FIRST IMPRESSIONS: On Renmin Gongyuan or People’s Park, part of the busy People’s Square located off Nanjing Road in Huangpu district, one is able to find an oasis – Barbarossa, next to the Shanghai Art Museum. Few will miss the restaurant, which entices visitors with its tranquil surroundings.
A luxurious Middle Eastern décor pervades in the warmly lit dining room. Rising above two storeys, Barbarossa offers an outdoor bar and a dining area on the ground floor, with more dining and lounging spaces upstairs (DJ music and hookahs on level three).
THE FOOD: The menu is partly Middle Eastern, using herbs and spices, described by Chef Mus Anesrif as a culinary experience “marrying authentic, exotic flavours with cosmopolitan flair”. With 16 years of experience under his belt, his passion has taken him across the regions, from his hometown of Morocco to Singapore.
For lunch, we had naan (tandoor-baked flat bread) with a variety of dips, chicken and mutton skewers, couscous and M’Rouzia-Mus-Anes, a hearty sweet yet savoury lamb tagine with honey prunes, sultana and roasted almonds, which won our top vote. A selection is also available for diners with tastes leaning more towards the western. Desserts such as banana split, apple crumble and tiramisu, however, disappointed our tastebuds that were already geared for the “exotic”.
DRINKS: A choice of soft drinks, juices, coffee and teas, house wines and a local favourite, Tsing Tao.
SERVICE: Food was served warm in nice white cutlery.
PRICES: Appetisers start from CNY45 (US$6.50), mains go from CNY98 (US$14) for Mediterranean and CNY138 (US$20) for meats.
OPENING HOURS: Lunch from 1100 to 1730; dinner from 1800 to 2300; Saturday and Sunday brunches from 1100 to 1600.
VERDICT: A gem in a park – great for holding informal meetings.
CONTACT: 231 Nanjing Road West, People’s Park, Shanghai, China, tel 86 21 6318 0220, www.barbarossa.com.cn