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For that go-to meal in a chic casual restaurant that’s just around the corner in Jing'an, The Magnet could be the answer. If only the food was worth going back for.

The eatery is the latest addition to the Nanjing 1788 Mall, which is far from finished and curiously only occupied by a busy food court downstairs and a couple of restaurants on the ground level.

Enter through the mall and The Magnet looks like it couldn’t be in a worse place. However, it does have its own entrance on the north face of the building and has a sultry, relaxed dining room with an outdoor terrace onto Yuyuan Lu. It almost feels like a secret find, fitting since the restaurant is run by the same team as The Shelter.

However, The Magnet’s smoked duck breast salad in a gloopy balsamic glaze (RMB68) is lettuce-heavy and bland. A penne pasta with chicken and truffle cream (RMB98) is also light on representation and one notch too far from al dente to be fully appreciated. They’re both probably better at Henkes down the street. Much better is a light dish of crispy butterfly prawns in wasabi and mango (RMB78), though they pale in comparison to Urban Harvest’s demonstration.

Where The Magnet shines is in their hickory honey baby back ribs (RMB158). They’re cooked to perfection with swathes of sauce-slathered meat falling off the bone. At this price though, they should be bigger. There should be bread on the table and water glasses by default.

The Magnet is in an emerging hot spot and has the street cred to succeed as more than just an after-dinner cocktail spot for The Shelter's DJ crew, but it will need to up its game as the neighbors move in.

  • Magnet
  • 021 6289-0021

  • Bldg F1-06, 1788 Nanjing Xi Lu (near Wulumuqi Bei Lu) [map]
  • 上海市南京西路1788号F1-06楼(近乌鲁木齐北路)

  • American
  • ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
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