Shanghai in the 1930s: “lust, women, style, dimmed lights, sensual music, and erotica”. Sounds damn good to us, but with time travel still in the pipeline (someone chivvy that along please) why not swing by Spíler Shanghai in Budapest for an atmospheric facsimile? That alluring description of the Chinese city comes from Roy Zsidai, the Hungarian entrepreneur who wowed us with his first Spíler venue and has done the same with this Asian sequel.
Zsidai has distilled the essence of Shanghai in those heady days into a restaurant with a beautiful and seductive hidden side. On the street level in Gozsdu courtyard, the bistro dining area and bar have more of a modern feel, calling on a mixture of New York’s Chinatown and Budapest’s ruin pubs for design inspiration. There’s urban mural art happening and industrial girder-like steel frames painted the vivid red of good luck and communism. Head downstairs to the secret bar, however, and the subdued lighting coupled with the continued red and gold theme gives a sense of intrigue and old time glamour to proceedings. This area can be booked for private parties of up to 140 people, or divided in two for a smaller group. Drinks at Spíler Shanghai include a list of imported beers and themed cocktails, and the menu mixes light bites with progressive Asian dishes.