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Asian-Fusion Hot Spot

June 06, 2017
Asian-Fusion Hot Spot

Xixi Bistro

Old Shanghai photos, oriental lanterns, leopard and pineapple lampstands, flora-and-fauna-flaunting wallpaper, exposed brick walls and potted plants… There’s lashings of vintage atmosphere at softly lit Chinese-Italian fusion restaurant Xixi Bistro, one of our fave restaurants recently rebooted in Xintiandi.

On feisty form, having relocated from scruffy-but-charming Wuyuan Lu, the new two-storey incarnation of Xixi is a plush, pattern-tastic take on 1930s Shanghai with hints of old-school Europe, aesthetically busy but alluring.

Kick off at the lower-floor tiki bar (sporting a kitsch temple-like roof), where you can perch on high rattan stools to enjoy light Sino-spice and tea-infused cocktails. A secluded speakeasy down the corridor serves stronger sips, including a barrel-aged Chinatown Manhattan (which trades vermouth for huangjiu – yellow rice wine) and a Tea Negroni (blending Campari with Yunnan tea, gin, white vermouth, and rosewater). A piano hides a DJ booth.

Upstairs, the loft-like dining room works a retro lanehouse look. Quirky fusion dishes team local flavours with Med touches, such as fois gras mousse with spring onion pancake, and basil cheese tofu with tomato salsa. They’re gimmicky combos that might split votes, but are memorable. Bolder eaters can try the jellyfish salmon tartare or play it safer going for grilled short ribs with Osmanthus sauce. Creative, controversial and tongue-in-cheek dishes even include Bolognese ragu in spring rolls. Jazz and hip-hop tunes complete the picture at this offbeat lounge.

Head to The Bunker bar, hidden behind a sliding door on the second floor of nearby grocer Green & Safe, for a postprandial of artisanal cocktails.

Xixi Bistro / Unit 02 / 16 Lane 181 / Taicang Lu (nr Madang Lu) / Xintiandi / +86 21 6321 886 / 5.30pm-2am daily /