Shanghai is justifiably known for its delicious street breakfasts, but sometimes you need to elevate things a little, right?
Welcome to the fold, then, Sense 8 – a Canto restaurant that’s discreetly tucked down a Xintiandi alleyway, but once inside is anything but discreet.
None of your slick minimalist Xintiandi style at this joint, no ma’am. This is a place that gleefully dispenses with current pared down tendencies and replaces them with an aesthetic we can only describe as Qing Dynasty meets high camp. Imagine the soundtrack of shrill Peking Opera, a turban-clad Indian doorman and a tea menu presented on a traditional fan plucked from a scholar’s rock by the waitress and you’re half way there.
Sense 8’s owners have made much of the cost involved in decking out the space with genuine antiques and modern pieces produced by master craftsmen. All we know is that it’s a huge amount of fun – a wonderful chance to live out your Audience-with-the-Empress Dowager fantasies without having to go to Beijing or the Summer Palace.
And what of the food, you ask? Bespoke recommends calling in for the quieter breakfast slot that starts at 8 a.m. You’re unlikely to need a reservation, and the atmosphere is relaxed enough that you’ll have the opportunity to explore the space at your leisure. A solid, if perhaps not exquisite, meal of Cantonese dim sum classics like har gow and cheung fun clock in at a reasonable 150RMB or so per person. More coveted lunch and dinner spots require a wait time of, at the very least, a week, and come in at a significantly higher price point that we’re not sure is quite in line with the cooking here.
Sense 8 Lane 8 Xintiandi, 181 Taicang Road (Tel 6373-1888). Breakfast is served from 8am-10.30am daily. Want more brilliant dining tips during your trip to Shanghai? That’s what Bespoke’s Trip Customisation service is for silly.