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Ditch that diet - It's Christmas!
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From traditional Christmas goose and turkey to roast beef and lamb, from gourmet wine pairings to hearty fare, you can eat your fill this season as restaurants put on their best holiday spreads.

Christmas is just around the corner, and it's time to ditch that diet for the time-honored tradition of holiday overeating.

Shanghai's Western restaurants are lining up to tempt you with rich food, sweet treats and good wine. There are delectable spreads for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch.

It's a time when you may crave the traditional and familiar, the turkey and mince pies ?? and plenty of restaurants in Shanghai cater to this, while others add a modern twist. For an intimate meal with friends and family, track down small restaurants full of character.

Here's our pick of some of the best to suit different budgets.

Stiller's Restaurant & Cooking School

Date: December 24 (dinner), December 25 (lunch)

Cost: 365 yuan for three courses on Christmas Day; 410 yuan for three courses on Christmas Eve, or 520 yuan for four courses

In the little-known Cool Docks complex, Stiller's Restaurant is a well-executed project by a husband and wife team. Owner/veteran chef Stef Stiller's Michelin-star credentials is reason enough to visit. But if you need another, the location, a kind of Xintiandi-esque redevelopment of old docks, gives the restaurant stunning views across the Huangpu River.

The food is modern European with a splash of German, reflecting the owner's Germanic roots. The Christmas menu has modern touches with inventive variations on traditional Christmas themes. The star of the show is the oven roast goose with apple-spice-jus and caramelized chestnuts for the main course.

For dessert there's the tempting Lebkuchen Parfait made of a cool, ice cream version of the warm German mulled wine, Gluehwein with rum-marinated red fruits.

Traditional turkey and beef main courses are also on the menu, plus Stiller's famed foie gras for starters, plus fine dining favorites salmon and veal tenderloin with black truffle marinade.

The restaurant occupies one floor out of four owned by Stiller's, the others are a deli, lounge bar and cooking school. For celebrations with a twist, the cooking school also offers end-of-year parties.

Napa Bar & Kitchen

Date: December 24-25 (dinner)

Cost: 620 yuan for three-course meal, plus 480 yuan for wine pairing

The height of epicurean delight is teased out with expert wine pairing, and for wine lovers, Napa Bar & Kitchen is the destination of choice this Christmas.

Located within the lavish ASC Wine Residence, Napa Bar & Kitchen is first and foremost a bar but with good food served to complete the experience.

It is set in a century-old, converted Tudor house. You can choose from 40 wines offered by the glass, or enjoy thematically grouped wines at the bar.

Young Canadian chef Shaun Anthony heads the kitchen with sommelier Vince Yeung. With more than two years' experience at Gordon Ramsay's London 3 Michelin-star restaurant on Royal Hospital Road, Anthony creates a food menu designed to complement wine.

Napa's three-course Christmas tasting menu is best appreciated with wine pairings for each course and champagne to start. It's not cheap at 620 yuan for food, plus another 480 for wine pairings. But for the price you get, among other choices, 2004 Reserve du Ciron Sauternes with foie gras or spiced duck consomme for appetizers, or 2007 Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling with citrus-cured salmon.

For main courses there's a choice of US cornish game hen or Tasmanian lamb with 2000 Howell Mountain Old Vine Zinfandel. Desert features minced pies, or poached pears with 2003 Torreon de Paredes Late Harvest Gewurztraminer.


Date: December 24-25 (lunch or dinner)

Cost: 288 yuan per person for three courses

Inside the hip new boutique URBN Hotel, Roomtwentyeight is as sleek and chic as its location. It's run by the same people behind Wagas but both the food and minimalist modern Danish decor are more upmarket.

With Australian chef Ben Fitton, Roomtwentyeight serves "global cuisine" in a simple and straightforward style, which is reflected in its Christmas menu. Celebrating the holidays for the first time in Shanghai, Roomtwentyeight has opted for a three-course menu that is both traditional and fresh.

To start, there is a choice of salads with prawn, asparagus and fennel, or warm duck liver, mushroom and bacon and mustard. For mains there is the traditional roast turkey with all the trimmings - roast potatoes, apple and sage stuffing, cranberry and orange chutney or a slow roast lamb with new potatos and mint sauce.

Finish with a sweet traditional favorite - Christmas pudding with brandy butter or a fruity Ice Cream Cassata with Apricot and Orange Sauce.

Malone's American Cafe

Date: through December 31

Cost: 200 yuan per person

Nothing beats a darkened pub for informality and a place to while away the afternoons, evenings, nights and days with drinking buddies. And Shanghai's host of expat bars will be embracing Christmas cheer with no shortage of glittery decorations and traditional food.

On prime bar location Tongren Road, Malone's is a stalwart of the bar scene.

This year their good solid Christmas menu provides a choice of traditional roast turkey, ham or beef dinners with salmon salad for starters and home-baked walnut pie. It's comfortable, familiar fare and for 200 yuan each, the price is comfortable too.

And for those who can't wait until December 25, or harbor a wish for Christmas day every day, the Christmas menu is available now and throughout December.

From traditional Christmas goose and turkey to roast beef and lamb, from gourmet wine pairings to hearty fare, you can eat your fill this season as restaurants put on their best holiday spreads, writes Nancy Zhang


Stiller's Restaurant & Cooking School

Opening hours: 6pm-10:30pm

Address: The Cool Docks, 7/F, Bldg 3, 505 Zhongshan Rd S., near Fuxing Rd E.

Tel: 6152-6501

Napa Bar & Kitchen

Opening hours: 6pm-12am

Address: 1-2/F, Wine Residence, 57 Jiangyin Rd, near Huangpi Rd N.

Tel: 6318-0057


Opening hours: 6am-11pm

Address: 183 Jiaozhou Rd, near Xinzha Rd

Tel: 5172-1300

Malone's American Cafe

Opening hours: 11am-2am (the next day)

Address: 255 Tongren Rd, near Nanjing Rd W. (also branches in Lujiazui area and on Fangdian Rd)

Tel: 6247-2400

More treats

Awfully Chocolate

Specializes in three types of chocolate cake and chocolate ice cream.

Opening hours: Sundays-Thursdays, 10am-9pm; Fridays-Saturdays, 10am-10pm

Address: 174 Xiangyang Rd S., near Fuxing Rd M.

Tel: 6474-5336

Opening hours: Sundays-Thursdays, 10am-9pm, Fridays-Saturdays, 10am-10pm Address: 3197 Hongmei Rd, near Chengjiaqiao Zhi Rd

Tel: 6401-3061

Shanghai Pie Company

Get mince pies from the specialist pie makers

Order home delivery from www.shanghaipie.com. Pies available in Jamaica Blue, Kommune, Cityshop stores among others.

House of Flour

Bread and pastries, cakes and imported chocolates in Pudong

Opening hours: 7am-7pm

Address: 1/F, 03 Shanghai Legend, 635 Bibo Rd, Pudong

Tel: 5080-6230, 5080-3103


For French deserts and pastries by the Face Group

Opening hours: 8:30am-6:30pm

Address: Rm 101, 808 Hongqiao Rd, near Huaihai Rd W.

Tel: 6448-1233

(Shanghai Daily December 19, 2008)

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