The buzz: We’d heard rumors. Steak rumors. Ever on the look-out for new places to develop meat sweats, we decided to see if these whispers of an 800g steak behemoth were true. So we headed to Mr. Willis. The newest foal in Aussie Craig Willis’s stable (which includes Amokka café and La Strada pizzeria on the ground floor of the same building, Roomtwentyeight, and the popular Wagas chain) is a cosy, casual bistro affair near to Just Grapes, Costa, and Feidan in the Anfu/Wulumuqi enclave.
The décor: Wooden floors, open kitchen, spot-lit tables, patio doors and a terrace (sadly too narrow to accommodate tables, but pretty nonetheless), cosy lounge area with rugs and sofas, exposed industrial-style ceiling – i.e. deftly done, laid-back chic.
The food: We kicked off with the poached egg salad (¥46) which was a tasty introduction consisting of a beautifully cooked egg over frisée lettuce and crispy bacon. Next was what we’d come for – the 800g beef steak with herb fried potatoes, roasted vegetables, béarnaise sauce, and gravy. We asked for rare, and rare it was. Bleeding. Ruby red and juicy. At ¥395 it’s one to share, and could feed three at a light push. The fried potato wedges were just the right mix of crisp and fluffy, and the roasted courgette was piqued with sliced olives. The rest of the menu consists of mains around the ¥100 mark, and the run of the Strada pizza list.
The drinks: A large selection of wines by the bottle (decent ones start at around ¥250), beers, and cocktails. Our benchmark Bloody Mary (¥56) passed muster, and impressed us with its giant celery plume.
Why you’ll be back: This one has all the hallmarks of success, and looks to become a stalwart of the dining scene. It’s unpretentious, well-located, and well-thought, and the food is great.
Find it: 3/F, 195 Anfu Lu, near Wulumuqi Lu. 安福路195号3楼近乌鲁木齐路. 5404 0200. Open daily 11am – 5pm. Around ¥200 per person with a drink.