Amidst Shanghai’s crowded canyons of modern skyscrapers, it’s so easy to overlook the city’s increasingly precious haul of colonial era piles. All the more reason to applaud the Gaga group’s latest restaurant venture, the local F&B bigwigs tapping long-time design collaborators Coordination Asia to repurpose the historic Changning Villa into a bright, airy restaurant and café.

Set on the grounds of the former St Mary’s Hall which was established by the American Episcopal Church, the 19th-century building’s two levels are a slick study in white and black – the original pitched ceiling and windows carefully contrasted with slashes of petrol green, oak detailing, a bank of shimmering brass light fixtures, and Marcel Wanders furniture.

Similarly, executive chef Jacky Zhu parlays an Asian influence into his light and seasonal Mediterranean menu, which explains Gaga’s popularity with suits and tai-tais who stream in from the neighbouring Raffles City mall throughout the day for a leisurely lunch or quick java fix.