Does Fiume serve Beijing’s best panna cotta? Considering that its main competition comes from its owners’ first restaurant, Mercante, then the answer may well be yes.

This alone would be reason enough to visit Fiume, but the restaurant as a whole is very easy to love. Fiume is Italian for “river” and the wall of floor-to-ceiling windows makes a feature out of the Liangma River flowing by outside, letting plenty of natural light pour in as well. The design builds and improves upon the décor at Mercante, stripping away the hutong quirkiness and replacing it with sleek modern aspects like the touches of teal spread throughout the space. With just 30 or so covers, it’s set to be an intimate dining experience.

Similarly, the menu retains many of the dishes that established Mercante’s popularity, but it was the new dishes that wowed our table. Antipasti in particular have had a bit of a makeover, retaining the beautiful platter of cold cuts (RMB 138) but introducing an extremely competent pheasant and parma ham pâté (RMB 68). Of the pasta, a plate of triangoli filled with stewed donkey (RMB 98) was worlds away from the meat’s usual streetside presentation. We were also happy to see the addition of a gnocchi dish, served with a rich boar and porcini ragu (RMB 88). It must be said that portions are on the small side. If you are going for the full antipasti-primi-secondi experience this won’t be a problem, but those looking to pop in for a quick pasta might find themselves leaving a little hungry. However, if small portions leave more room for that panna cotta (RMB 46), then we aren’t in any position to complain. 

Note: When we visited, Fiume was still in soft opening, operating with a slightly trimmed down, and frequently changing, menu.


Photos: Uni

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