to snag a bar-side seat at Charcohol, perch yourself up and watch the magic unfold. Chefs Mandela Zhu, Kevin Han, and award-wining mixologist Cross Yu use charcoal as an ingredient and an inspiration to inject a new depth of smoky goodness into their food and drinks. The fresh and fragrant cocktails, shaken or stirred, had just the right amount of punch. Food-wise, I started with the venison tartare, layered with ingredients that a deer would forage for in nature; fruits, berries, and greenery paired together completing a full circle. Followed by the mini crab cakes, so tender with a crunchy crust; these glistening orbs come with a rich, creamy dipping sauce that left me wanting more. The food menu offers many tantalising options enticing me to return. If cocktails aren’t your thing, there are enough types of whisky to keep you busy. On warmer evenings, enjoy an outdoor patio with 90 seats that will surely come alive. You are going to love the speakeasy vibe with jazzy beats in the background. Red velvet cushions scattered around like glowing embers, colossal palm leaves set above the bar as if poised to fan the flames of -wink- date night.
Address: 1st floor, Fengsheng Li, Lane 245, 18 North Maoming Road
Reservations: 021 3226 5752
Open daily: Sun-Thu, 5:30pm-1am, Fri-Sat, 5:30pm-2am Average spend per person: 400 RMB

Good for: Off-the-rails cocktail tastings, relaxed evening dining with friends


Once you push past its huge, iron-rimmed doors, entering Henkes restaurant on a cold day feels a bit like being greeted with a warm, cosy grandmother hug. Henkes, albeit not a new place, is the popular lunch spot on West Nanjing Road that was opened seven and a half years ago by famed restauranters Craig Willis and Max Haahr. With its excellently priced weekday lunch set, consisting of a starter, a main, and a dessert all for 138 RMB, it’s no wonder why the punters keep coming back. For those that adore all things brunch, there is a new set served from 10am - 5pm on weekends and holidays, including five items for 188 RMB per person when two or more people dine. The Henkes’ brunch centres around eggs to share, scrambled, sunny-side up with their golden crowns, plus prawns crested in an omelette, beef cheek sliders and bircher muesli. Hen- kes changes food items on its menu regularly, but the favourites/ permanent staples always remain - removing them may cause a revolt. I was delighted to spot a beef Wellington on the restaurant’s dinner menu, as at 268 RMB it's about as rare as a three-legged ballerina. Thanks to its open kitchen, tables like little islands oozing intimacy, and soft yet flattering lighting, Henkes also serves as the perfect place to treat your other half to a special evening.

Address: Reel Mall, 1st Floor, 1601 West Nanjing Road, near Changde Road
Reservations: 021 3253 0889
Open daily: 11am-11pm
Average spend per person: 230 RMB
Good for: power lunch, leisurely brunch, romantic dinner.

Meatopia by Stone Sal

While outlining his philosophy to cooking great-tasting beef, his stealthy cooking movements failed to betray the 29 years that Chef Lin has spent in various kitchens around the world. “Do you want to know the secret to cooking great steaks?” he asks, “Two things: top-quality meat and cooking with beef tallow. There is no secret”. Chef Lin, is co-owner and chef of Meatopia, unapologetically old-school - sourcing the beef directly from the US - and proud to claim that Meatopia is ranch to table. (He had me at beef tallow.) The restaurant’s menu has a variety of options ranging from starters, salads, and, to keep you company, wine starting from 258 per bottle or 50 RMB for the glass. But here the steak reigns king! My partner and I shared the USDA Bone-in Rib Eye - that tips the scales at one kg and comes house-aged for 21 days. Arriving charred, the sizzling heard well before it hit the table, the rib eye was perfectly seasoned and flecked with black volcanic salt. Cutting into the thick slab wasn’t a wrestling match, with little to no effort the gloriously tender slices fell to the side with buttery submission.
Address: 16-01 Fucheng Road, near Minshang Road Reservations: 021 5877 7567
Open daily: 11am-11pm
Average spend per person: 400 RMB
Good for: Carnivores, those looking to splurge.

O’Mills Bistro and Bakery

O’Mills welcomes all the ‘arians - not that Arian- heavens NO! - I mean the vegetarians, the pescatarians, and the vegans too. All the hip diets -eat this, not that. Even the intermitting faster waits for their window. And yes, you too, the regular eating folk, the ones without titles or restrictions, bless you. Xiaoxiao, the owner come Chef, spent two years across sixteen countries turning the ethereal into tangible, combining all the parts she loved into a single concept - O’ Mills (O for organic). The ground floor is the engine of the café with chefs busy at their trade; slicing, whipping and baking. The glass showcase, located just inside the front entrance, is brimming with fresh pastries and bread that are all made on the premises. The avocado toast is hefty and filling, with tender slices of avocado and two perfectly cooked, organic eggs. For beverages, the menu offers a large variety of reasonably priced selections, including non-dairy milks ready to be added to your coffee, and, our personal recommendation, O’Mill’s homemade tangy, spritzy kombucha. O’ Mills second location is due to open soon, and with it comes a new menu - tapa inspired. I can’t wait to see what she and her international team does next.
Address: 110 Yongjia Road, near Jiashan Road Reservations: 021 6209 2952
Open daily: 8am-9pm
Average spend per person: 130 RMB
Good for: Healthy crowds, restrictive diets, sourdough lovers.