French bistro conjures an authentic Parisian vibe
Veteran Shanghai restaurateur Jeff Yao has added a little “je ne sais quoi” to Le Saleya Bar a Vin— an old French bistro on Changle Road.
Yao has given the iconic French dining spot, originally named Le Saleya, a fresh makeover and introduced a new menu to the restaurant often frequented by expats and a younger Chinese demographic looking for a casual, affordable dining experience.
Set back off the road in an old house, the lovely terrace is perfectly poised to provide the city’s diners a welcome respite. Stepping inside, the madness of Shanghai is again exchanged for something completely different and a petite Parisian vibe is authentically conjured. Moreover, its dimly-lit, cozy atmosphere guarantees an ideal night to kick back and chill.
It was nice to revisit the time-honored dining spot once more. I’ve had many pleasant lunches and dinners on its terrace over the last decade and this time was no different.
The original restaurant opened its doors 14 years ago but in recent years it appears that the previous owner fell out of love with it and it became a little run-down until Yao injected some much-needed tender loving care.
Yao previously gained his reputation from Le Verre a Vin and the recently opened Bar a Vin. But unlike his other projects, where his strong creativity and personal style is stamped, he wanted Le Saleya to remain as an authentic French bistro. Classic bistro dishes such as confit de canard and foie gras still remain but the new menu has a much-more refreshing Mediterranean appeal.
Yao recommends the bistro’s beef tartare, which doesn’t follow the classic recipe. The hand-chopped beef is served with an array of traditional goodies like capers, chopped onions and mustard seeds, and drizzled with teriyaki sauce and beef bone broth. With so many mixed elements, the overall taste is rather fresh and I did feel pampered eating it.
For the main course, I opted for the duck sausage, which turned out to be my favorite dish of the evening. Flavored with a mixture of spices, the duck sausage’s special aroma blended well with the sweet corn polenta, while the lemon tart for desert was smooth and utterly essential.
Opening hours: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6:30pm-1am (Tuesday-Sunday)
Address: No. 1, Lane 570, Changle Rd
Average price: 320 yuan