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A chilled afternoon with a great cocktail at Blackbird
2016-03-31

After the success of Bar No 3 on Xingguo Road, Swing Diao opened another cool space in town for top-notch drinks and some quality time. Blackbird, Diao’s second project, opened its door at the intersection of Wulumuqi Road S and Dongping Road. Once inside, it’s easy to see what sets this restaurant/bar apart from the many popular eateries in the neighborhood. 


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Architect and owner Diao shows her talents in this new space: sleek furniture, cool elements and industrial lighting dominate the interior. Friendly staff will find you a cozy nook along the floor-to-ceiling windows or the cool bar counter. And with abundant natural light inside, Blackbird is an ideal place to hang out with friends during the day. 


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Diao said that she enjoys drinking cocktails before 7pm and feels that its time for Shanghai to have a daytime cocktail bar which also offers quality coffee and food as well as afternoon tea. Blackbird is a chilled, Nordic-style space that could be a bar, a cafe, or a restaurant. “Shanghai as a super metropolitan city and needs to see exciting ideas; young and creative individuals need to enjoy it the way they want,” Diao said. The menu is a concise selection of rustic Italian food, reinterpreted to suits an urban lifestyle. 


“We keep the menu small because we will constantly change, depending on the season, weather and their own ideas,’’ Diao said. “We aim to give customers an enjoyable visual appeal, an honest taste and quality time,” she said. On a recent visit, the menu featured old favorites and new creations. \


The grapes with baked brie cheese (78 yuan) with honey and balsamic vinegar reduction is one dish I always come back for. Bacon dates (52 yuan) is another simple but delicious starter that will make you keep reaching for another piece. Other snack dishes include grilled octopuses, fresh handcraft burrata cheese caprese, spicy marinated olives and feta cheese as well as battered and fried shrimps and calamari. Besides the taste, Blackbird also emphasizes great presentation on the plate. 


For the mains, the new slow cooked beef tongue (96 yuan) comes with cilantro salsa verde and black truffle. The beef tongue is extremely tender, yet I found that it slightly lacked flavor, despite the dash of cilantro salsa verde. I’ve also tried Porcini Bolognese pasta (98 yuan), a minced beef Bolognese with handmade pappardelle and porcini mushrooms. It certainly tasted good, but I wasn’t very impressed with it. 


On average, the food is good at Blackbird, but that’s not what should lure you here. It’s the cocktail menu that has made it a popular spot since its opening. “We are trying to design Blackbird cocktails with a food-matching purpose. We use a lot of cooking ingredients to create the cocktail recipes, where Bar No 3 was a departure on culture and cocktail traditions,” Diao said. 


Diao’s personal favorite is Red Barrel (88 yuan), a Bourbon-based cocktail with organic cranberry juice, amaro, maple syrup and bitters. Among the wide list of cocktails, the ones most recommended are First Frost, a comforting cocktail with different fruits and Voodoo Eyes, which is a straightforward cocktail that incorporates house-made chamomile, which makes all the difference.


Tel: 1861-6272-292 Address: No. 1 Wulumuqi Rd S.

Average per person: 150 yuan Opening hours: 11am-1am


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