The Nest

A cocktail lounge with a full kitchen. Please welcome... the gastrolounge
Where: 6/F, 130 Beijing Dong Lu, near Yuanmingyuan Lu. Tel: 6308 7669
Why: Because Muse Group have collaborated with Bacardi to create a truly unique offering on the Shanghai scene

The concept for The Nest was built around vodka – French luxury vodka, Grey Goose, to be precise – and this inspiration is reiterated in everything from the interior design (there are bushels of wheat on display) to the Russian and Scandinavian style menu.

Unpretentious yet classy, this bar attracts a mix of local and expat clientele to lounge on the stylish sofas, sit at the comfortable dinner tables or congregate around the bar. Now that the nice weather is here to stay, the terrace, which wraps around the side of the venue, will be opened up to guests and we are told that there will be barbeques during the summer months. The open kitchen and Raw Bar, where ice-cold martinis will be served and paired with cured and smoked seafood, takes the gastrolounge model to the next level in terms of their food offering, by flaunting their creations to a captive audience.

The ambiance of the bar changes throughout the evening from happy hour, dinner, after-dinner cocktails to late-night drinks and snacks. The unique light instillation over the bar, which resembles the skeleton of an extinct creature, changes colour in time to the rhythm of the music as well as the mood of the evening, and draws attention to the centre of the venue, which conveniently happens to be the bar. The music is never obnoxiously loud, and you are able to have intimate conversations with little effort.

On our visited, we sipped handcrafted martinis and selected from the menu by French head-chef, Freddy Raoult, who has a decade of experience working in Helsinki. Perfectly matching the brand’s passion for a range of foods that pair with vodka, Chef Raoult draws on inspiration from Noma’s philosophy, and has lovingly sourced, sometimes at great pains, the best quality and freshest ingredients available from the sea, beach, forests, sky and fields. Chef Raoult has been known to travel to Japan to secure the best salmon, and currently there is no chicken on the menu as he has not found a bird that is up to his high standards. Our favourite items were the west coast tuna tartar (RMB 108), fresh from Japan and served with ginger, chilli and lime; Greenland on toast (RMB 68), which consisted of artic shrimp, dressed in a creamy dill and mayo sauce and placed on top of rye bread; and crusted sea bass (RMB 198), baked whole in a crust of salt, rosemary and orange zest – just be sure not to eat the outside!

If you’re an oyster fan, make sure to visit on a Sunday or a Monday when guests can enjoy the special price of RMB 98 for a dozen Fine de Claire oysters, unparalleled value for a Bund-side restaurant. We will be back for some more affordable luxury on the Bund.