New Eats: Graffiti

The movement to combine art and food in both setting and atmosphere has moved beyond Taikang Lu. Newly opened Graffiti, a space named for the street art that will soon decorate its white exposed brick walls, is the brainchild of restaurateur Alexandre Daune.

Guests are invited to leave behind their own scribbles of graffiti on a mirror and wall near the restroom- somewhat like leaving behind a diner's eco-friendly footprint. A laid-back, casual, but distinctly youthful and current vibe is translated through the staff's friendly and talkative manner.

If you're wondering how street art itself translates into food, it doesn't. The art theme stops at the decor and staff's wonderfully memorable Super Mario-esque jumpers. Graffiti's menu is based on simple, fresh, quality produce and meat. The focus is on slabs of lamb, beef, and lots of seafood, with grilling being the predominant cooking method. All meat is, quite rustically, served on a wooden slab with your choice of vegetables. No frills, really- a set lunch starting at RMB 88 for two dishes, and a dinner menu starting at RMB 48 for yummy tartine appetizers, to RMB 138 for a nice portion of grilled lamb, or sirloin steak, or pork fillet, or salmon (or tuna, or scallops, etc ...). Beyond the appeal of freshly barbecued meat, the tartines demand attention with youthfully rebellious names and promising ingredients- Don Jamon Ramon (Bayonne ham, tomato, onion, Edam Chese), and You're Under Arrest (white tuna, carrots, mayonnaise).

In keeping with the theme of simplicity and youth, desserts are neither elaborate nor overdone. Graffiti offers a waffle dessert with a choice of Nutella (reminiscent of days when one ate out of a jar) and even a somewhat macho ‘Graffiti Man's Daily Dessert’.

However, before you get the impression that the niche clientele is jailbait, health fanatics, or both, the happy hour special should lead everyone. From 6 to 8pm every day, all drinks are buy-one-get-one-free. Jade Zhu

570 Changle Lu, near Xiangyang Lu 5403 2657


Anonymous's picture

Loved it!

 Went with a big bunch of friend and had an amazing evening! May it be the service, the Red Tuna (Oh My God...), the affordable bottles of Prosseco or the offered tapenades "tartines" perfect match for a starting glass of Ricard, they have understood what a good night should be made of! Not to mention that Music was as tasty...

Will make it a weekly thing for sure!



Dear Shopaholic: Hunting for a Halloween Costume

In TALK's October issue, our Shopaholics Anonymous columnist answered a reader's question about where to find a Halloween get-up in Shanghai.

Dear Shopaholic,
It’s that time of year again, when we’ve got to get costumes sorted for us and the kids for Halloween. We like to get into the spirit of things so it would probably be useful if you know of a one-stop shop where we can get costumes, decorations and everything else we need.
Thanks for your help!
Horror Story

Dear Horror,
Don’t you just love this time of the year, the yards all decorated up for the celebration of the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian All Saints day. More commonly celebrated because the kids love it – and all the more reason to celebrate in Shanghai where there are fabulous costumes available to dress up in for trick-or-treating, or just generally getting into the Halloween spirit.

There is no shortage of places to buy Halloween decorations for the yard and costumes for trick-or-treating and we’re not going to pretend this is a comprehensive list.

One of the best places in Shanghai for this sort of thing is Holiday House (1188 Panyu Lu, near Yishan Lu), they specialise in party goods, seasonal costumes and decorations for Halloween, Christmas, St Pat’s day and any other event on the calendar. They have a huge array of costumes, accessories and decorations, probably the best selection in Shanghai.

If you are in Pudong, check out Party Monster (41 Songlin Lu, near Rushan Lu) for all your ghoulish party requirements.

For convenience, Carrefour in Gubei (and probably Jinqiao) has lots of decorations and accessories, pumpkin bags for the lollies, fake cobwebs, hanging spiders, Halloween balloons and more.

For those of you keen to do it yourself, the accessory market at Yu gardens has a range of masks, swords, some costumes and accessories. The fabric market is another option for getting that special something made.

There are many other places to buy Halloween outfits and accessories, Partypop Party Shop (5F, 3211 Hongmei Lu) has a good range and the Hongqiao flower market and pearl market both have shops selling these things.

The main thing is to make sure you have plenty of sweets and goodies to give away to the kids, while you eat your fill of caramel corn and candied apples!

Shopping Tours Shanghai offers set tour options or custom designed tours to cater to your needs (or the needs of your visitors). For more information, visit the website,, or email Suzy on [email protected]


What's in an Irish Bar's Name?

Aw, there’s nuthin’ loike an old trip down tee ye favourite local pub, Paddy… Paddy Wang's?

