#cocktails #drinks #thebund #shanghai #closed
Three on the Bund,
2/F, 3 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu,
near Guangdong Lu
爸爸马里奥 Da Papa Mario’s
No.1, 370 Dagu Lu, near Chengdu Lu
+86 21 6340-1386
Price Range 2 $/¥/NT
63 Yongkang Lu, near Xiangyang Lu
+86 139 1798 5763
Price Range 1 $/¥/NT
Where did the Thirsty Pig Go?
The Purple Onion, part of famed Shanghai restauranteur David Laris empire, nice little European bistro. Though it is tucked away in a small alley, it is still conveniently located in the heart of the Shanghai French Concession. I thought we made a wrong turn somewhere, as we continued down the dark small alley of Shanghai old houses. Opened just a year ago, the Purple Onion is a favorite among my friends. Immediately as we walked in, I could see why this quaint little restaurant has regulars. The spacious outdoor al fresco area looked inviting, for the pleasant weather months, but not on this December night. The main dining area, with barely 10 tables, allows for intimate dining. Good for small groups and dates.
What did the Thirsty Pig Eat?
We decided on the Christmas menu, since we were in the mood. If you choose a starter, a main, and dessert the combination is 300 RMB. Unfortunately, they were out of the their chestnut and truffle soup, but they had their regular Artichoke Soup – which was pretty good. But I have say, I kinda like the sound of the chestnut and truffle for a soup. We also had the Soft Boiled Duck Egg, with Pancetta and Mustard Fruits for 78 RMB. I liked this salad – for the runny yolk and crunchy pancetta. Next up were the mains, the Roasted Pork, Stuffed with Apricots and Pistachios served with Parsnip Puree and Fennel for 168 RMB and Roasted Turkey stuffed with Prunes and Armagnac served with Caramelised Witlof for 168 RMB. I wasn’t sure what Witlof was, but I now know that I like it. The turkey and pork, both are notoriously dry, and unfortunately, Purple Onion’s was a bit dry as well. But I think they understood this and made sure that the sweet accompanied sauce blended the dryness to produce a nice meld. I was fine with this. I liked the turkey much more than the pork. (And I usually go for pork, regardless of the menu) Lastly, we had the Christmas Mince Pies for 48 RMB and Christmas Pudding with Brandy Cream for 78 RMB. The mince pies were these bite sized baked goodies. But they kind of reminded me of a holiday fruitcake (not a good thing). The Christmas Pudding was really tasty and moist – nice way to finish the meal.
Since we tried the Christmas menu, I nary a look at their regular menu. I do intend to return try their regular menu.
What to Order: I have heard their Pizzas as really good
What not to Order:
Price Range 2 $/¥/NT
The Purple Onion
No 16, Lane 351 Huashan Lu, near Changshu Lu
+86 21 6248 8747
Where did the Thirsty Pig go?
The Geisha is a Japanese themed restaurant with a dance club and bar lounge in a multilevel space. Situated in the heart of the French Concession of Shanghai 上海法租界, Geisha is the latest place to go for dining and dining. The Geisha, which opened toward the end of the Summer of 2011, is part of the Collective Concepts group, that brought The Apartment and Food Central to Shanghai.
I like the design and space of The Geisha. The dark lighting and red accents gives puts you immediately in the mood. The first floor restaurant features a sushi bar. The 2nd floor is the nightclub with couches and dance floor. I like tables with the built-in ice bucket, basically a hole in table for the bottles and ice. The center of the dance floor includes a raised bathtub for the go-go dancers. You can’t help but be drawn to the bathtub, even without a dancer. The third floor lounge, is my favorite, with a nice large outdoor deck. Unfortunately, you could probably only use this deck a few months out of the year, not during the sweltering summers and bitter winters.
What did the Thirsty Pig eat?
Our group started off with some of their signature cocktails. I liked how they are creative with their concoctions with infused vodkas. Nowadays, Shanghai bars and lounges need an edge with special and exclusive drinks. The Republic of Earth was pretty good, but not cheap at 65 RMB. The California in me, also liked the different rolls. I wasn’t really looking for a true Japanese experience with sashimi or sushi, so rolls, almost anytime, are fine with me. Cool names and nice combinations. Aside from the rolls, I didn’t care much for the mains. But I won’t get into that much.
The Geisha is a cool venue. But for dining, I wouldn’t necessarily go. I would just go prior for some light snacks or munching with drinks. The night club is cool, as well as the lounge.
Here is New Year’s Eve diner menu.
