Going on a gourmet journey at Shanghai's Dine Amic
One might not find any reason for heading to Tianzifang these days as the city's arts and crafts enclave is seemingly lacking its old-world charm, with most tenants selling mass-produced knick knacks.
A new dining concept, however, has chosen this location in Shanghai to give diners a unique experience – a hidden surprise.
Inside a typical old house, Dine Amic gives the feeling of having an intimate house dinner, pampered by a professional team. It is small, cozy, with only an eight-seat long table in the main dining room as well as three small tables on the third level.
The tasteful arrangements, with an attention-to-detail approach, make it a delightful place to be.
The young team seems genuinely pleased to have guests, too. With all that in place, the food's job is simple: to have "fun."
The quarterly menu is based on seasonality, different food concepts and the team's own stories.
As the name Dine Amic (dine with friends) implies, it is a place where friends and family can share moments of togetherness, while enjoying the food, wine and service.
"Food and wine are the 'bridge' for getting people around the table and that's what matters for us – to make sure guests have a great time while dining here," said chef Daniel Ching.
Hailing from Penang, Malaysia, Ching is the soul of Dine Amic. Having worked in different countries for over 20 years, he doesn't label himself in a fixed genre as his cooking style is constantly changing. He usually thinks out of the box for the choice of products so as to try out new things and explore possibilities.
"I believe Shanghai people are constantly embracing diverse cultures, and different cultures have their unique ways of expression in food. And years of working in China have also opened up a broader understanding in the exploration of local cuisine," he observed.
Each quarterly menu created by Ching and two young chefs Milin and Aaron has one thing in common: It's built with the greatness of local sourced ingredients and beverage options.
"All of our food and beverage ingredients are from China. We express our appreciation to all of the great local ingredients and turn them into dishes that delight the guests," Ching said.
"It's similar with the beverage offerings: We stick to Chinese wines only, ranging from sparkling, red, white to sweet."
China's world-class wines – Ao Yun and Long Dai – are available to raise diners' spirits.
The current seasonal menu is "About Us." Each team member from different cultural backgrounds contributes his or her childhood memories and a dish dear to their heart.
"Each course is classical but we twist it to make it more fun and playful," said Ching. "By introducing six courses with roots from Paris, Taipei, Shanghai to Kuala Lumpur, we like to take our guests on a gourmet journey. Each of them represents the uniqueness of the respective food culture."
Opening hours: 5:30pm-10:30pm (Tuesday to Sunday)
Address: No. 37, Lane 155 Jianguo Rd M.
Average price: 550 yuan