There’s a new Irish pub in town, or should I say, there’s a new Chinese-Irish pub in town, and as far as I know, it’s the first of its kind. Paddy Wang, the owner of the establishment, is a local Shanghainese entrepreneur who exports construction materials to the Emerald Isle. During his time working in import-export there, he became enamored with Ireland’s most enduring export, the pub, and thought he’d take a shot at it back home.

What you get is exactly what you’d expect from the name, an Irish styled pub with an almost indescribable Chinese flair. All the elements of an Irish pub are present: the wooden tables, strange, unidentifiable trophies hanging out in a corner away from the bar, antiquated light fixtures, and, of course, the omnipresent specter of Guinness looming over everything from advertisements on the walls to the tap behind the bar. During my discussion with Paddy, I prodded him about the prospects of getting the lesser-known, but oft-loved Murphy’s stout on tap, in part because I wanted to test his Irish knowledge, in part because I just have a soft spot for underdogs. Paddy smiled saying that Guinness wouldn’t allow it, and furthermore it was hard to get even in Ireland, which, in my own rather limited experience, is true. Plus, Paddy went so far as to say that he thought Guinness was better anyway.

But for all the attention to the Irish details, there’s still something distinctly Chinese about Paddy Wang’s, and it’s not just the string of Chinese flags alternating with Irish ones across the top of the bar. Maybe it’s the fact that when I went in several customers were playing Nintendo Wii on one side of the bar. It’s good fun, indeed, but certainly not something I think of when I think Irish pub. Maybe it was the set of conga drums strewn on a small stage which Paddy says will host acoustic acts in the future. Maybe it’s that there were still portions of the bar that seemed rather plain and uncluttered with the kind of tack that overflows most standard Irish pubs.

It makes me think of what it would be like if I were to take the things I enjoy about proper Chinese food and open up a Tom’s Fandian back in America. Even if I were to pull it off, well, I know that anyone who’s tasted real Chinese cooking might enjoy it, but they’d think that there was something different about it. They couldn’t explain what it was, but they’d know it was different.

Then again, I suppose that’s what you’d expect from a place called Tom’s Fandian or Paddy Wang’s. It’s all in the name.

Patty Wang’s Irish Pub

Pints 30-45RMB, bottles starting at 30RMB

318 Julu Lu, near Shanxi Nan Lu


New Eats: Bistro Burger and Balthazar


Perfect… just perfect. Another late-night-eats joint at the Fumin Lu and Changle Lu corner, and in the form of a gourmet-styled burger.

Restaurateur Eduardo Vargas recently opened Bistro Burger, a smallish venue with sleek, casual décor that's open into the wee hours of the night until 4AM. Serving casual American fare,  their food is reliable in quality, but probably not too light on calories.

There’s 10 different burgers to try here. The original, aptly named “The Classic”, features a scrumptious 8 oz, 100% Angus beef hamburger, while other creative takes include the “My Big Fat Greco Style Gyros Burger”, which serves up a generous lamb patty in a pita. The comforts of Bistro Burger’s apple pie, chili cheese waffle fries, fried pickles, and spiked chocolate milkshake are also bound to be restaurant favourites. Prices aren't bad either, with burgers ranging from RMB 45 to 65.

And the Vargas empire also has another new addition: Balthazar, a modern French brasserie located in the Taikang Lu area. Expect fresh imported cold-water oysters, a selection of patés and terrines, as well as comfort foods including shepherd’s pie, mac & cheese and coq au vin. As a promotion for its soft opening, Balthazar has a 2-for-1 special on draft beers and a 30% discount on food until the end of the month.

Bistro Burger, 1/F Mansion, 291 Fumin Lu, near Changle Lu. Tel: 6170 1315
Balthazar, House 7, 155 Jianguo Lu, in Taikang Lu area. Tel: 6473 0820


Best 'not-going-to-the-gym' excuse ever!

I tried to go to the gym this morning and failed. But I don't feel too bad - because it's pretty hard to go to the gym when it's on fire! There's no possible way I can feel guilty about not working out when I did my best, but was prevented by a giant, life-threatening blaze. It's the best excuse ever. And in this case, it's even true.

On my way into the office this morning (yes, I know it's a Saturday but I'm trying not to dwell on that too much), I thought I would be really good and go to the gym. So I dragged my ass out of bed, threw on some sweats and stumbled out the door.

As I got closer to the gym, thick black plumes of smoke caught my attention. They seemed to be coming from exactly where my gym is, and as I got closer it became apparant that this was a serious fire. The street I needed to get to was blocked off by police, so I took my place with the hundred other Chinese rubber-neckers watching the scenario unfold.

It was actually a small house next door to my gym that had gone up in flames, and even from my position 50 metres away, there was a lot of heat. On the roof, the flames began licking the children's clothes that were still hanging on the clothesline.

