Sherlock Holmes theme cafe in Shanghai, China! G9 & G2 design restaurants, Lane Crawford.
I spy a mysterious sign in Shanghai’s French Quarter. “Crime in progress. Please disturb.”
What bloodshed lies behind these doors?
Shh, it’s a secret… there’s a Sherlock Holmes theme cafe in Shanghai, China! Read on to peek inside, and I’ll also take you inside two fantastically-designed restaurants, G-9 and G-2.
The name of the cafe is 221B Baker Street, but don’t tell the taxi driver to go here or you might end up in London. The Sherlock Holmes cafe’s actual address is: 50 Ruijin 2nd Rd. (Gaolan Rd.), Shanghai.
The game is a-foot… but don’t try to find the place by foot. The street signs are confusing, and Google Maps doesn’t show the correct location. Instead, hail a hansom (or taxi) and ask your driver to take you to 瑞金二路50号, 近复兴中路. Cab fares are extremely low in Shanghai, so the ride will probably only cost you a few dollars.
Once you’re inside, you can lift a finger and announce, “Elementary, my dear Watson!”
(Above, click the images to shop the looks featured in this outfit post. I love this brand so much!)
The entrance looks like a shrine to Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the master detective in BBC’s Sherlock TV series (which is one of my favorites).
Who knew the show was so popular in China? Of course, there are cute miniature “chibi” versions of Watson and Sherlock.
The cafe is designed to look like Sherlock Holmes and Watson’s shared flat, 221B Baker Street. One room looks a Victorian parlor, with brocaded curtains and a game of chess.
Customers can pose with the props: this is not a real violin, and obviously I don’t know how to play it. Behind me, you can spot test tubes and a microscope for Holmes’ forensic examinations.
A deerstalker hat and a pipe are the ultimate Sherlock Holmes fashion accessories. Below are more must-haves for gumshoes in training.
Much of the decor feels authentic to fans of Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels. But a few rooms have a “huh” feeling, like this tropical wallpaper and portrait of Edgar Allan Poe.
The clever menu looks like a newspaper, and the top right indicates the cafe’s opening date: July 2013. The front page has “recommendations by Mrs Hudson,” the landlady of Watson and Holmes.
My baby niece sniffs at the decorated latte, with a coat of arms that shows Sherlock Holmes in profile. I ordered the “Moriarty” drink, an appropriately evil mix of iced coffee with vanilla ice cream on top.
The cafe serves sandwiches, cakes and other snacks as well. However, the selection of BBC Sherlock memorabilia is the biggest draw.
You can pick up Sherlock-themed bookmarks, art, and jewelry.
When you ask for the check, the waiter flips a top hat onto the table. Aha, the receipt is pinned to the brim! Case closed.
If you have never read the Sherlock Holmes novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, you must get your hands on them. The stories hold up over time and the writing doesn’t at all feel dated. You can get the whole Sherlock collection here.
Above is a close-up of my skeleton and black pearl necklace, by LLazy Bonez. These Hong Kong jewelers custom-make spooky skull pieces with quality silver and stones.
Now, let’s explore two more uniquely-designed restaurants in China. My team and I were invited to dinner at G9, a new restaurant at the department store Lane Crawford.
There was a light display in front of the designer mall. (All photos by Melissa Rundle, Eric Bergemann and La Carmina.)
Lane Crawford is the high-fashion destination in Hong Kong and China. The floors carry international luxury brands (like this Alice + Olivia Panda sweater) as well as local labels.
We were here to experience a dramatic new restaurant, G九 (上海) – also known as G-Force or G9 Shanghai. Address: 3/F Lane Crawford block, Shanghai Times Square, 99 Huaihai Zhong Road.
Designed by Ian Douglas-Jones of Atelier I-N-D-J, the interior is pop art meets vampire — a mesmerizing play on light and shadow. Above us, nearly 1000 pendants glow in a moving wave across the room. As you talk and eat, the experience changes as the lights constantly reveal and hide.
A long brass table cuts across the room, serving as both a catwalk and a dining space. Even for jaded diners like ourselves, the atmosphere was dazzling.
G9’s dramatic design is complemented by the artfully-presented meals on the menu. We shared a number of starters, including tuna tataki served in half an avocado, presented like a floral arrangement.
We ordered the lobster linguine twice — it was that good. The pumpkin ravioli and dry-aged beef (carved right at the table) were also outstanding.
All of the G restaurants emphasize local and pesticide-free ingredients. I’m surprised but pleased to see this approach to food taking root in China.
Dessert was literally a masterpiece. The young chef covered a canvas with Jackson Pollack-like swooshes, using ingredients like chocolate sauce as his paints. He told us the picture was inspired by the planets and stars.
For the grand finale, he used molecular gastronomy to release a fog of steam… and with a yelp, he smashed the “planet” on the canvas! We lapped up every last bite of the white chocolate shards and flavors.
The next night, we had Chinese food at G-2, also designed by Ian of INDJ. Once again, the interior design pulled at the imagination. We ate while were surrounded by a 14 meter aquarium of jellyfish, drifting through purple lights.
Address: G2, Shanghai Plaza, No.138 Huaihai Road 4th floor.
The patio gave a glowing view of the city. I can’t believe how much Shanghai has developed the past 5-10 years.
At G2, the food is contemporary Cantonese seafood. I tried tilefish, octopus, and glass noodles with an unidentifiable seafood (despite the mystery, it was my favorite).
I leave you with a colorful view of The Bund. What fun to explore Shanghai, which is becoming more cosmopolitan by the day.
And here’s the Oriental Pearl Tower, glowing like a space pod.
Were you surprised to see a Sherlock Holmes theme cafe and avantgarde restaurants in China?
(PS – if you want to learn more about the clothes I wore in Shanghai, browse and click the images above.)