In Season: How To Spend It!

By Michael Zee 2020-06-28 12:28:04

In a delectable city like Shanghai, where good food is in abundance, it’s not difficult to flash your cash. This summer, allow me, Michael Zee, show you where to get the most for your money if it's burning a hole in your pocket.

Tai’An Table
What Tai’An table offers right now is pure escapism. The menu, an eight-course delight on its 26th iteration, is studded with optional extras ranging from long-standing immovable classics (like the uni toast) to complimentary and seasonal. A refreshing chilled tomato and basil consommé with baby burrata, is the best Caprese salad you’ve ever had except in shot form. The palate cleanser, a green pea sorbet that is created in front of you with the help of some liquid nitro action is finally something wor- thy of having your goddamn phone out during dinner. Stefan Stiller, maestro chef of this sublime two Michelin starred restaurant has crafted something that is approachable but, in every way, possible, a celebration of food. I wish my wallet would allow me to eat here more.

Address: Bldg 1, Lane 161, 465 Zhenning Road, near Xinzha Road
Reservations: Online only -
Price: 2,500 RMB (paired with wine)
Good for: Birthday treat, craving indulgence

8 1⁄2 Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA
Sometimes, I slightly resent eating out at Italian restaurants as, with the exception of pizza, I always feel that I can easily make delicious Italian like fresh pasta at home (certainly better than 99% of Italian places in Shanghai). What 8 1⁄2 Otto e Mezzo BOM- BANA shows me is that they’re in the remaining 1%. After a three-year hiatus, they’ve decided to resume their lunch service, hooray! Four courses are a handsome 598 RMB with optional extras or enjoy the 81⁄2 experience for a fraction of the cost of dinner. Starting with an olive oil trolley, you can sample an Italian single origin or blend with a breadbasket of dreams. The busiate pasta, a handmade spiral served with uni and herbs, is a knockout. But trust the Italians to leave the best till last, a tableside sgroppino, cream gelato, grappa, and lemon- cello & champagne that’s been whipped together and unctuously flopped into a chilled glass. Its pure class.

Address: Rockbund, Associate Mission Building, 6-7th floor, 169 Yuanmingyuan Road, near East Beijing Road
Reservations: 021 6087 2890
Price: 1,000 RMB (paired with wine)
Good for: Celebrations, special occasions

New Kids on the Block
We’re almost halfway through 2020 and whilst it might all seem doom and gloom, there have been some new favourites and rising stars in the last six months worth visiting.

Roppongi Bar
On the corner of Middle Fuxing Road and South Xiangyang Road, quietly appeared a relatively average looking Japanese restaurant. The interior is like someone used a Pinterest board to order everything from Tao- bao, and on the two occasions I’ve had dinner here I was mesmerised by the TVs showing endless Japanese dramas, game shows and adverts that put anything on Chinese TV to shame in terms of how mental they are. Then the food comes out and I’m surprised, it’s not terrible, not at all, it’s actually pretty good! Honestly, it’s not going to blow you away, but it might remind you of that time in Tokyo. A perfectly decent sukiyaki is priced at 88 RMB with a wagyu version at 288 RMB, the yakitori is around 12 RMB each and on both occasions, I went all booze was buy one get one free. Definitely get a group of friends together for this one.

Address: 1251 Middle Fuxing Road
Price: 400 RMB
Good for: Groups or when craving Japanese

Soif, French for thirst, has brought a hidden cave of vino wonder to Jing’an. A short walk from Up, Arch and Logan’s Punch, a small imbibable neighbourhood is emerging. I went on an early Sun- day evening and chatted with Francois about his offerings, the highlights being a Gut Oggau rose from Austria, perfect for that spring to summer transition when you have no idea what to wear anymore, a stunning pinot noir from the Czech Republic, and the Milan Nestarec Forks & Knives sold by the magnum that is slightly sparkling and served a teeny bit chilled - delicious! Where I feel Soif stands apart from other wine bars in Shanghai, is that the advice doesn’t come unsolicited, like someone sliding into your DMs. Good service is about knowing when the customer knows what they want, or at least knows what they’re talking about, and to let them enjoy it in peace.

Address: Room 105, 550 Wuding Road Reservations: 156 1801 7131
Price: 100-150 RMB
Good for: Date night, quiet, adult conversation

Pass Residence
Woodfire, natural wines, and exposed concrete - in terms of interior design, it does not get cooler than this. A lot of care and attention has been put into the menu too. Thankfully, the ragu oxtail with pappardelle and the black cod gnocchi are on point, and whilst the pizzas are tasty they lack a certain amount of wood-fired charm. I need more smokey, woody flavours to really see a point of difference, but the place is practically brand new and judging the other restaurants in the group (OHA Eatery, Blackbird and Bar No.3) I don’t think that will be long at all.

Address: 318 Julu Road
Reservations: 153 0075 0579
Price: 250 RMB
Good for: Relaxed family dining