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Mercante Goes Grande

February 09, 2015

When bite-size Italian trattoria Mercante opened in 2012 it soon set about winning the hearts and tums of diners and critics to become the darling of Beijing’s boutique dining scene. Almost three years on and their delicious homemade pasta continues to draw a crowd, so owner Omar Maseroli wisely decided to expand with the opening of Fiume in Chaoyang, a glassy waterfront bistro that serves up the same rustic comfort fare in a light and bright upsized setting.

While Fiume’s modern floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the Liangma – hence the moniker which means ‘river’ in Italian – the one-page menu of antipasti, primi and mains puts the emphasis very much on honest, earthy classics. A few Mercante favourites have made it over to the Fiume menu (think tagliatelle with bolognese ragu, pumpkin and fruit chutney tortellini, and a succulent organic fillet of beef), but the bigger kitchen is also plating up some fancy new offerings. The gnocchi tossed with a wild boar and porcini sauce makes the ideal accompaniment to one of the robust reds from a sizable assortment of European wines. There might only be two desserts on offer, together with a traditional imported cheese platter, but the raspberry and balsamic panna cotta alone is exquisite enough to merit a return tasting. Bellissimo!

39 Maizidian Xijie (at the rear of the FX Hotel) / Chaoyang / +86 10 6501 9878 / lunch & dinner daily