Succulent meat and buttery
shortcrust pastry – mmm, pie.
Thankfully, former pop-up pie
purveyors Pie Society have now
opened a permanent location and
you can indulge in this satisfying
combination whenever the craving
The new space is more bright
and business-like (i.e. just like a
traditional British pie and mash
shop) than cosy, but opt for the
Seriously Beefy hand-made pie
(48RMB) filled with juicy rump steak
cooked in Guinness with carrots and
mushrooms, and you’ll feel lovely
and warm after just a few bites. An
extra 14RMB will get you a side of
mashed potato or some mushy peas
to fill your belly and feed your soul.
Pie Society 381 fanyu Lu, near Fahuazhen Lu. See full address details.
Is there any better pasta
accompaniment than cheese?
Come winter, we think
not. But the debate
over who does the best
is more complicated.
We’re fans of Element
as well as Captain
Rooster’s, and the
District Bar & Kitchen’s; but we
think that perhaps
the four cheese mac
and cheese (45RMB
at dinner) at Liquid
Laundry takes the
prize as most
caveat, it’s only
served as a side,
so we wouldn’t
but never mind,
with dishes such as duck nuggets
(68RMB) and mini Reuben sliders
(88RMB) on the menu, you’ll be hard
pressed to leave hungry.
Liquid Laundry 1028 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Donghu Lu. See full address details.
in as perhaps
the least healthy
entry on this
says ‘I don’t care
about calories because I can wear
a coat’ like eating lots of it. This
wonderful concoction of bread
dipped in melted cheese manages
to fill the void that summer leaves in
our hearts by giving us something
delicious to take our minds off the
outside chill. La Cabane’s fondue
(168RMB – best shared to avoid
drowsiness) hasn’t exactly been top
of our cravings list throughout the
long hot Shanghai summer, but now
looks well set to come into its own.
La Cabane 1 Taojiang Lu, near Dongping Lu. See full address details.
When it’s freezing outside and you
can’t face the thought of moving
from your sofa, curry is generally the
solution to your woes. Masala Desi
is available on Sherpa’s and we’ve
found ourselves ordering it a little
too often as the cold weather has
set in. The spicy, fragrant onion and
tomato-based chicken tikka masala
(64RMB) is a solid bet; add some
gobi paratha (bread stuffed with
cauliflower, 28RMB) into the mix and
head into the eating zone. You’ll feel
like a different, warmer person when
Masala Desi 401 Dagu Lu, near Chengdu Bei Lu. See full address details.
Generally in Shanghai, all dumplings
are good dumplings, be they from
Yang’s Fry Dumpling or any of the
hole-in-the-wall gems you’ll find
dotted around the city – especially
when you’re in need of a quick
on-the-go filler during those biting
winter months. But if you’re in the
mood for some calming comfort and
a slightly more refined experience,
we recommend heading to a
branch of Din Tai Fung.
fresh ingredients involved in their
xiaolongbao (64RMB per basket)
– not to mention the lack of cheese
– we’ve convinced ourselves that
these steaming pockets of heavenly
porky goodness are possibly the
healthiest recommendations on
this list. Regardless, they’re perfect
winter warmers – eat liberally.
Din Tai Fung Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Tongren Lu. See full address details.
Sometimes all you need in life is
a heaving plate of chicken with a
bunch of vegetables mixed in to
make you happy. Miss Ali (now with
a new branch opposite Boxing Cat
on Fuxing Xi Lu to replace their soonto-
shutter Dagu Lu original) is a
cosy Xinjiang eatery where you can’t
seem to order badly.
And if you’re in
need of something warming, their
‘Big plate chicken’ (dàpánji) is quite
literally, a big plate
of chicken (58RMB
large) served with
crunchy chillis and
The ‘small’ serving
is plentiful enough
to share between
a few and it also
comes with a side
of rice noodles just to make perfectly
sure you don’t leave anything less
Miss Ali 133 Fuxing Xi Lu, near Yongfu Lu. See full address details.
Ruijin Cajun isn’t in the most
glamorous of dining destinations;
but being tucked inside the low-lit
Kangaroo Bar on Yongjia Lu can
be seen as an advantage when
it comes to hunkering down and
scoffing some serious energy in
the form of their crawfish etouffee
(60RMB). This hearty Southern
US-style dish is a mix of crawfish
(obviously) with a thick and rich
tomato-based sauce dotted with
veggies, herbs, and served with a
steaming hot side of rice.
Ruijin Cajun 35 Yongjia Lu, near Maoming Lu. See full address details.
