Mark Hiew (more chengdu)|
Hostel fare generally follows a fairly strict mandate: bright, rainbow-hued walls and cheap, homey grub (think banana oatmeal), often with Bob Marley’s “Legend” bopping on the speakers.
Woodfish Café, though connected to Dragontown Hostel, is not that kind of restaurant. Located on the recently renamed China Lane, it’s a more upscale, refined restaurant serving reasonable Western cuisine.
Matching the elegance and historic style of China Lane, Woodfish immediately impresses with its creativity and attention to mood. From the feng shui of the layout to the contemporary portraits and records adorning the walls, the restaurant combines East and West in a thoughtful, modern way. On a Saturday afternoon, well-heeled professionals surfed the Internets on their laptops or relaxed over tea as loungey bossa nova set the mood.
The food, ostensibly French-Asian fusion, was fine, though not quite on par with the décor. Occasionally the dishes seemed a little too subtle. An extensive English menu covers standard pastas (RMB 30-40), sandwiches (RMB 20-30) and salads (RMB 25-36) through to meat and fish main courses (RMB 100 and up) and specials such as “lemon grass poached chicken rice” (RMB 38) and roast eel (RMB 42). The drink menu, featuring a selection of foreign wines (RMB 176 for the House red), was also comprehensive.
The cream cheese spring rolls (RMB 18) and wings in chili garlic sauce (RMB 28) were indeed excellent, but the dessert chocolate pear crepes (RMB 22), though of pleasant texture, yearned for more flavor. The cheese and vegetable lasagna (RMB 35), with its large vegetable pieces and cheese (cheese that was not thoroughly melted) lacked the layering of good lasagna, though the burgers (RMB 24), served on baguette bread, weren’t bad.
Given its location, Woodfish makes for an excellent choice while strolling the area, for a date, or on business. Look to spend around 100RMB per head for a full meal, not including alcohol. Vegetarians will find the selection friendly enough, and those looking simply for somewhere quiet to work or relax will be similarly pleased.
According to Chengdoo magazine, Woodfish began as “a breakfast nook for backpackers.” These days, consider it “backpacker chic:” charming, tasteful and cosmopolitan.