Stroll in Jing'an Villa for hot pot, anime, flowers
By Yang Di
BUILT in 1932 and still well maintained, Jing'an Villa is the largest "new-type" lilong neighborhood in Shanghai. It is organized around one main seven-meter wide lane, from which run 11 side lanes, each five meters wide. Back in the 1930s, the neighborhood, partly modeled on European style, was home to upper-middle class residents.
Now the main lane, which connects Nanjing Rd W. and Weihai Rd, is usually busy with small businesses occupying the first floor. With everything from quirky cafes to indie handicraft stores, Jing'an Villa is an ideal place to while away a leisurely afternoon.
Rammy's Floral Workshop
Opened last Sunday, Rammy's Floral Workshop is not just a flower shop selling flowers. Here, fragrant fresh-cut flowers and unique gift baskets are designed with whimsy and imagination, according to customers' varied requirements. Owner Rammy Zhang designs in European style because she learned flower design in France. The natural beauty of the flowers and the arts of arrangement appeal to the most discerning flower lovers. No detail is overlooked. Flowers can also be ordered on Taobao, just search "Rammy's" to find the shop. Remember to call or order online at least three days in advance since flower design is a no-rush mission, tailored to evoke an unforgettable impression. Price for medium-sized bouquet is about 400 yuan (US$63.5) and large-sized ones cost about 600 yuan.
Opening hours: 10:30am-6:30pm
Address: No. 121, Lane 1025, Nanjing Rd W.
For hot pot fans, it's never too hot to slurp hot pot, even in the summer. Senxia, a Japanese sukiyaki (hot pot) restaurant in Jing'an Villa, might be just the ticket. The small restaurant only seats 15 guests, so the atmosphere is intimate and cozy. It's decorated with colorful wall paper, paintings and interesting furniture. Guests can watch TV programs or movies while enjoying a meal. Six kinds of hot pot are on offer. The collagen hot pot is especially good for the skin since it contains collagen powder and chicken leg meat. Summer lemon hot pot is recommended in summer by the owner since it's fresh and contains turnip "mud" that can help prevent ailments brought on by too much air-conditioning. There's also Korean troop hot pot, assorted hot pot, curry hot pot and tofu hot pot. Prices are around 30-35 yuan (US$4.7-5.5) per person. Beverages include iced black tea, oolong tea and shaved ice. The eatery is very popular among workers in nearby offices, so reservations are recommended.
Opening hours: 11am-9pm
Address: No. 123, Lane 1025, Nanjing Rd W.
A newly opened, intimate dining space, The Menu is located in a renovated villa in a quiet corner of Jing'an Villa. Referring to the name, the owner Mr Xu says a menu is more than a listing of food and beverage - life itself is a menu from which one can choose. Opened last week, this restaurant with a seating capacity of eight to 10 people offers dishes from around the world in a setting filled with literature and books about travel, arts and international lifestyle. Book prices are lower than market price. The varied menu includes Italian fare such as spinach dumplings containing rich cream and cheese. The dough is different from that of Chinese dumplings. Also recommended are sea bass dumplings containing shrimp, spices and a hint of tomato. The chef recommended cold noodles in summer. Several wines are on offer, selected by wine experts. Prices range from 40-60 yuan (US$6.3-9.5) per person.
Opening hours: 11:30am-10pm
Address: No. 69, Lane 1025, Nanjing Rd W.
This cafe is devoted to Japanese pop culture and cosplay. The Galapagos are equatorial Pacific islands famous for giant tortoises and other endemic species unchanged over millennia and studied by Darwin. Designed by a Japanese company, it has a green door and stone path leading inside where visitors find all manner Japanese pop culture - manga, anime magazines, posters, garage kits, model kits and so on. Waitresses wear cosplay costumes and customers in costume are welcome to chat with friends and take pictures. Manager Jun Kajihara said the historical Jing'an Villa area is better than nearby, high-traffic Nanjiang Road W. for promoting pop culture in a quiet atmosphere. He finds that many Chinese young people are interested. Lunch includes Japanese-style sandwiches and noodles, 50 yuan (US$7.9) per person, including a beverage. Free Wi-Fi access.