When trying to choose a deep fried
potato dish for this list we were
faced with a glut of options. So
after debating whether to include
Charlie’s ‘awesome fries’ (35RMB)
or Union Trading
(tater tot nachos
– yummm), we
settled on the
Why, you ask?
covered in cheese
curds, covered in
gravy. Love is the only answer.
For a while we wondered if this list
had a few too many potato and
cheese combinations on it. But it
is winter after all, and we couldn’t
not include Lotus Eatery’s mashed
potato (22RMB) when talking about
comfort food. The large serving of
mashed potatoes has a wonderfully
and is punctuated flavour-wise
by scallions and the occasional
While you’re there,
don’t skip the energy-dense and
mighty-moreish fried goat’s cheese
(40RMB; although we’re partial to
Secret Haven’s fritter version, too).
Lotus Eatery 1112 Dingxi Lu, near Wuyi Lu. See full address details.
Ending this round up on a slightly
more refined note is Wulumuqi
Zhong Lu eatery Unagi’s eel rice
(100RMB large; 70RMB small).
This dish can easily be shared
between two with a couple of other
sides (the omelette at 28RMB is
divine), however there’s something
wonderfully satisfying about
hogging a whole serving to yourself
and indulging in the combination of
fatty eel dipped and grilled multiple
times to create sticky and smoky
flesh, served on a bed of light,
steaming white rice.
Pick and mix
with condiments including wasabi,
sesame seeds and kombu broth,
for a flavour-fuelled food adventure
that’s hard to top.
Unagi 342 Wulumuqi Zhong Lu, near Wuyuan Lu. See full address details.
And for added eating pleasure, here are five dishes from our 2012 round up that are still keeping us warm.
The Chalet is consistently underrated for its food, but these sizzling beef fajitas are one of several great comfort dishes. Bag yourself a spot on the sofa or close to the electric fireplace at the back and go for this noisy dish that will cause everyone to look over, then order some themselves. The hissing strips of tender beef sit atop a pile of greasy pepper and onion slices and are served with sour cream, tomato salsa, cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce and a clutch of flour tortillas to wrap it all up in. Pair this with The Chalet’s ‘famous’ bowl of fries (35RMB) or the moreish chicken strips (50RMB) and you’ll forget all about the weather outside.
Excellent Beatles-themed yakitori (Japanese barbecue) joint, with a relaxed vibe and quality food at reasonable prices. Usually busy with Kota loyalists tucking into the excellent skewers of grilled meats, vegetables and cheeses to a soundtrack of Beatles hits and covers.
We named their pork belly as one of the best dishes in the city back in April 2011 and its place in our affections hasn't altered since. Braised to perfection, the belly is finished off with a blowtorch to create tear-away, mouthwatering strips of deliciously tender, fatty meat. It’s a simply masterful dish. One thing to note: this pork belly appears on the menu as hongshaorou, and shouldn’t be confused with the yakitori pork belly here, although that’s tasty too.
Kota's Kitchen L102, 688 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Qinghai Lu. See full address details.
Back in 2012 one of our favourite bathhouses opened a new outlet behind Tianshan Park; a bigger, more boisterous version of the Gubei original with a mainly Chinese clientele compared to the Korean and Japanese families who quietly pad around the first branch. Regardless of which one you choose, both serve great Korean food in cosy surrounds – the temperatures are pleasantly high and everyone sits around on cushions in pyjamas.
Their bibimbap, or stone pot rice, is a classic. A large dish of still-cooking rice (we like to let it lie for a bit to form a crispy brown bottom) is smothered in ground beef, avocado slices, grated carrot,mushrooms, beansprouts, spinach, spicy chilli sauce and an egg yolk sat in the middle of it all. It’s so good, it can stand as a dish in its own right or as an accompaniment to the restaurant’s range of Korean staples.
With its small hidden nooks and comfy cushioned areas, this Julu Lu house-set curry joint makes for a great spot to hunker down. Their Nepalese curries (from 45RMB) are good winter fillers, if a little on the small side, but it’s the cheese balls that we’re truly infatuated with. With small spheres of gooey fried cheese in crispy breadcrumbs and a tangy, sweet sauce on the side, this dish is renowned in the city and though the restaurant has taken advantage of their popularity with a hefty price tag, we still can’t resist ordering them every time.
This zen little vegetarian restaurant on Xinhua Lu is regularly packed and unless you get here reasonably early for dinner, you’ll find they’ve often sold out of some of the items on their handwritten menu. First to go is their roast potato and for good reason.
A silver dish houses a whole potato roasted simply in oil and cut into thin slices. It’s a basic dish, but utterly satisfying. We also like their yipinxian (28RMB, a bell pepper stuffed with vegetable puree, braised ginger and vinegar) and the hexiang zhusun fan (bamboo and lotus rice, 15RMB), served only on Thursdays.