Style And Substance
FSo often it seems in the restaurant industry that substance plays second fiddle to style, that it’s a genuine pleasure to find a tucked-away nook serving food and drinks every bit as tasty as the ambience is stylish. Nestled down a little lane in Shanghai’s former French Concession, Vis-a-Vis is a chic amalgam of cafe, bistro and bar courtesy of GM Xavier Noebes and bartender Arnaud Delauzun, with its pretty-as-a-pup interior of subtle drabs and buffs, black metal, raw woods and stone, and airy, glass-roofed slimline terrace, that segues from dining to drinks as the evening wears elegantly on.
Thankfully, the menu has been kept to simple, well-executed Parisian comfort classics from croque monsieur and pates aux lardons, to quiche lorraine and salade nicoise, with a rather good creme brulee waiting to ruin your best intentions. As you’d expect, the well-curated wine list is French and manages 7 by the glass options, but be sure to glance at the cocktails list too – five martinis, three margaritas, and a nostalgic, but welcome gathering of favourites like Aperol spritz, Long Island iced tea and fruity Cosmopolitan. Offering smart, simple sophistication, much like the crowd it attracts, Vis-a-Vis has brought a little slice of new Paris to old Shanghai. Bravo!