We remember, a few months ago, walking to Embre on Changshu Lu only to discover it had closed down, after decent reviews and six months of existence. We were exploring the restaurant options near our new apartment, and our second choice, a tapas place on Huashan Lu, also was no longer in operation — really, the building had been leveled. Food and beverage places disappear quickly here in Shanghai … but sometimes they reappear quickly, too.
Embre is back, in a new location: a three-story row home with a garden at 832 Julu Lu (not too far from Nepali Kitchen). It just opened last week, and the food and vibe seem pretty comparable to the original. We were told that the old place closed down because it was too small, which makes sense — we always felt the main dining area felt more like a hallway that would lead to a main dining area. The place, although in a great little neighborhood with a big garden area, seemed more like an auxiliary classroom than a restaurant. But the original Embre did have character (we were told that at least part of their kitchen was outside), and perhaps character is what is lacking a little at the new one (it could also be that they aren’t finished decorating the space).
But the food is tasty and artfully presented, and the service was pleasant and attentive (although, to be fair, there was hardly anyone else there on Monday). We liked the cod with olive pesto sauce (RMB 118), although we could have used more cod, and the green salad (RMB 48) was as good as a green salad can be. A prawn and pasta dish we ordered (RMB 98) looked nicer than it tasted, and a word of warning: If they ask you if you’d like bread, know that saying yes will cost you RMB 25.
Embre serves up pretty and tasty fare priced somewhere in between middle-of-the-road and expensive for Western food in Shanghai. It’s a decent date spot for those who are tired of heading to A Future Perfect, Arugula or, say, Shandong Province every weekend. It also appears to be a blogger friendly hangout — all four people on the first floor on Monday were on intimate dates with their laptops.
Embre, 832 Julu Lu, near Fumin Lu, Tel: 13761689191. Map.
Photos from here.