New F&B places to discover in Chengdu

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 Chengdu foodies, check out these fresh places in town!

 

Zoe Bakery

We were glad to see a new bakery open up in Tongzilin last summer. Zoe Bakery is very dedicated to sourcing and using quality materials, organic where possible. There are always new treats on the shelves, and their bread is fresh every day. We dropped in to chat with manager Penny and were impressed with the attention to detail and effort going into finding good materials, even to the spices. Their baker learned the trade in France and the goods on offer reflect a European style. The profiteroles are piled high with cream and the apple pastries and croissants are a good way to start a day off. Coffee made from organic beans is available for 10 yuan per cup with the purchase of a baked good, which is one of the best values in the area.


Besides whole wheat bread and white bread, sourdough bread is made on Wednesdays and Fridays and a dense fruit and nut bread is turned out on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They do cakes made with vegetables such as pumpkin, carrot and even eggplant. The pastry squares are filled generously with a very tasty organic jams. They are always trying out new products and recipes; the last time we tried some very good peanut butter cookies with jam.

 The shop now has a small counter – for if you want to eat in – and a few shelves with a selection of organic products such as jams, seasonings, nuts, gluten free baking powder, agar-agar and maple syrup. Most products are breakfast related or baking goods. The staff can all speak English and answer questions about products. They are getting a WeChat and Taobao store set up so that groceries and baked goods can be ordered for delivery. They also have a loyalty program with membership cards. Pastries are 10-20RMB, bread is 25 or more depending on the style and size of loaf. 

Time: 7:30am – 10pm

Address: #8, No.8 of Tongzilin Zhonglu 桐梓林中路8号附8号

Tel: 028-87662637

Bambino


  We dropped by Bambino, a private kitchen in a Tongzilin apartment complex with a main dining room and three smaller private rooms. A chunk of toasty Foccacia landed on the table first with a tiny pot of pesto, whose flavour was as vibrant as its colour. We asked for the Arugula Salad and got a pretty intriguing plate with a pile of warm sauteed mushrooms topped with some fresh baby arugula, very lightly dressed and scattered with pansies and sided with a sweet potato puree topped with an oat crumble. A thick chunk of well marbled Steak was cooked to the desired medium and sided with broccoli puree as well as carrots, paper-thin dehydrated lotus root, shaved local black truffle and a red wine sauce. The Three Tomato Salad came with pumpkin gel, sweet potato puree, black pepper crumble, microgreens and a raspberry cream. A thick, tender and perfectly cooked Iberian Pork Chop for two, part of a set menu, was escorted by roasted vegetables and smooth potato puree. A grapefruity Chilean house white was served by the glass at a decent temperature and pour. We chatted with chef Maro Zhao, a local Chengdu boy who learned cooking from the internet and from books and from a few stints in western restaurants in Chengdu. He uses Taobao to source premium ingredients like microgreens and edible flowers.


We were impressed with the experience at Bambino, which we at first mistook for an Italian place. The name is actually from a Japanese anime series about a young cook at an Italian restaurant who learns many things. This Bambino is off to a good start but still has maturing to do; some dishes would improve with editing. Still, superior ingredients prepared with humour and imagination and presented with generosity and hospitality make a winning combination. Diners can expect to spend 200-400RMB per person. Private kitchen, book and order ahead only for up to 12.

Time: 5:30 – late, Tues to Sat, Sun open for lunch

Address: 新光路1号观南上域3栋2单元203

Tel: 028 87795191

S Steak House


We dropped in to check out this cosy new steakhouse in the Baoli Centre. We climbed the stairs past the kitchen and past many photos of raw, red, well-marbled steak into the dining room, which has one table near the window that we waited for even though the rest of the room was empty. The menu is short and to the point, featuring a T-bone, filet, ribeye, kebabs and chicken wings on the grill plus a few salads and sides.

We started off with the salad, filling a big bowl with a bountiful mixture of various vegetables and fruits that we gave up trying to count but included canned beets, frozen raspberries, halved cherry tomatoes, chunks of mango, large pieces of raw red cabbage, iceberg, ice vegetable, chunks of dragon fruit, shredded carrots, cucumbers and cashews. The server offered Caesar or vinaigrette dressing. We were not sure how a thick, garlicky Caesar dressing would work with all this fruit so went with vinaigrette.

