Here is how we ended up at Cafe Transat over the weekend. We were planning on taking a friend for dinner at A Future Perfect, but they were hosting a private function. So, we started leafing through our Enjoy book to find a replacement and, well, restaurants are listed alphabetically, Cafe Transat starts with a “C”, the description sounded pretty good … and we were hungry. (And, as usual, we ended up forgetting to use our Enjoy coupon anyway.)
Turns out we had eaten at the place (at at least the space) before. It’s located on the first floor of the Somerset Grand near Xintiandi, and the restaurant was known as the Coffee Club (which was a pretty good lunch spot) in a previous incarnation. The people behind Transat, which launched earlier this year (we think), redecorated, knocked down a few walls and really opened up the restaurant and bar to the great outdoor deck that sits along Taicang Lu. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy a few drinks during the six or seven weeks of bearable weather we have in Shanghai every year (assuming they aren’t sawing or drilling something next to the Bellagio, across the street).
The food was tasty and fit the breezy atmosphere. We had one of the 99 RMB Western sets, which included a nice Nicoise salad, fish and chips (if you ask for vinegar, they’ll bring you Chinese vinegar) and a chocolate mousse. We also had an Asian set for 79 RMB: a Japanese noodle salad, Malaysian curried chicken (with bones, unfortunately … a personal pet peeve) and, again, chocolate mousse. Our final dish was blackened California dover sole and a small side of spinach for 99 RMB. Everything was good, but the prices (for what the dishes were) reflected the fact that we were dining in a high-rent district. We couldn’t help but think that, for similar prices, we could have been enjoying some more inventive (and plentiful) fare at A Future Perfect.
What will send us back to Cafe Transat, however, is that deck and one great beer they have on tap. It’s a Belgian ale called De Koninck (here is the brewer website), and it’s got to be one of the better, most unique brews available in draft form in the city. It was a fantastic find. And during happy hour (5:30-8:30 pm daily) it’s a great deal — 50 percent off the normal price of 45 RMB per glass. The bar also has Hoegaarden on tap. And the friendly staff are happy to serve you water … for free!
You can read two reviews of Cafe Transat here and here.
Cafe Transat, 8 Jinan Lu (entrance on Taicang Lu). Open 7am-late. Tel: 53828370.
Photo from Smart Shanghai.