elcome to Gossip Fodder, where we babble on about new restaurants, cafes, and bars in Shanghai. This month: Blanche, Chez Jojo, Alimentari & Degusteria, Ars & Delecto, Stone Brewing, and Beer Plus.
Blanche is a new restaurant by the well-traveled French chef Jérôme Tauvron. He has done stints in the Michelin-starred kitchens of Pierre Gagnaire and Alain Ducasse, as well as in London with Marco Pierre White and at a private club owned by Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood. Tauvron also ran the restaurant Silex in Minhang before, and now he’s back in town with Blanche, a fine dining spot inside a restored lane house-turned-hotel called Bamboo Retreat. He’s known for melding Japanese and French cooking techniques together, and you get delicate yet intensely flavored dishes such as his deconstructed beef tartare with caviar, and his signature black cod.
100 Wukang Road / 武康路100弄
Taking over the Yueyang Road space where Greek Taverna used to be is Chez Jojo, a French bistro in the style of a guinguette. In France, a guinguette is like a tavern where people can have a casual meal and drinks, then sing and dance along to some guy playing an accordion. No accordionist here yet (but they pipe the same kind of tunes through the speakers), but the food is homey, well executed, and comes in generous portions, such as the escargot, beef tartare, and Angus cote de boeuf. At half a kilogram for ¥288, the steak is a steal too.
1 Yueyang Road / 岳阳路1号
Alimentari & Degusteria
Italian grocer Alimentari has opened another branch further north in Jing’an district, near Wuding Road. They still have the cold cuts, cheese, and bottled cocktails they’re known for, but they have a kitchen at their new outlet, which is why they slapped Degusteria onto their name. They’re serving breakfast all day, such as the deceptively simple salmon toast with cucumber, herb mascarpone, and poached egg, and a grain bowl of quinoa and lentils with sardines and Mediterranean herbs and vegetables.
343 Jiaozhou Road / 胶州路343号
Ars & Delecto
Ars & Delecto, which means Art and Delight in Latin, is a bar that combines the precision of Japanese bartending with the flair of Western drink making. Opened by the same company behind Bar Trench in Tokyo (16th on this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Bars list), the first floor is currently serving aperitif-style drinks while the soon-to-be-open second floor would have boozier cocktails. But what they’re already doing is on point: the Venetian Spritz under the classics section is invigorating, while the signature Mezcal Milk Punch is smoky, velvety, and intriguing.
222 Jinxian Road / 进贤路222号
Stone Brewing Tap Room
Stone Brewing, the San Diego-based craft beer and eighth largest craft brewer in the US, has opened in Shanghai, becoming the first independent craft brewery with a physical presence in China. They have 30 taps pouring beer that’s shipped directly from California twice a month, and installed Asia’s first flux capacitor to individually control the pressure of each tap. Hungry? They have food too, with a beer recommended for each dish.
1107 Yuyuan Road / 愚园路1107号
Beer Plus People’s Square
Beer Plus continues to expand the experience of boozing in a bottle shop with their latest branch at People’s Square. This is the closest outlet to town yet (the other two are in Gubei and Putuo), but like the others, they serve food such as pizza, steak, pork knuckle, and fish and chips. Their closest rival, Beer Lady, only sells snacks, and with both companies having three locations each, it’s interesting to see how this competition will pan out.
118 Yunnan Nan Road / 云南南路118号