The buzz: New restaurant, wine lounge, and jazz club in that enclave of Sinan Lu that also contains Hof, Ginger Indochine, Sound Blue, and Cha’s canting.
The décor: Brick. And wood. And cosy, warm, red lighting. Classy, but not overly-fancy. Restaurant downstairs, jazz club up top.
The food: Mediterranean. We started with a complimentary bread basket (containing cute croissant- and baguette-shaped buns) with olives, balsamic, and butter in little bowls. Then we picked the falafel from the snack menu as a starter. ¥52 gets you a work of art on a plate: four fat discs of falafel, a bowl of homemade hummus with whole chickpeas, a small salad, and pita quarters. If you weren’t super-hungry, this could be your main course. We were also tempted by the beef carpaccio with porcini mushrooms and rocket salad (¥88) which dissolved on the tongue just as carpaccio should. For the main course we tried the Moroccan chicken (¥118) – half a chicken cooked in paprika and turmeric with diced pumpkin divided by a nifty ‘line’ of Greek-style salad. We also had the duck confit, which was a triumvirate of duck liver balls with sesame seeds, medallions of smoked duck, and a roast leg. The leg was a touch dry, but the tangy ratatouille helped to juice it up. For dessert we tried the trio of crème brûlée (¥42). Out of plain, strawberry, and mango flavours, the plain was the best, followed by the strawberry. The brûlée could have been thicker, but all in all it was a nice round-off to a good meal.
The drinks: Wine by the glass or bottle. The list is pretty comprehensive, and prices range from ¥96 to ¥500 for a bottle. We had the 2006 Santa Maria Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile, which went down smoothly.
Why you’ll be back: Great for those nights when you fancy a decent feed followed by some music, but don’t want anything too strenuous. After eating you can head upstairs to listen to whichever jazz singer or musician is on that night, and have a nightcap or a cigar. Prices edge towards expensive if you eat, but wine is very reasonable on its own.
Brick. 30 Sinan Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu. Mon-Fri 11am – 2am. Around¥250 per person for dinner and wine.