Food For Thought

Each month, our dining columnist gives you all the news that’s fit to dish. Find out the newest hotspots and the latest closings, as well as the tastiest events in town for September.

It’s Chili Cook-Off Time! Bubba’s Cool Docks (Wharf 1846, Section 4, 653 Waima Lu, near Wangjiamatou Lu. Tel: 5302 7588. Web: is hosting the ninth annual event on 13 September from 11am. In addition to tasting the city’s top chillies, the cook-off will also include a pizza eating competition and a beer-guzzling contest, plus plenty of booze to fuel the party right through the awards. Entry is RMB 100, which nets amateur judges RMB 50 in vouchers.

The first annual Shanghai Community Food Fair will be hosted by Kate & Kimi ( at seafood specialty shop, Andes Premium Catch, (6B, 3187 Hongmei Lu, near Hongsong Lu. Tel: 5433 9806. Web: on 12 September. Expect tastings from local chefs, a farmers’ market with K&K veggies and chef demos with the host’s seafood.

To celebrate Mexican National Day on 14 September, Mayita (6/F, 98 Shouning Lu, near Xizang Nan Lu. Tel: 6334 3288) is hosting a mid-day blowout on their gorgeous patio. From 11:30am-4:30pm, RMB 300 will get you all-you-candrink margaritas, sangria, Sol beer, house wine, agua frescas and 100% agave tequila shots. There will also be some Mexican street food to pad the stomach for all those libations. Get your tickets in advance, as these will be going quick. (They’ll also be hosting a similar event for Brazilian National Day on the 24th).

Mooncake season is upon us again, and while that usually means passing on the pucks stuffed with salted duck yolk and Jinhua ham, Strictly Cookies (Web: has changed all that with its stuffed cookies (known as “mookies”). Available until 5 September, you can get a pack of six mookies (with flavours from sugar cookie stuffed with red bean to purple potato packed with white chocolate, and of course the classic chocolate chip dough with brownie filling) in a red gift set box for RMB 100.

Villa Le Bec’s slow rollout of eateries continues. The three Michelin starred chef has now opened the complex’s garden (321 Xinhua Lu, near Dingxi Lu. Tel: 6241 9190). It’s perfect for wine tastings, apparently, as evidenced by the invites we’ve received.

Several bartenders on Yongkang Lu havetaken matters into their own hands when it comes to early closing hours and started a bar around the corner from the ornery Shanghainese neighbours. Kulou Café (Xiangyang Lu, south of Fuxing Lu) may not have the same communal outdoor feel as the bar street, but it’s open late and it’s barely one block away. Expect the party to migrate when the residents get irritable.

Chef Brad Turley (of Goga and Hai fame) is opening a deli shop on the western edge of Changle Lu between Huashan and Wulumuqi – keep an eye out mid-month for that opening. Also almost ready to open as Talk was going to print is Austin Hu’s mozzarella bar, Bottega, in Xintiandi.

We must bid farewell to an after-hours favourite. Shiva Lounge (47 Yongfu Lu, near Wuyuan Lu) was too much of a night owl for its neighbours and bit the dust after four long years. No word yet on what will replace it – maybe some entrepreneurial Xinjiang ren will set up a head shop.

The first star in Shanghai’s cocktail galaxy, Constellation (86 Xinle Lu, near Xiangyang Lu) has opened again after receiving a much-needed makeover. Although it’s the smallest of the group of bars, you’ll still find yourself fighting for a seat in the leather booths.

Where might you find the largest wall of M&Ms in the world? Shanghai, thanks to the new M&M'S World® Shanghai (829 Nanjing Dong Lu, near Xizang Nan Lu), a 1600 square meter ode to those candies that melt in your mouth, not in your hand. Get ready for some overt cultural references when you enter the two-storey shop. That wall? Of course it’s named the Great Wall of Chocolate. And guarding it are two terracotta M&Ms. Kung Fu and Pandas are also both well-represented. They’re selling 22 different colours of the candy, as well as all the China-themed branded kitsch they can foist onto the city’s nouveau riche.

Tiki China (320 Hengshan Lu, near Tianping Lu) is now serving its islander food and drink from Hengshan Fang, the shikumen-styled Sinan Mansions wannabe just off Grand Gateway. Go for the chicken and the okra, stay for the rum-infused cocktails. Next-door is Grimaldi’s, a New York pizza chain with promise that we hope to try soon.

Rumour on the street has is that David Laris is coming back to Shanghai in a big way: with celeb chefs, Joel Robuchon and Tom Colicchio, in tow. The Greek-Aussie chef has teamed up with Cachet Hotel Group and Invest Hospitality to create F&B partnerships for hotels and retail spaces – not unlike what he did with Swire in Hong Kong and Beijing.