The Bund has long been an icon of Shanghai. No other city in China can boast a waterfront promenade with more than 50 buildings of varying architectural styles, from the neo-Renaissance-style Union Building (3 on the Bund) to neo-classical HSBC Building (12 on the Bund). With the fall season here, there isn’t a better time to enjoy the beautiful sights and bites on the Bund.
Chef Paul Pairet’s Mr & Mrs Bund serves modern French fare with a side of Bund views. The Forbes Travel Guide Recommended restaurant’s menu is a tome. All manner of meats make appearances — lamb, chicken, duck, beef, veal and pork — and there are loads of vegetable-related options as well. Particularly toothsome is the gazpacho bread Catalane — tomato gazpacho toast with rocket, roast capsicum, poached egg and anchovies. You can order straightforward French food like oysters (fine de claire, Gillardeau, Rockefeller) escargot or frog legs, but Pairet specializes in more Asian-fusion dishes. Try the simple yet buttery filet of seared black cod with olive oil, lemon and soy sauce.
Walk north along the Bund from Mr & Mrs Bund to Four-Star eatery Sir Elly’s Restaurant inside of Five-Star The Peninsula Shanghai. Though Sir Elly’s focus is on noshing, it’s also the perfect setting for a nightcap, particularly on its 14th-floor terrace. From up here, you’re afforded a sweeping view of the curve of the Huangpu River, the handsome colonial-style buildings that line the Bund, and the glittering, modern Pudong skyline across the water. While its wine list is made up of 400 labels, it’s the champagne cocktails that are the bar’s signature and most refreshing choices on a warm evening.
Five-Star Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund boasts some serious historical cred: the former Shanghai Club Building was once home to the city’s most exclusive men’s club. Though the club dates back to 1861, the six-story, Baroque-style building it was headquartered in didn’t open until 1910. The club was well known for its Long Bar, a mahogany bar that was a cool 111 feet long. The once-grand building was in disrepair when the Waldorf took over in 2009. When it opened in 2011 — the hotel’s existing double-height lobby was replaced with Ionic columns but, thankfully, much of the crown molding and wainscoting around the property was restored — it brought back to life one of the Bund’s most stately structures. Today, you can celebrate all that the regal property has to offer through a variety of offerings, ranging from events aimed at foodies (Amsterdam chef Sidney Schutte visited Pelham’s in early September) to packages geared at relaxation (the Spa Experience includes a $140 treatment credit).