 Steak is ordered as tenths done and their ribeye is recommended three to five, or 30-50% done. We tried to tell them we like the ribeye a bit more done on the fatty side and rare on the lean side, but they wanted to cut it in pieces, so we went with medium all the way. The steak came out at the desired doneness on a wooden board with some vegetables and potatoes on the side and topped with some charred rosemary and thyme that the server instructed us to crumble over the top. The actual meat was OK if you like it on the lean side but fell a bit short of the expectations raised by all the meat porn on the walls. If we were going out for steak specifically, we’d probably pick a different restaurant, but the salad was pretty amazing and for a comfortable dinner spot near the Baoli Centre this place fits the bill. The ribeye is 218RMB, salad 58RMB. 

Time:10:30 – 10pm

Address: 锦绣路1号保利中心东区A座310

Tel: 028 85091776

Paradise
  We stumbled into Paradise a few years back when some of the Indian medical students from Huaxi had opened a modest restaurant with a few Indian and some local dishes. Over time the restaurant reverted to Chinese only, but we recently found out that the restaurant’s proprietors had returned from India and were serving Indian food again. Their street front and interior does not distinguish Paradise from the gritty local restaurants along this street, but the menu is enormous for the space and completely Indian, offering breakfasts, curries, vegetarian dishes, set meals and snacks. 

The original Paradise in Hyderabad, India, to which our local Paradise is a tribute, is an iconic place where their signature dishes include biryani and the chai tea. We ordered the chicken dum biryani, which was quite hot, made with long grain basmati rice and big chunks of chicken. We tried a couple of roti from the menu, which were fine. We loved the masala dosa, a thin flat pancake filled with seasoned potatoes and onions and served with a chutney. The palak paneer, cubed fresh cheese in a spinach sauce, was fortifying and tasty. The chai here was quite sweet and a bit mild but had a nice cardamom flavour.


They have vadas, iddly and sambar, uttapams, and other breakfast items. Other interesting menu items are the chilly chicken and Chicken Manchurian, classic Hakka Indian dishes that make Indian Chinese food one of the world’s best diaspora cuisines and are some of our favourite food memories of Hyderabad. Like most Indian restaurants, Paradise is very vegetarian friendly and offers vegetarian set meals. With this huge of a menu, we’d have to come every day for a week to really figure out what the best dishes were, but the student friendly prices make menu exploration easy. Breads 1RMB-5RMB; curries 10RMB-25RMB; set meals 22-25RMB. 

Tel: 156809099691

Address: 林荫街6号附10号

Time:10am-11pm

*Source: MORE Magazine Chengdu

* Writer: Susan Johnson

We were glad to see a new bakery open up in Tongzilin last summer. Zoe Bakery is very dedicated to sourcing and using quality materials, organic where possible. There are always new treats on the shelves, and their bread is fresh every day. We dropped in to chat with manager Penny and were impressed with the attention to detail and effort going into finding good materials, even to the spices. Their baker learned the trade in France and the goods on offer reflect a European style. The profiteroles are piled high with cream and the apple pastries and croissants are a good way to start a day off. Coffee made from organic beans is available for 10 yuan per cup with the purchase of a baked good, which is one of the best values in the area.


Besides whole wheat bread and white bread, sourdough bread is made on Wednesdays and Fridays and a dense fruit and nut bread is turned out on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They do cakes made with vegetables such as pumpkin, carrot and even eggplant. The pastry squares are filled generously with a very tasty organic jams. They are always trying out new products and recipes; the last time we tried some very good peanut butter cookies with jam.

 The shop now has a small counter – for if you want to eat in – and a few shelves with a selection of organic products such as jams, seasonings, nuts, gluten free baking powder, agar-agar and maple syrup. Most products are breakfast related or baking goods. The staff can all speak English and answer questions about products. They are getting a WeChat and Taobao store set up so that groceries and baked goods can be ordered for delivery. They also have a loyalty program with membership cards. Pastries are 10-20RMB, bread is 25 or more depending on the style and size of loaf. 

Time: 7:30am – 10pm

Address: #8, No.8 of Tongzilin Zhonglu 桐梓林中路8号附8号

Tel: 028-87662637

Bambino


  We dropped by Bambino, a private kitchen in a Tongzilin apartment complex with a main dining room and three smaller private rooms. A chunk of toasty Foccacia landed on the table first with a tiny pot of pesto, whose flavour was as vibrant as its colour. We asked for the Arugula Salad and got a pretty intriguing plate with a pile of warm sauteed mushrooms topped with some fresh baby arugula, very lightly dressed and scattered with pansies and sided with a sweet potato puree topped with an oat crumble. A thick chunk of well marbled Steak was cooked to the desired medium and sided with broccoli puree as well as carrots, paper-thin dehydrated lotus root, shaved local black truffle and a red wine sauce. The Three Tomato Salad came with pumpkin gel, sweet potato puree, black pepper crumble, microgreens and a raspberry cream. A thick, tender and perfectly cooked Iberian Pork Chop for two, part of a set menu, was escorted by roasted vegetables and smooth potato puree. A grapefruity Chilean house white was served by the glass at a decent temperature and pour. We chatted with chef Maro Zhao, a local Chengdu boy who learned cooking from the internet and from books and from a few stints in western restaurants in Chengdu. He uses Taobao to source premium ingredients like microgreens and edible flowers.


