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91 Changshu Lu

Charles Zeng may not be a trained chef, but that hasn’t stopped him on his mission to bring a string of comfort food-orientated restaurants to Shanghai. The man behind Dos Locos (burritos), Captain Rooster (fried chicken) and Baobei Noodle Bar (err, noodles) has now overhauled his Piro space on Changshu Lu to open Charlie’s (burgers and hot dogs).

On your first visit to the newly renovated space, we suggest you head down the burger path. The bacon cheeseburger (45RMB) comes in a bun that’s squishy but absorbent, meaning the melange of crunchy homemade pickles, caramelised onion, lettuce and tomato manages to stay with the juicy patty and the crispy bacon until the last bite. If you like your burgers customised, you can also add an extra patty for 20RMB, more bacon for 5RMB, a side of rich and spicy chilli for 5RMB, or you can pick up some jalapeño peppers for free.

The hot dogs are made using Johnsonville Sausages, flown in fresh from the US. Opt for the New York dog ( 3 5 R M B) , which comes with sauerkraut, ketchup and mustard. The saucy combo is packed with meaty juices and is wonderfully satisfying.

For an extra good time, team your burger/dog with a side of Awesome Fries (35RMB); living up to their name, this decadent combination of thin cut fries topped with liquid cheese, caramelised onion and ‘burger sauce’ (a mix of ketchup, mayo, mustard and pickles) makes for a tasty, good value bite.

To quench your thirst, refreshment comes in multiple forms, from freshsqueezed lemonade (25RMB) to draught beers (from 20RMB for a pint of Tiger to 45RMB for a pint of Brooklyn Lager). There are also some luxurious milkshakes (flavours include vanilla and green tea, priced at 35RMB), which come with a straw test guarantee: if you stick your straw vertically in the middle of the shake, and it fails to stand up straight and touches the edge of your glass, the drink is yours for free. Unsurprisingly, the drinks are exceptionally thick, but decadently slurpable.

Bright, colourful and fun, Charlie’s has a simple concept that is executed well. Great for a solo pop in, takeaway or dinner with friends, it’s one to check out. Even dogs are welcome to grab a bite – our pooch friends seem to think the doggy biscuits at 15RMB are tasty too. And although the concept bares a stricking resemblance to New York's iconic burger chain Shake Shack (logo and dog treats included), we don’t mind, because Shake Shack is delicious, and thankfully, so is Charlie’s.

By Victoria Brownlee

Venue name: Charlie's
Opening hours: 11am-10pm daily
Metro: Jingan Temple
English address: 91 Changshu Lu, near Changle Lu, Jingan district
Chinese address: 静安区常熟路91号, 近长乐路