The décor: Aura inhabits one of those gorgeous villas on Jiaozhou Lu that always take you a little by surprise when you catch a glimpse of them through the high wooden portals. They have made good use of the outdoor area, decking it completely, adding a full-wall water feature, and arranging toadstool-shaped tables and chairs. Indoors it’s luxe Italian (and a little bright for our liking – we sat outside despite impending rain).
The food: We started with the antipasti plate for two (¥60) – a big platter of mixed cheeses including gorgonzola, parmesan, and pecorino, attractively arranged cold meats (salami, garlic sausage, prosciutto), somewhat surprising – but welcome - strips of pickle, and olives. We also tried the beef carpaccio (¥58) which was soft and succulent when it warmed up.
For main course we tried the chicken salad (¥42) and jalapeño pizza (¥52 for small) which were both superior to their Coolzey contemporaries, and not a great deal more expensive. The menu also features an array of panini and sandwiches.
The drinks: Plenty of smoothies and juices on offer, as well as beer, and wine by the bottle or glass. We went on a week night, and they were offering two for one on wine by the glass.
Why you’ll be back: The outdoor terrace is perfect for balmy summer evenings, and the food is good enough (and affordable enough) to make it an option when you fancy a decent meal out. Good for dates.