From the turned-on and keyed-in minds of Shanghai’s Camden Hauge (EGG, events company Social Supply) and transplant from the capital Warren Pang (Beijing bar Janes and Hooch) comes this relaxed wine bar and kitchen set in the cool-kid belt that bleeds out from Wulumuqi Zhong Lu, just a door down from their new café Bitter. With or without their presence, Hauge’s and Pang’s consummate hosting sets the tone for the Bird: relaxed, effortless and very much on point.
Led by Shanghai-born and bred Chris Zhu, the ideas coming out of the kitchen are great – inventive, playful and ever-changing (the menu turns over completely each month) – though not every punch lands squarely. One visit brought delightful baby squid atop fruit peppers ringing with tom yum flavours and a better wedge salad with Little Gem lettuce zipped with citrus and honey-lime dressing. Another time, the surprise winner of the night was chicken feet, deboned and served with Thai chilli sauce. Other ideas are similarly brilliant but the execution less so. Fried chicken skin atop a small peak of blistered chillies is chewy not crisp; cauliflower with porcini, fried kale and ostensibly truffle somehow just doesn’t taste like much. Still, Bird’s a playground of ideas and one you’ll want to keep coming back to.
By Cat Nelson