Limbo: Known for its legendary Chinese offerings, the Dingxi Road area has seen an influx of Western concepts this past year or so, most recently Limbo, a Caribbean restaurant and bar. Caribbean is a rare breed in Shanghai, which is puzzling since, as Limbo ownership has stated, many of the ingredients overlap with Chinese ones (it even derives certain elements from Chinese cuisine ), so availability isn’t an issue. Limbo isn’t a purebred Caribbean restaurant (an oxymoron, I know, since Caribbean cuisine is a culinary melting pot) as it offers dishes like spaghetti bolognese and NY strip steak, but the Caribbean fare takes center stage. You’ve got your Cuban sandwiches, jerk chicken, Lesser Antilles-style ribs, and all the favorites.
They also offer a cornucopia of signature cocktails, which keeping with Caribbean tradition, wallop you with both booze and sugar. Headliners include the Caribbean Cruise with vodka, white rum, coconut rum, pineapple juice, and grenadine, and the Rum Runner with Mt Gay rum, blackberry liquer, banana liquer, orange juice, and grenadine. Cocktails run you 35-65RMB.
The obligatory reggae music and islandscapes painted on the walls enhance the Caribbean vibe.
Nothing’s quite set and stone yet (they’re still in “limbo”) as they’re currently updating the menus and converting the downstairs into a more fusion-style haunt with pan-American and even Chinese offerings. But, so far, it looks to provide a spot of tropical, laid-back Island charm to hectic, cold Shanghai.
Limbo // 1394 Yan’an Xi Lu, near Dingxi Lu (延安西路1394号, 近定西路). Tel: (0)21-6241-8925. Hours: 10am-2am.
Chirps & Mews: The most recent entrant to the hopping Xinzha Road, this whimsical British-themed book store/cafe was started by three Shanghai publisher-designers with a love of children’s books. And it shows. Shelves are stocked with Peter Pan, the Jungle Book, and more classics, as well as stuffed animals modeled on characters from children’s literature. It looks like someone opened a deli in the middle of a library’s kids’ section. Fare entails standard cafe eats like garden salads and tuna sandwiches, and heartier offerings like Australian sirloin steak. Drinks entail tea and coffee.
Chirps & Mews // 1513 Xinzha Lu, near Xikang Lu, Jingan district (静安区新闸路1513号, 近西康路). Tel: (0)21-6279-1793. Hours: 10am-10pm.
Benjamin Cost is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s dining scene to [email protected].