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Nice frozen yogurt treats at Xintiandi

MOST people go on holidays to relax, Xintiandi restaurateur William Wong does that as well, but usually comes back with a new business idea.

Wong is one of the stalwarts of Xintiandi, having a venue in both the southern and northern sections of the popular Luwan District development.

His latest holiday inspiration is Yogula, an American frozen yogurt he has brought to Shanghai and is serving out of a store attached to his Nice Cafe.

Having visited his daughters in Los Angeles, Wong said he got hooked on the yogurt that is a healthier alternative to ice cream.

"I ate it and I thought this is delicious and it is low in sugar and fat," he says.

"I knew that there are many girls who watch their figure would like this."

The yogurt is popular in the United States, Wong says and his version comes served with a choice of fresh fruit toppings.

Selections include cantaloupe, watermelon and kiwi fruit toppings and the yogurt flavors include pistachio and mango.

The former Hong Kong real estate developer opened his first Xintiandi establishment, the bar Paradise, in 2003.

Following a holiday to Melbourne, Australia, Wong discovered the stone grill concept - where meat is cooked at the table on a piece of piping hot volcanic stone - and then opened a franchise outlet in 2004.

Along with Paradise Stone Grill, Wong also owns Rendezvous Bar in the northern section of Xintiandi and its neighbor Nice and Yogula store.

"There are so many opportunities in Shanghai and I like to bring things here that people can try and enjoy," he says.

"I like Xintiandi so much, and I love traveling around and bringing concepts back here, so people who come here can enjoy them."

It is the first flagship store for Yogula and Wong says he is looking for opportunities to expand the franchise to other parts of the city, given the success of his initial foray into the market in Xintiandi.

Wong has also changed his Nice Cafe from a French eatery to a place with a more casual, international-style menu.

He has added Hong Kong and Singapore-style noodle dishes (48-98 yuan/US$7.08-14.46). But he has retained some French favorites.

"After a couple of years I felt that people in Shanghai, while they liked to eat French food, also liked local or Asian food," he says.

"So, we are offering them a variety of food to cater for the wide range of different people who come to Xintiandi all day long."

There are also spaghetti dishes (98 yuan) as well as sandwiches and burgers (50-60 yuan).

For those looking for a more substantial meal, there are hearty mains like the Australian lamb chops served with mashed potato and a red wine demi-glace (288 yuan).

The restaurant offers a range of set meals that change regularly to take advantage of seasonal produce.

Address: Unit 3, Bldg 23, North Plaza, 181 Taicang Rd

Tel: 6387-8123


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