What to Order: I liked the Lucky Seven and Ho Chi Min’s Horse
What not to Order: Didn’t care much for the Yellow Tail Carpaccio or the Blue Fin Tuna, Foie Gras Torchon On a Spoon or the Sweet Soy Braised Chicken
Price Range 3 $/¥/NT
390 Shanxi Nan Lu, Fuxing Lu
+86 21 6403 0244
Dr. Beer is a new entrant in the Micro-Bewery or gastropubs in Shanghai. Dr. Beer will compete on a few different fronts with other establishments. Related to Dr. Wine, just located down the street on Fumin Road, Dr. Beer has a different type of vibe – more of a loft/warehouse industrial look, with a cool DJ, a female no doubt, blaring above on the catwalk gantry. I like how these gastropubs now offer food that is considered more than just a footnote – like peanuts or pretzels.
With the Kerry Hotel’s Brew, Brix and Boxing Cat Brewery, Dr. Beer will have to step up its brew game. From other reviews, I have read that the beer isn’t as good as its competitors. I had the Pilsner and Wheat, which I thought was both pretty good. But I do confess that I am not a beer aficionado, so I can’t claim to know a lot about beers. Additionally, places like Apartment, El Coctel, as well as the previous named ones offer full menu dining. I really liked the pizzas at Dr. Beer, since they over did it with the cheese. I like really cheesy pizzas. The popcorn chicken was another favorite, with its spiciness.
With all this competition, I think the best thing going for Dr. Beer is the great location and space. The central-ish spot on Fumin road near Julu road, is ideal with the big main street close by. With other restaurants, like People’s, Guyi, and Coconut Paradise close by, Dr. Beer is a nice 2nd stop. The large warehouse space is cool with a variety of seating options with high standing stools, or loungey couches, or simple tables. The DJ adds an additional element of a club. I like it. But I do think it gets a little loud at times.
Anyways. . .Look for Alex, the manager, and tell him the Thirsty Pig sent ya!
What to Order: Wheat Beer, Pilsner Beer, Popcorn Chicken
What not to Order: Spicy Chicken Wings
Price Range 2 $/¥/NT
ADDRESS:83 Fumin Lu,
near Yan’an Lu
Itsuki is an all you can eat Japanese Teppanyaki/BBQ restaurant. Located in the Donghu hotel, they have a pretty good deal for 150 RMB, which also includes all you can drink (alcohol included). For beef lovers, this place features a pretty quality of meat. I’ve had some forgettable all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurants, but Itsuki, which comes highly recommended, is actually not bad.
Located in the foreign infested area of the French concession with Bar 88, Dakota’s, Monkey Lounge, Cantina Agave, Craft, and other eateries, Itsuki is hidden inside the Donghu Hotel. The restaurant itself has seen better days, probably when the hotel first opened. Now it survives on the gimmick of the All You Can Eat Japanese concept. I would venture to say that you wouldn’t find many of these Japanese BBQ’s on the top of many lists or have high ratings from Michelin reviewers or guides. Yet, seemingly on the bottom of this food chain, it does exist.
Surprisingly, Itsuki, does have some pretty good quality meat. The manager must have found it in his heart or the pride, to select good cuts of beef. The clientale, mostly local Shanghainese, with nary of foreigner or Japanese in sight, must taken a liking to this place. Outside of hotel guests, I’d surmise that most of the customers are repeat ones or daring Dianping followers (with Itsuki garnering 3.5 stars). Yet, after the beef, I wouldn’t hardly recommend anything else – the kimchi pancake was horrendous and the soup was bland. Surprisingly, the Korean soup was flavorful. This leads me to my never-ending question – why does a supposedly Japanese BBQ (AYCE) have kimchi, kimchi pancake, kimchi fried rice, and spicy (Korean-Style) soup? Is it because it is Korean owned – as other joints I’ve been to in the US are). Do the Japanese really have spicy pickled cabbage – not likely, since Japanese don’t really eat with their tummies. But I am lead to believe, and wouldn’t be that surprised – that these restaurants are truly Korean owned, yet, the Japanese angle with the master prep and use of beef is more of a marketing ploy.
Regardless . . . Itsuki is a place I would return to. I would also recommend as well. The one thing I do hate though, is the lack of ventilation with the oily smoke hovering around us and our clothes.
What to Order: Beef
What not to Order: Kimchi Pancake
Price Range 1 $/¥/NT
After reading the reaming that City Weekend gave by Dan Ouyang wrote and Christopher St Cavish of SmartShanghai.com, I realize, perhaps I should rethink what I was going to say. I’m usually a pushover when it comes to Yakitori.
Though I am not a expert on Yakitori, I do know what skewers I like. I don’t necessarily go for the chicken heart, liver, or weird parts first. With my traditional Western sensibilities, I go for simple things like quail eggs, chicken meat balls, and chicken wings. But tonight, with the 6 of us, we order all types – from the thick beef tongue, to juicy sausage, to the standard hamachi collar, and to the simple scallops. Tonight was a mixed bag of review – some was good, some wasn’t, but overall, I think it was a good experience.
Nanbantei of Tokyo is an international chain of yakitori restaurants, with locations in Hong Kong, Singapore, and now Shanghai. Based out of their flagship restaurant in Roppongi, Japan, Nanbantei has a history of going back over 40 years.
Let’s start with what I enjoyed. I liked the chicken wings, the chicken balls, and the Hamachi collar. The wings were large, plump, and tasty. The balls were expected as savory (chicken) balls are. The hamachi collar was very good, but a little on the dry side. Then there was this miso leaf grilled pork skewer thing – it just had a funny taste. I made the mistake of ordering 3 skewers – with 3 pieces on each. . .I think less than a skewer was touched at all.
Then there were some things that we could have done without. The thick beef tongue was absolutely gross. I know, based on my friend’s word, that the beef tongue is presented this way, since it is grilled. I’m used to the delicate slices that we DIY grill yourself – sort of like the Korean BBQ’s. Then there was the cheese. . . it was practically on some many skewers, that I thought i was in a pizza joint. I know the unique and novelty of nature of cheese in Japanese and Asian culture. But why does it have to be this way. yes, I know I can cast my “vote” by not ordering or eating it – but I had to try it. Anyways. . .Cheese . . .not a fan with Japanese food.
Perhaps it is because of the diverse foreign crowd in Shanghai, that diners can be a little more picky than usual. The two previous reviews reflect palettes that were developed outside of Shanghai and China – as is mine. Understandably, Shanghai’rs demand quality meals from these establishments. Yet, I can see why they, as well as myself, would be disappointed from such as well-known chain. Anyways. . .its cool place in a great location – but the food, as I agree with the two guys, left a lot to be desired.
What to Order: hamachi collar and chicken wings
What not to Order: Pork, Beef tongue, and anything with cheese
Price Range 2 $/¥/NT
Nanbantai of Tokyo, Shanghai
1 Yueyang Road, Shanghai
+86 21 64375651
I got to check out Racks before their Grand Re-Opening at their new location, from their Xintiandi location.
Though I’m not much of a pool player, I know this place almost invites you to play. With good music and drinks, Racks can almost seem like a nice bar lounge. The tables are the same, if not better, as the ones you’d find in the states at other finer pool halls.
The plush cozy interior features several pool tables on two floors, with a VIP lounge area for private events. There’s even an outdoor patio for enjoy the Shanghai skyline. There’s a full bar on both the 5th and 6th floor for all your drinking needs. They have a full bar with some of the more popular liquors you’ll find in bars in the states. The lounge area upstairs is ideal for a birthday party or a mixer with the centerpiece white pool table.
Rack’s is having their grand Re-Opening tomorrow Wednesday, November 10th. RSVP’s were required by yesterday November 8th. But if you call, you just might get reservations.
Tim Sher, one of the partners was generous enough to show me around the the lounge/pool hall. It’s really a small world when one of my current classmates is his childhood friend, while my old Shanghai friends have known him awhile, as well. When you stop by Racks, make sure you tell him that you saw my post.
The Apartment is one my favorite lounges in Shanghai. Always a challenge for someone new to any city, is finding a decent place to hangout for drinks and chillaxin’.
Located in the off the new swanky, yet hidden, area on Yongfu and Fuxing road, in the Xuhui district, The Apartment is a cool lounge, that also serves food. But, I haven’t tried the food, though pundits on foursquare don’t recommend the pizza. Their outdoor rooftop lounge area is where their large pizza oven is located. Maybe one of these days, I will try the food.
After hiking up three elevator-less floors, you finally reach the great door. Once inside, you notice a few sitting areas with eclectic sofas and chairs. Toward the rear of the room, you see the an oversized lounge bed, made popular from the clubs in Vegas and New York. I only wish there were a few more of these beds. In the back, there’s an ignored area of regular tables for dining, which seems a bit out of place. I’d just make that area into a private party room, than pretend that people come for the food. As I mentioned earlier, there’s an outdoor lounge area, which probably has optimal use about 3, maybe 4 months out of the year. With the crazy Shanghai heat and bitter winters, The Apartment probably will only have high demand there in the short spring and autumn months.
Almost every night I’ve been there, there’s been a small band playing or a DJ. I like the DJ, but the band, which varies, is a hit or miss. One night, they were playing cover songs in a melancholy way, that it was almost hurting our group’s mood.
They offer bottle service and reservations for tables areas. They only have a couple of beers on tap and a bit more bottled. They have bottles of vodka, whiskey, and others. Personally, I’m a beer guy and almost anything else, except champagne.
Weekends get crowded fast, too. One thing is. . .this place is not place to pick up chicks, since most everyone that comes, has a table or comes with people. There isn’t a dance floor so, mingling might be a challenge. But if you have game, which I don’t, you might be able to score.
Though it seems I’ve complained a lot, I actually really like The Apartment. I know I’ll be back a lot. Other places I like in Shanghai are the Monkey Bar and El Coctel. If you have suggestions on other similar places, please let me know.
Price Range 2 $/¥/NT