We were impressed with the experience at Bambino, which we at first mistook for an Italian place. The name is actually from a Japanese anime series about a young cook at an Italian restaurant who learns many things. This Bambino is off to a good start but still has maturing to do; some dishes would improve with editing. Still, superior ingredients prepared with humour and imagination and presented with generosity and hospitality make a winning combination. Diners can expect to spend 200-400RMB per person. Private kitchen, book and order ahead only for up to 12.

Time: 5:30 – late, Tues to Sat, Sun open for lunch

Address: 新光路1号观南上域3栋2单元203

Tel: 028 87795191

S Steak House


We dropped in to check out this cosy new steakhouse in the Baoli Centre. We climbed the stairs past the kitchen and past many photos of raw, red, well-marbled steak into the dining room, which has one table near the window that we waited for even though the rest of the room was empty. The menu is short and to the point, featuring a T-bone, filet, ribeye, kebabs and chicken wings on the grill plus a few salads and sides.

We started off with the salad, filling a big bowl with a bountiful mixture of various vegetables and fruits that we gave up trying to count but included canned beets, frozen raspberries, halved cherry tomatoes, chunks of mango, large pieces of raw red cabbage, iceberg, ice vegetable, chunks of dragon fruit, shredded carrots, cucumbers and cashews. The server offered Caesar or vinaigrette dressing. We were not sure how a thick, garlicky Caesar dressing would work with all this fruit so went with vinaigrette.

 Steak is ordered as tenths done and their ribeye is recommended three to five, or 30-50% done. We tried to tell them we like the ribeye a bit more done on the fatty side and rare on the lean side, but they wanted to cut it in pieces, so we went with medium all the way. The steak came out at the desired doneness on a wooden board with some vegetables and potatoes on the side and topped with some charred rosemary and thyme that the server instructed us to crumble over the top. The actual meat was OK if you like it on the lean side but fell a bit short of the expectations raised by all the meat porn on the walls. If we were going out for steak specifically, we’d probably pick a different restaurant, but the salad was pretty amazing and for a comfortable dinner spot near the Baoli Centre this place fits the bill. The ribeye is 218RMB, salad 58RMB. 

Time:10:30 – 10pm

Address: 锦绣路1号保利中心东区A座310

Tel: 028 85091776

Paradise
  We stumbled into Paradise a few years back when some of the Indian medical students from Huaxi had opened a modest restaurant with a few Indian and some local dishes. Over time the restaurant reverted to Chinese only, but we recently found out that the restaurant’s proprietors had returned from India and were serving Indian food again. Their street front and interior does not distinguish Paradise from the gritty local restaurants along this street, but the menu is enormous for the space and completely Indian, offering breakfasts, curries, vegetarian dishes, set meals and snacks. 

The original Paradise in Hyderabad, India, to which our local Paradise is a tribute, is an iconic place where their signature dishes include biryani and the chai tea. We ordered the chicken dum biryani, which was quite hot, made with long grain basmati rice and big chunks of chicken. We tried a couple of roti from the menu, which were fine. We loved the masala dosa, a thin flat pancake filled with seasoned potatoes and onions and served with a chutney. The palak paneer, cubed fresh cheese in a spinach sauce, was fortifying and tasty. The chai here was quite sweet and a bit mild but had a nice cardamom flavour.


They have vadas, iddly and sambar, uttapams, and other breakfast items. Other interesting menu items are the chilly chicken and Chicken Manchurian, classic Hakka Indian dishes that make Indian Chinese food one of the world’s best diaspora cuisines and are some of our favourite food memories of Hyderabad. Like most Indian restaurants, Paradise is very vegetarian friendly and offers vegetarian set meals. With this huge of a menu, we’d have to come every day for a week to really figure out what the best dishes were, but the student friendly prices make menu exploration easy. Breads 1RMB-5RMB; curries 10RMB-25RMB; set meals 22-25RMB. 

Tel: 156809099691

Address: 林荫街6号附10号

Time:10am-11pm

*Source: MORE Magazine Chengdu

* Writer: Susan Johnson

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