Located on the north side of Sanlitun Soho, pretty much directly behind the giant sign that blocks the ground floor prime real estate, Mr. Fabbro offers Western food with what would be easy to deem a particularly Chinese twist.
I say “would be” but the restaurant’s head chef hails from Korea and while his fried chicken (RMB 69) is predictably accomplished and his takes on Italian staples like lobster risotto (RMB 98) and spaghetti all'amatriciana (RMB 67) are both bang on – each cooked to perfection with a satisfying bite – some of the more, let’s say creative, dishes may leave many Western diners bemused.
Take for example Mr. Fabbro’s specialty pizza (RMB 108) – minced beef, pepper, sweet potato, and cheese on a black base dashed with corn meal. Too much? Perhaps, but wait for that twist … before you can say “what the hell is that maniac waiter doing with that shot glass,” a shot of vodka is poured over the entire thing and set alight. Now, this wasn’t a complete dud – the vodka, beef, and sweetness of the peppers bonded surprisingly well but the remaining liquid and sweet potatoes did leave the base relatively soggy and I wouldn’t recommend ordering it at lunch unless you want the taste equivalent of Friday night’s drinks and late-night guilt slices all in one.
The space itself is particularly comfortable – open, airy, with diner-style seating on ground level and an open plan kitchen that gives way to the wood-fire oven by the front towering windows, where you can watch the team construct custom ordered pizzas, or the chefs busy at work in the main kitchen directly across. The upstairs is particularly swank without being detached. Open brick and concrete, piping, leather, and surprisingly tasteful modern renditions of revolution-era portraits create an environment ideal for watching the crowds awash on Gongti Bei Lu below.
Just like the name Fabbro – Italian for blacksmith – suggests, there may still be some kinks to hammer out but they’re certainly off to a fiery start. The restaurant does particularly well to offer something for everyone – refined Italian dishes as well as novelty items to keep Chinese diners and the more adventurous coming back, all enclosed in a neat multi-purpose space.
Daily 10am-2am. Bldg 1, 103-105 Sanlitun Soho, Chaoyang District (8590 0555)
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Photos: Kipp Whittaker
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