The story appears on

Page B8 - B9

December 26, 2010

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

Street keeping with tradition but with a space to Surpass others

THE first thing many Shanghai newbies notice is the juxtaposition of old and new, of East and West and probably none more so than in the former French Concession. Yongjia Road, off Hengshan Road, is as much traditional as it is metropolitan. The new commercial and office mixed-use development of Surpass Court at 570 Yongjia Road is like many of the new retail and bar developments across the city - beautifully designed with muted colors and modern lines, but in danger of lacking character. When what the developers provide is a sleek-concrete shell, it is really up to the retailers to create something we haven't seen before. Many of the shops are works in progress. Being not-quite finished is so Shanghai right now. Out on Yongjia Road proper, there is a rich variety of traditional and foreign inspired bars, boutiques, restaurants and stores to tempt even the most hardened shopper or reveller.

Xin Dan Wei

Sure, it may be fashionable to saunter around Starbucks with your laptop and BlackBerry, but after a while the logistics of trying to run your project or start-up from a coffee shop become unworkable. Xin Dan Wei literally translates as "New Work Unit" and it's a new concept set to solve the problem of office and meeting spaces for start-ups, freelancers and entrepreneurs. Spread across six beautiful art deco-inspired floors, Xin Dan Wei provides flexible options ranging from simply a desk and a chair, to private conference rooms, high-speed and secure wifi, vpn, printing, copying and scanning, as well as tea, coffee and water. They bill it as a "multi-disciplinary creative center"; it's a concept popular in London. It's also a space tailor-made for collaboration with lots of creative types gracing the halls. You can rent by the hour, day, week or month from 15 yuan.

Opening hours: 24 hours

Address: 50 Yongjia Rd

Tel: 3428-0783

Mi Tierra

Adding to Shanghai's growing number of Mexican eateries; Mi Tierra opened in February this year and was the Mexican Pavilion's official restaurant. The restaurant occupies three stories of a gorgeous old Yongjia Road villa and has been fitted out in the best of Mexican style -- lots of warm colors and authentic accessories. A good night out will probably set you back around 200 to 300 yuan per person so it's not quite the rustic Mexican you may be used to from home, but they do a wide variety of tacos and Thursday night all you can eat tacos for 99 yuan per person. For spice-lovers there's the creatively named "Evil Shrimp" - salted shrimps served with "Evil Sauce" and rice.

Opening hours: 11am-3:30pm (lunch); 4pm-10:30pm (dinner); 11am-3:30pm (weekend brunch)

Address: 17 Yongjia Rd

Tel: 5465-5837

Ke Tang Jian

Located on the tree-lined Yongjia Road amid a quiet residential area, the six-room boutique hotel Ke Tang Jian has retained its historic charm. "Ke Tang Jian" refers to the room where homeowners receive guests in a rich Shanghainese family. And the hotel itself is a perfect example of Shanghai bourgeoise spirits and style. The old building was strictly renovated according to the original plans featuring art deco style with mostly cream walls and rich old wood floor throughout. Each of the rooms features elegant details from the stand-alone bathtub, old cabinet to the Spanish-style tiles. The average rate starts at 600 yuan. Le Voyage Asian Kitchen on the ground floor serves creative Thai food both indoors and in a garden setting. It focuses primarily on Southeast Asian food but serves Western-style breakfast for hotel guests. With the historic deco roots, the chic and comfortable boutique hotel aims to draw today's discerning travelers from around the world.

Address: 335 Yongjia Rd

Tel: 5466-9335

The Roof

This Japanese-style cocktail and whiskey bar opened in October in Surpass Court and has all the standard, crowd-pleasing fare you would expect. But dare the bartenders to "surprise me" and they will rise to the challenge with something creative. They specialize in using quality ingredients such as fresh, whole cranberries instead of cranberry juice in their Cosmos and imported Taiwanese sugarcane instead of powdered sugar in their Mojitos. Drinks range from 68 yuan for a standard rum and coke to 98 yuan for a Martini. The spectacular rooftop terrace that gives this establishment its namesake will surely become a big draw when the good weather makes it to Shanghai.

Opening hours: Bar: 5pm-2am Sunday-Thursday; 5pm-3am Friday and Saturday

Restaurant: 5pm-12pm

Address: 4/F, Bldg 4, 570 Yongjia Rd

Tel: 6073-7628

Interiors by Carpetstan

CNN described Carpetstan's founder Aziz Idris as "Shanghai's Carpet King." After the success of the first Carpetstan shop on Yangqing Road, the family-run business has expanded into this much larger space in Surpass Court. With its floor-to-ceiling carpets and overflowing textiles, it does make you feel a little regal. The beautifully patterned rugs and carpets fill every space with new stock coming in regularly. They source their carpets, textiles, furniture, lamps and bottles from Central Asia, including China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey. Prices range from 15,000 yuan for a large rug to 800 to 1,000 yuan for a smaller one and around 800 yuan for a cushion. People are only starting to get to know this second shop, in large part helped by Surpass Court's surrounding bars. Plan some extra time merely to look - every carpet has a story. Different patterns correlate to different regions and families and represent the path of history.

Opening hours: 11am-7pm

Address: Unit 313, Bldg 3, 570 Yongjia Rd

Tel: 1391-6186-302

ASIG Design

American architect and furniture designer Andrew Sigfrids opened this furniture showroom in Surpass Court, displaying samples of ASIG Design's contemporary, custom-designed furniture built with a mix of materials as well as a collection of distinctive home decor, hand-picked from around the world. Sigfrids works with home and business owners to create one-of-a-kind furniture and decor items for their home, office, store or restaurant. He uses sustainable materials (mostly reclaimed elm wood ranging from 100 to 150 years old) in order to produce custom-designed modern furniture. He works out of the store and designs pieces right in front of his customers using a 3D computer program so they can immediately see their products. In some cases, Sigfrids will model the entire space where the furniture pieces will be placed so customers can get a sense of space and relationship to other existing furniture. The prices reflect the quality of the product while Sigfrids doesn't charge a design fee, which means the prices are competitive to any other high-end showroom. A typical single seat sofa is 7,000 yuan while a solid wood dining table can range from 9,000 to 11,000 yuan. A top-grain leather dining chair is priced at 2,900 yuan.

Opening hours: 10am-7pm

Address: Unit 412, Bldg 4, 570 Yongjia Rd

Tel: 6073-7622

Atelier et Moi

The first thing that hits you when you set foot in this homeware and gift store is the scent of European chic. They have been open in Surpass Court for two months and stock a wide range of quaint bits and bobs: ceramics, stationery, books, stamps, glassware and kitchenware, both Chinese-made and imported from France, Japan and the US. "I love Paris in the springtime" croons the French singer over the sound system - very fitting for the former French Concession. Their tagline is "delight in little things" and prices range from the little to the not-so-little: 1 yuan for a labelling sticker to 11,500 yuan for a large kitchen cabinet. Both faux and genuine vintage abound - much of the furniture is custom-made in China and then given a "distressed" treatment to make it look as though it's recently been moved out of an old French farmhouse. You can customize your own wrapping materials from a selection of typically understated papers and if you spend more than 200 yuan the wrapping is free.

Opening hours: 12am - 9pm

Address: Unit 213, Bldg 2, 570 Yongjia Rd

Tel: 6073-7572


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend