Oha offers taste of Asia in a casual setting

The owner behind Bar No. 3, Swing Diao recently launched a new concept on Anfu Road and it's obvious to see just what sets this eatery apart from the many others.

The owner behind Bar No. 3, Swing Diao recently launched a new concept on Anfu Road and it’s obvious to see just what sets this eatery apart from the many others in the neighborhood.

Hidden behind its lovely coffee counter, facing the leafy street for coffee take-away, Oha eatery features a communal table where 22 guests can enjoy Chinese-inspired plates in a casual, relaxed way.

It’s pleasant to see the trend of a sharing table cropping up all over the world, including Shanghai. It gives a chance to meet new people or you can just focus solely on your dinner party and let the rest of the table be a nice dining scene.

Chef Blake Thornley, originally from New Zealand, was invited by the owner to take charge of the kitchen. He previously worked in Indonesia for nine years, with a strong preference to use local ingredients for European dishes.

Yang Di / SHINE

Smoked farmhouse pork and fermented chili

“I always tend to use local ingredients in unexpected ways, beyond people’s imagination. I prefer to think outside of box,” Thornley said.

“With years of cooking in Indonesia, I loved spices on my plates thus I was very inspired by the regional food from Guizhou Province,” he added.

Opened only more than a month, Oha eatery is reminiscent of a food lab where the chef works his magic based on the local ingredients with 80 percent from Guizhou Province. And he doesn’t like to present a concept to the guests because “concept is a bit overrated,” he said. 

“I just like to play with spices, ferments, meat and fish and create tasty food my guests love to eat no matter where they come from.” 

The menu looks interesting and attractive. On my last visit, I picked smoked farmhouse pork and fermented chili to start. The chef got both the pork and chili from Guizhou Province.He braised the pork with a mixture of mountain lemon pepper, wild pepper from Guizhou and Sichuan pepper for a few hours and put the shredded pork in a pan with fermented chili on a very high heat.

Yang Di / SHINE

Whipped chicken livers, fermented chili, celery

The result was an impressive tasty pork paste that one can spread on sliced mantou (Chinese steamed buns).

Crispy Date was another dish I enjoyed a lot. It was inspired by the chef’s childhood creation — he had created a similar dish when he was a 12-year-old. 

The mashed Middle Eastern dates mixed with crunchy coco nips, with a reduction made with cocoa powder water and inverted sugar on the plate was a sweet pleasure during the food journey.

At Oha, new dishes are added to the menu every two weeks. The pairing wine list is equally attractive as the team has chosen only natural wine. “I simply think our food, with a lot of spices and tastes, goes well with the selected natural wine that tends to give unexpected palates in general,” Thornley said.

If you are new to natural wine, try skin contact wine (orange wine), a type of wine made similar to red wines, with the skins present during the fermentation. Radikon and La Stoppa Ageno are good choices to start.


Opening hours: 11am -2pm, 5pm-9:30pm 

Tel: 136-2164-7680

Address: 23 Anfu Rd

Average price: 300 yuan (US$47.42)

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