The buzz: Imagine a place where every dish is steamed, where not a single deep-fat fryer lurks, where the walls are as white as steam itself. Mix in a prime Xintiandi location and you’ve got Steam - from the folk that brought us South Beauty.
The décor: Airy and light - almost virginal, lending an ambience of healthy purity. Outside terraces on both floors.
The food: A big menu of steamed dishes - Sichuan-style veg sides, dim sum, baozi, steamed casseroles, and noodles. Overall, we weren’t overly impressed. The only things that really impressed us were the shredded pork baozicoated in sesame seeds, and the garlic-steamed broccoli. The noodles were too peppery, the Sichuan diced tofu flavourless, and the BBQ pork buns cloying. One plus is the price – compared to its neighbours in popular Xintiandi, Steam isn’t too expensive. Noodle dishes start at ¥6, casseroles at ¥50, and steamed dishes range from ¥20 to ¥200. Waitstaff attention was a little difficult to attract, but our guy was friendly once summoned.
The drinks: A selection of fresh fruit juices from ¥25 (the tomato juice, to our surprise, was actually pureed tomatoes, not the usual scarlet pre-prepared stuff), beer (from ¥30), wines, and Champagne cocktails.
Why you’ll be back: Give it a go for the novelty of the steam concept. Or order a steamer of dim sum and treat it as a way to snag a ringside view of Xintiandi in the evening. They also do a ¥98 business lunch, which might be worth a try.
Steam. Xintiandi North Block, Lane 181 Taicang Lu, near Madang Lu. 10am – 2am. ¥150 per person with a drink.