6 new restaurants and bars in Shanghai to check out this month

Balkan burgers, a new concept from the team behind Suzu Bar and more for your radar

Photograph: courtesy Caminetto
As Shanghai continues to gather steam (or heat), so do the new restaurant and bar openings. This month we've got a double-sided concept from the team behind Japanese drinking den Suzu, an Italian restaurant fleshed out with Chinese features from Mercato's former executive chef and hefty Balkan burgers in Jingan. Read on for the hottest places to check out right now.
KAISHA
Photograph: courtesy KAISHA

KAISHA

The martini maestros behind Suzu have given Shankang Li a doubled-edged stir with their latest concept KAISHA. Representing two sides of the cocktail coin, the front of the venue is set-up in the vein of an American-style bar that also offers an intriguing food and drink-paired dinner menu available for only six people per night – think combinations like Iberico pork with grape reduction washed down by a blend of Dewar’s, Cointreau and blueberry sauce. Meanwhile, part two of the project takes after the Japanese approach to bartending and is ‘hidden’ around the back of the kitchen through a door posing as a fridge where you’ll be met by the familiar speakeasy surrounds of suited staff, higher-priced classic cocktails and the pacifying sounds of smooth jazz.

Forage
Photograph: courtesy Forage

Forage

New spot Forage in soft opening on Maoming Lu comes from a group of self-professed gatherers with a vision of bringing something honest and unique to the Shanghai’s bulging wine bar and small plates table. A trip collecting reusable materials around China has resulted in the rustic décor, while dishes on the single-paged menu are all about showcasing original imaginative flavours like green plum jam preserve with chicken liver pâté or homemade rice cakes drizzled in a seasonal pinecone syrup underneath raspberry ice cream – everything, of course, is complemented by a thoughtful list of well-made wines.

Caminetto
Photograph: courtesy Caminetto

Caminetto

Mercato’s former executive chef Kelvin Chai has taken his talents from Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Bund-side eatery to the striking new red shopping strip The Roof in Xintiandi where he’s putting his own personal stamp on Italian with Caminetto. Dishes largely identify as modern, open-minded Italian coupled with Chinese characteristics like housemade pastas that feature ravioli filled with shepherd’s purse or a creamy risotto clad with fresh crayfish and a chunk of pan-seared foie gras – plus a strong push to source produce from across country: ma jia gou (a rare celery from Shandong) is spread across a decadent three cheese wood-fired shrimp pizza and glistening-yellow baby cabbage from Yunnan comes served underneath crispy-skinned halibut.

Yugo Grill
Photograph: courtesy Yugo Grill

Yugo Grill

The space that used to occupy Japanese-American mash-up Lucky Diner on Kangding Lu has recently been filled by Balkan bites or rather, some behemoth burgers from the former Yugoslavia. The patties, commonly known as pljeskavica, have also been filling our stomachs right to the brim, stuffed with your choice of sauces, cabbage, pickles and the like. The store’s original street side hole-in-the-wall that made waves just down the road on the corner Wuding and Shaanxi Bei Lu still lives, but the new venue actually allows room for a sit-down, to let your belly breathe and soak everything up - along with regional spirits like shots of rakija (Serbia’s national drink).

Ember
Photograph: courtesy Ember

Ember

Fresh meat in the Kerry Centre and an exclusive opening if there ever was one – see a month-long waiting list. Ultra-sleek Japanese joint Ember is China’s second location (after Shenzhen) from prestigious Japanese yakiniku restaurant Nakahara in Tokyo. For those that do manage to squeeze their way in, there’s two options: one of the eight counter seats that do Niku Kappo, ie watching the chefs meticulously prepare a 11- course menu (1,280RMB) or the slightly cheaper route (880RMB), down a spa-like corridor with private rooms for yakiniku omakase. Both set menus read only in Chinese, but in this case trusting the experts is a fine rule to live by.

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