Last night we had a small dinner party at the latest South Beauty restaurant in Shanghai: South Beauty 881. The place is located on Yan’an Xi Lu, between Tongren Lu and Shanxi Lu, on number 881 (hence the name) – right opposite the old exhibition center.
We had dinner with Arnoud Groot, a Dutch journalist for among others Nieuwe Revu, Jetsetters and de Financiele Telegraaf, who will also write about this restaurant. With Marcel Ekkel, a Dutch entrepreneur from Hong Kong who is speaking at a congress in Shanghai tomorrow, and who is also a fan of endurance sports. With Marcus Koppen, a German photographer who accompanied Arnoud during his interviews in Shanghai. With Ninie Wang, a Chinese entrepreneur in Beijing, who runs Pine Tree Life Institute (the first company in China focusing on senior citizens, or as she calls it “people in the happy age”). And of course with Qi (who managed to get off work on time!) and myself. Some great conversations about China, entrepreneurs and long-distance running, accompanied by excellent Chinese food, a couple of beers and Australian Chardonnay.
The complex consists of an old villa that is transformed into a trendy but cosy bar and a newly built restaurant. It has the potential to become a big hit in Shanghai, it is different from other places and prices are reasonable. The place has a beautiful roof terrace where you can relax and overlook the garden and part of Shanghai.
The restaurant itself is very bright, with mainly glass walls looking out over the garden and the old villa. It is quite spacious, but does not feel like a huge restaurant. Interestingly, the building was built around an existing tree! The tree is covered by glass walls and comes out of the roof (I only noticed it while on the roof terrace later on).
The food is excellent, like at all South Beauty restaurants. We had among others the spicy fish (Qi’s favourite), beef cooked at the table in 200 degree oil (by putting hot stones in them), fresh seafood, crispy rice with mushrooms and seafood (I always forget the name), and several vegetables. Everybody loved it! The service was also excellent. Waiters came immediately if there was somehing and they were very friendly.
I think this place has the potential to become one of our favourite restaurants in Shanghai. It is nice to find a place that does everything right: great food, great ambience, great menu, great location and great service (plus reasonably priced: 5 people eating (Ninie came later) including wine for about RMB 1400). Good luck to Steven Gebhardt, the GM, with making it a success! In case he reads this: I noticed that the restaurant is not (yet?) included in South Beauty’s website – that’s a shame of course for such a great place.