Dozens of Chinese firefighters - who looked disturbingly like children in costume for a 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' fancy dress party - swarmed the site, putting up ladders and scurrying around with purpose.

Having not woken up long before this, I wasn't exacty in top mental form and it took several minute for me to realise that the building behind the one on fire - the one I was standing directly across the road from - was a gas station!

I'm not sure how far is a safe distance to be away from an exploding gas station, but I thought I would give myself the best chance of being as far away as possible and took off  back the way I came. From my position a safe distance away (where this photo was taken from), it still looks like it's going strong.

If you are in the Jing An area, steer clear of Yanping Lu.

Shanghai Cricket Sixes

Three exhibition comps are being held in Shanghai this weekend (23-25 October) to promote cricket in China, and entrance is free! The main event is the Men’s Sixes Cup, with international stars from the ‘80s and ‘90s attending.

One of the stars is Aussie Terry Alderman (pictured), whose achievements include having an even lower batting average than New Zealand fast bowler Danny Morrison, who will also be competing. Unfortunately, top batsman Javed Miandad, who for many years represented Pakistan and men with moustaches with distinction, has had to pull out.

Two teams of six compete in the Sixes format, and each player – except for the wicket keeper - bowls one over. The whole match takes only 10 overs, allowing 16 teams to compete for the Cup this weekend.

The other competitions are the Women’s Twenty20 tournament, featuring national representative teams from Pakistan, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, and the Development Sixes Cup, which is mostly for university sides.

A “Legends Dinner” is being held at the Sheraton this Saturday, hosted by comedian Raybon Kan, with proceeds going to charity. Think of it as a blokesy roast. Tickets are RMB 850. Email: [email protected].

The matches are being played at the Shanghai Rugby Football Club, just 30 metres from Zhangyang Bei Lu Metro Station (line 6).

CD Review: Muse – The Resistance

You’ll either love it or hate it, either way it will take you more than one listen to get the hang of the fifth album from this English trio.

Nowhere near the commercial zenith that was their previous release, Black Holes & Revelations, this latest effort takes the carried over apocalyptic theme to a whole other level.

Don’t get the wrong idea from the album’s first single, ‘Uprising’, which is the most conventional thing on The Resistance. The album in its entirety is a grandiose vision that encompasses sounds that are ear-achingly diverse and involves genres such as glitter, stadium, rock, disco, thrash and symphonic (pretty much in order of appearance).

Singer Matt Bellamy claims to be making a statement against “the corporate-ocracy”, which admittedly sounds a bit pretentious. And many of the lyrics draw on themes familiar to anyone who has read George Orwell’s 1984.

You get the feeling that Bellamy and his mates are about to go all inaccessible Thom Yorke on our arses if this is the trajectory they choose to keep following. The Resistance feels like something in between genius and rubbish, it will be interesting to see what their next move is. Three stars.


Expat Health: Training When Pregnant

Sarah Shivnan is a British personal trainer living and working in Shanghai. In this regular blog, learn tricks and tips for healthier living in the big city.


I get a lot of queries from women regularly asking whether or not it is safe to exercise when pregnant. There are a lot of myths deterring women but if you follow the correct guidelines then there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t continue with your exercise program – many doctors even recommend it.

In general most clients will train up to seven and a half months, or even close to their due date, depending on how they feel. My pregnant clients always comment on how great they feel after exercising and those that exercise throughout their pregnancy then find it much easier to get back into their pre pregnancy shape after they give birth.

So here are a few key points to remember:

The main thing is to be sensible – about what you eat and what you do. Don’t push yourself – know your limits. You only need an extra 300 calories per day on top on what you regularly eat (roughly around 2,000 calories per day) so you are not exactly eating for two but you also shouldn’t be obsessing over your weight gain or trying to diet. Allow your body to change shape naturally and enjoy it.

You can still exercise three or four days a week – but go moderately, now is not the time for intense cardio.

Be aware of your heart rate when training, you can do longer duration at a lower intensity. Keep you heart rate around 120 – 150 beats per minute.

Don’t wear restrictive clothing or let your body overheat. Stay well-hydrated and take rests when you need to.

You can still lift weights and do resistance training. A lot of my pregnant clients enjoy using rubber bands but you can still squat, lunge, do kneeling push ups and use machines. As you get heavier you can modify to wall push ups. Keep it light with a higher number of reps.

From the second trimester onwards, don’t do any exercises lying on your back. There are ways of keeping your abs toned without lying directly on your back.

Make sure you regularly practice Kegels and pelvic tilts exercises. This is very, very important!

Follow your doctor’s guidelines for exercise and nutrition if special measures are required for both pregnant and post partum training.

Be aware of overstretching. During pregnancy your joints and ligaments have more elasticity – don’t push stretches further than you are used to.

Most of my clients can begin training again around four to six weeks post-pregnancy after getting the ‘all clear’ from their doctor (depending on whether or not it was a natural or c-section delivery)

The first few weeks of post partum training is focussed on core exercises, again be sensible in these first weeks, your body has been through huge changes so let it re-adjust at a steady pace.

A lot of clients naturally want to rush back into their pre-pregnancy shape and often feel frustrated. This is a sensitive time and keeping a positive body image can be difficult but losing weight or trying to diet isn’t healthy, especially when you’re breastfeeding. Surround yourself with moral support and other mothers for a support network. There are quite a few groups such as Bumps and Babes and Shanghai Mamma’s that are particularly useful for new expat mums.

When you are breastfeeding you need an extra 500 calories a day, so be aware that when you decide to stop breastfeeding you also have to re-adjust your calorie intake too. (Your body has been used to those extra 500 calories and once you stop breastfeeding you are no longer using them up and often women complain of further weight gain during this time).

Be aware of overtraining or overdoing cardio as this can have adverse affect on your breast milk. Also be aware of scheduling training around nursing, it’s not a good idea to breast feed directly after exercise.

As your baby gets a little older there are lots of fun exercises you can do with your baby which is a great idea if your schedule is busy or if you need a home program.

Email: [email protected]. Web: /






Anonymous's picture

Private New Mommy Consultant

Private New Mommy Consultant
Hello New Mommys or soon to be!

My name is Shlomit, I am an OBGYN and Pediatric nurse with extensive nursing and newborn baby experience.

I provide private consulting and guidance services for Expat Mommys in Shanghai, regarding nursing or any other post birth baby related issue. (Home visits).

Please feel free to contact me.

[email protected]


Maya turns one

Not too long ago, Mexican restaurants in Shanghai seemed like a rarity. But now, with the likes of El Mexicano, Cantina Agave, and Taco Loco (just to name a few), the city's quesadilla cravings seem to be curbed.

Another Mexican eatery that's made its mark here is Maya, which celebrates their first anniversary on Wednesday 21 October. Party goers will be treated to discounted maragaritas, tacos, empanadas, and other mains, while the restaurant will be set up with individual food stations.

The food prices are pretty good too...

10RMB: Mixed mini tacos

20RMB: Burritos, quesadillas

25RMB: Tostadas, tamales, empanadas, gorditas & taco salad

40RMB & 50RMB: Main courses with sides

25RMB: Margaritas/Mojitos/Caipirinhas/Sangria

The birthday festivities kick off at 6:30pm. Maya will also have complimentary desserts and tomato gazpacho, raffle prizes, surprise tequila shots and a latin band playing from 7:30pm onwards.

Maya, 568 Julu Lu, near Shaanxi Nan Lu, 2F Shanghai Grand Plaza. Tel: 6289 6889

Stage Review: The Master Builder

For one weekend only, EastWest theatre is staging The Master Builder, a psychological drama by one of the most famous of all modern playwrights, Henrik Ibsen. The mysterious play will fill audiences with suspense, and pathos, as Ibsen – father of realist theatre – fillets the human experience and serves it up raw.

EWT deserve hearty commendation for wrangling with this play. All-out-yelling matches and moments of pathetic confession are demanding terrain for the actors, who play twisted, tortured characters.

Through his characters' dialogue Ibsen explicitly reveals the hidden, convoluted motives that underlie important decisions. Solness, the ‘Master Builder’, is an architect with a maniacal desire for greatness, but an inability to accept his success … because of the path he's used to obtain it. While torn between means versus ends, he's juggling a love life gone totally awry. He's reprehensible. Feeble. And most importantly, believable.

Thomas Caron excels as Halvard Solness. Caron was amusing and subtle in EWT's Waiting for Godot, but the challenge of playing Halvard Solness allows him to plumb greater depths of his skill and experience. Caron has 40 years in the biz, and it shows. He's going on tirades one moment and bemoaning his own failures the next.

His wife, Aline Solness, is a rich counterpart, played with stunning power by Amy Brummit. As the disappointed, childless, suspicious wife, her world is filled with bitterness, but she remains queen of her domain, with a vicious tongue.

Amy Brummit vivifies Aline's pain with excruciating candor and control, releasing more emotion in a terse jab than most of us can put into a scream. All in all, a tough play with some interesting plot twists and a satisfying conclusion. We won't spoil it here, but rest assured you will find all the answers by the play's end.

Tip: be sure to take a trip to the facilities before the show. It runs around two hours, no intermission.

RMB 150 (advance), RMB 200 (door). 14-18 October, 8pm. 1F, Building B, Ke Center for the Contemporary Arts, 613 Kaixuan Lu, opposite the West Yan'an Metro Station. Tel: 6131 3080 x 315 / 138 1669 2441. Email: [email protected]


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