Sharing favourite local lairs around my Wukang Road jungle at the western edge of the former French concession = eating, drinking, browsing, and learning.
Godly‘s hundun (wonton dumplings) are without a doubt my favourite dumplings in town. Served in a dark clear soup of mushroom, red jujube and loads of other secret ingredients, the dumplings (18rmb) are stuffed with shepherd’s purse and tofu. Yes this is a vegetarian restaurant and my is it great to have within walking distance from home. Eating at Godly is a bit like popping into your cousin’s place for a cuppa. It’s homely. Other favourite dishes are the cold carrot coriander salad (12rmb)and fried noodles (28rmb). 303 Wuyuan Road, near Wukang Rd, 021-64718909. Open 7AM-9:30PM (approx)
Freshest addition to the neighbourhood is Daga, which roughly translates to ‘friend’ in Shanghainese. Housed in an attractive well-designed space, it is filled with refurbished tables, chairs, and light fittings from the 1930s that match remarkably well with the modern black shining bar. Lighting is perfect – soft in the evening and natural during the day. The cafe boasts fresh juices, strong coffee and a simple menu of pastas, risotto, salads (looking forward to trying the Thai beef variety) and sandwiches (parma ham with tomato, cheddar and rocket for 38rmb sounds worth a try) with no single item over 50rmb. A two for one glass of wine deal (60rmb) is currently a drawcard, as is the ample cocktail menu. For the time being Daga has opened fairly quietly, with professional and gentle service, but I have a feeling it will become a lauded local institution.
36 Tai’an Rd, near Xingguo Rd, 021-3496 5337. Open daily 12PM-11PM
Shanghai Showroom is a creative space that connects two design projects: xiaoxiao and Brut Cake, where handmade ceramics, beautifully fashioned furniture and home wares made from reclaimed wood, recycled fabrics turned into bags are arranged. A whole lot of inspiration to be still, considered, and to make-ones-own can be gathered in this quiet residential building. The Showroom hosts regular screenings, workshops, exhibitions and tastings that all reinforce the pair’s philosophy to design and life – to be and consume as naturally and simply as possible. Building 30, Lane 120, Tai’an Rd. Open Thursday – Sunday, 12PM-18PM
A gorgeous place to drop in to for an afternoon coffee and a slice of cake, La Petit Jasmine has the effect of transporting one from the city’s nonstop a go-go. A luscious green conservatory, and two dining rooms with distinct French feeling decked out in antique knick-knackery. A Mediterranean menu is available for lunch and dinner. It’s the most recent addition to the Le Petit cafe series. 214 Wukang Rd, 021-64038550
Catie Lo is a precious little fashion store brimming with prettiness and style. Furnished with dark wooden furniture and housing an upright piano, there is so much to look at and discover in this room of delight. Strolling by, it’s a treat to peer in to see if the circle of shoes display has changed, glimpse exciting colours of newly arrived clothing ranges and with a glimmer of hope to chance upon a pianist working his magic, while an elegantly dressed lady lounges across the red sofa.
105 Wukang Road, near Fuxing Road, 18610246093. 12:30PM-8PM daily