Thursday, May 18, 2006

Va Bene, Xintiandi, Taicang Rd, Shanghai

Va Bene, Xintiandi, Taicang Rd, Shanghai
Thursday 18 May, 2006

Va Bene is located in one of the gorgeous laneways that makes Xintiandi a maze of shops and restaurants. It opened in October 2001 and was voted Shanghai's top restaurant in 2002. It is part of the Va Bene Group which was founded in the late 1980's by a group of investors who share a passion for good food and wine.

Chef Alessandro Colombis is a recent addition to Va Bene. He was standing outside the restaurant chatting on his mobile phone as I approached and encouraged me to come in and try - in his words, real italian food, Shangahi style. What on earth does that mean? Who knows, but I decided to try it anyway.

The interior is described as Tuscan and Venetian inspired in a superbly restored historic shikumen house. I thought the atrium was a lovely setting with lots of natural light, slate floor and beautiful orange trees. They offer set menus however I was keen to try their signature dish - Lasagne della Nonna Rosa - classic italian lasagna with bolognase sauce, porcini mushrooms and mozzarella. The menu indicated that you need to allow 10 minutes for this dish to be prepared however I waited over 30 minutes for it to arrive.

By the time it arrived I had high expectations. It was good, but there were no porcini mushrooms and the sauce was a little on the bland side, not as rich and hearty as I would have liked. I was craving a decent coffee so ordered a flat white and their signature dessert, Tiramisu. Well, now we are talking - this was absolutely sensational - the marscapone and coffee sauce was delicious and the coffee was great.

The atrium was almost full with mostly European visitors, in particular Italians. I don't know if this is because the restaurant is well known and offers great food or because so many travellers seem to stick with what they know rather than try the local cuisine.

Va Bene - House 7, North Block, Xintiandi, Lane 181, Taicang Rd, Shanghai - 86 21 6311 2211


Blogger Sam said...

Any idea where Chef Alessandro is now?

7:28 pm  

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