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What to eat, drink and do at new (and very red) complex The Roof

How to spend a few hours in Xintiandi's buzziest new building, designed by world-renowned architect Jean Nouvel

Photograph: Nani Mei Martin 
If you've recently roamed around the snazzy shopping area that surrounds Xintiandi, you'll probably have noticed The Roof, a red-hued building also known as the 'street of 1,000 red jars'. Designed by world-famous Parisian architect Jean Nouvel, The Roof's enchanting red pot-plant-lined walkways that connect Madang and Danshui Lu are reminiscent of Chinese street markets. It's a beauty. But when you're done snapping away at the bold architecture, it's worth sticking around to explore the complex's lower levels scattered with restaurants, bars, bookstores and more here are the highlights.

Eat

Moofin

French-run café Moofin’s domain is the English muffin – which the team bake in-house along with their own sourdough. If you’re a fan of a McDonald’s breakfast, these muffins (35-50RMB) take it up a notch, crammed with egg, melted cheese and then either truffle paste and French ham, a house-made sausage patty or smoked salmon and avocado. The store also slings a solid range of baked goods (try the raspberry chocolate croissant) as well as coffee and DIY breakfast boxes like avocado on toast, eggs Benny and a tomato mozzarella salad.

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458 Madang Lu

Gentle By the Artist

If the name Hiro-San rings a bell, it’s because the veteran chef is also behind popular Japanese curry houses HTO and Dr Curry. At this cosy, well-polished fusion restaurant (slink into the velvet cushions after your meal), he’s lending his comfort-eats expertise to a mash-up of Japanese and Western dishes with a menu big on grilled meats and seafood as well as pastas like mentaiko spaghetti, uni spaghetti and red shrimp linguine.

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458 Madang Lu

Caminetto

Mercato’s former executive chef Kelvin Chai puts his own twist on upscale Italian at his new project Caminetto. Showcasing fresh produce from across the country, Chai adds Chinese touches to the classics, like ravioli stuffed with shepherd’s purse and a wood-fired three-cheese shrimp pizza topped with ma jia gou (a rare celery from Shandong). And while it’s serious business kitchen, the environment itself is easy-going – the restaurant’s name Caminetto takes after the word for fireplace in Italian, cosy and warm in essence.

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458 Madang Lu

CHOCDAY

Chinese dark chocolate brand CHOCDAY has dipped into the ice cream game with this one-off Shanghai store on The Roof’s ground floor. The two flavours of ice cream – dark chocolate and milk (or a blend of the two) – come as a soft serve in a cone (22RMB) or a cup (28RMB), topped with a piece of CHOCDAY chocolate.

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458 Madang Lu

Soupublic

Soupublic serves up steaming bowls of soup from all corners of the globe: Sichuan-style dandan noodle soup, Spanish seafood, Korean beef and kimchi and Mexican chilli bean. They’re 48RMB each, but you can upgrade with bread or rice and a drink for 58RMB.

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458 Madang Lu

Brut Eatery Wine Bar and Restaurant

Wife-husband duo Priscilla Young and Jun Wu’s Brut Eatery empire continues its shift from cute neighbourhood café to buzzy restaurant and wine bar – this latest location at The Roof even has its own walk-in cellar that’s home to nearly 200 labels. The food offerings, much like the team’s other venues, cover countries far and wide from Japanese fried pork chop to Thai tom yum mussels and Australian sirloin steaks.

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458 Madang Lu

Drink

Shaker Logic

The heads in charge of cocktail hangout Mr Shaker (on Wuding and Danshui Lu) have set up an all-day spot that turns into a thriving bar by night. Expect American bar food like nachos and burgers, some pretty decent tacos (Korean pork and shrimp and mango are standouts) and a whopping happy hour that lasts from 11am to 8pm. Moscow mules, Aperol spritzes, mojitos (all 35RMB) and house wines (25RMB) are included in the deal.

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458 Madang Lu

Witchcraft

You may have already sampled a few of Witchcraft’s pours at pop-ups around the city, but now the Jinshan-based craft brewery has a downtown taproom of its own. There’s currently 26 beers on tap, mostly Witchcraft with a few guests from around China (330ml pours are priced from 32-48RMB). You’ll find the brand’s best-known brews like the Mexican-style corn lager Basic White Tee alongside more experimental tipples like the tropical Liuxi Hazy IPA – plus there's talk of a Matcha Pale Ale in collaboration with La Matcha in the near future

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458 Madang Lu

ad hoC

This sleek, industrialised coffeeshop blurs the lines between caffeine pitstop and evening drinks destination with its tiled floors, lounge seating area and menu of espresso cocktails. Aside from your classic coffees (where you can customise your milk, foam and syrup), connoisseurs also have a menu of single-origin brews with details on flavour notes, altitude, city, country and even the farm where the beans were grown.

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458 Madang Lu

Do

Toyou Books

You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in one of Suzhou’s classical gardens rather than a modern bookstore when entering this oasis designed by Shanghai-based architecture studio Wutopia Lab. While you might come for the books (mostly Chinese-language), the calming atmosphere with its Zen-like greenery and water features encourages a linger – as does the quiet café and bar around the back of the hallway that serves coffee, tea, wine and a selection of spirits.

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458 Madang Lu

Civas

Whether your home needs sprucing up or you’re looking to spoil a special someone with a nice gift, Civas’ wide array of floral arrangements – ranging from simple bouquets to a lavish bunch of 999 roses— will have you covered. Alongside flowers, the shop also offers dozens of other equally fragrant products like candles and incense.

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458 Madang Lu

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