New & Noted: Xixi Bistro

What: Fusion Chinese-cum-Italian dishes
Where: 89 Wuyuan Lu, near Wulumuqi Lu. Tel: 6486 1331.
Why: For innovative dishes that hit the mark every time
Brought to you by the owners of Uva and Fumo, Xixi Bistro sits nestled on the tree-lined streets of up-andcoming Wuyuan Lu. The story goes that Madame Xixi was a Shanghainese woman who lived an exuberant live in the French Concession during the 1920s. She would entertain many foreign friends at her Shanghai home and in turn, her Shanghainese cooking was influenced by western tastes. The restaurant, set in a large house from the era, has been made to feel like Madame Xixi’s home, with the cosy downstairs restaurant modelled as her living room, filled with items from the time and decadent period-wallpaper featuring monkeys. If you follow the red dragon scales and venture up the staircase, you will be welcomed into her boudoir, doubling as a cocktail lounge. There is also a larger-than-youwould expect patio area at the back of the house, decked out with lanterns, while the weather is still agreeable.
You may be surprised by some of the strange-sounding fusion concoctions on the menu, but from our experience, the Shanghainese chef hasn’t put a step out of line. Dishes are made for sharing, tapas style, and all are extremely reasonably priced. The menu is split into appetisers, rice and noodles, entrées, main dishes sides and soups. Unfortunately, there are no desserts on the menu at the moment, however, the restaurant is still in its soft opening phase and we hope to see this change soon with the owners’ talk of a patisserie.
In our opinion, each dish beautifully balances the flavours of East and West, however, our highlights were the avocado and salmon rice bruschetta (RMB 28), lotus caprese (RMB 30), spinach, mozzarella and pine nuts jiaozi (RMB 25) and the slow cooked pork ribs with BBQ sauce (RMB 112), which were cooked to perfection, with the meat falling off the bone and flavoured with the delicate and fragrant taste of rosewater. As the owners have a wine background, naturally there is a well stocked bar of wines from around the world (starting at RMB 32 per glass) and a small range of cocktails (from RMB 60).
Xixi Bistro currently has a set lunch menu (RMB 88 per person) from which you can choose four dishes from a list of pre-selected appetisers, pastas or rice and entrées. We think it is one of the best bangs for your lunchtime buck in the area.