The name is Macasa, but it may as well be Mi Casa, for all the homely, rustic-chic ambience it exudes. The charming bungalow bistro looks and seems a million miles from the frenetic Shanghai bustle, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a leafy tree-lined patio, and rough brick and wood walls, timber and poured concrete floors, exposed Edison bulbs, and quaint mismatched furniture. The feel is more inviting log cabin than upscale eatery, but don’t let the disarmingly cosy interior fool you – the culinary offering is as thought out and polished as the raw décor pretends it isn’t.
Former Peninsula chef Mandela Zhu’s concise menu comprises globally-inspired tapas plates that, while diminutive, score big for artful presentation and flavour combinations. The 65° egg is a smooth white canvas coloured with radishes, herb sprigs, mashed codfish and fried scallions; a log of flip fresh raw tuna cubes is topped with a crisp black sesame crust for an inventive take on tuna tartare; tender beef cheeks are gently laid in a pretty bed of potato puree and edible flowers; and Mikko Wang’s dessert selection is spearheaded by a perfectly oozy chocolate lava cake. The concept is at once ambitious and totally down-to-earth, and a (sorely needed) breath of fresh air in the Chinese capital. Macasa es su casa!
1690 Huaihai Zhong Lu / near Wuxing Lu / Xuhui / +86 21 5456 1214 / 10am-10pm daily