susiebbpig on 1/F, 1551 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Changde Lu 6289 8098 Vesta Bistro (Nanjing Xi Lu) Price per Person: 300 Rmb
Atmosphere: This bistro was conveniently situated right in the middle of JingAn temple in Kerry Center. It was a bit hard to find as I strolled from the south side to the north side of the mall but the restaurant was actually outside of the mall. The bistro was a bit crowded and noisy but it was still acceptable once we squished into our little cozy corner.
Food: The bistro mainly served a wide variety of drinking snacks which were almost like tapas, and a handful of main dishes including the infamous baked stuffed chicken and a few pasta selections. To start, we ordered a few drinking snacks such as sautéed sausage, sautéed mushroom, sautéed Brussels sprouts with bacon, baked eggplant with cheese and mussels in white wine reduction. The sausage, mushroom and Brussels sprouts were really average but surprisingly I think the eggplant was charcoal grilled before it was baked in the dish with cheese because there was a pungent smokey flavor to it. The mussels were very delicate as there were tiny pieces of garlic and herbs hidden inside the folds of the mussels. The white wine reduction caught all the essence of the mussels and I almost needed a piece of baguette to dip into the sauce.
For a boost of protein we ordered sautéed squid, ossobuco and the baked stuffed chicken. The sautéed squid was the perfect drinking snack since it was very well seasoned and the squid was so fresh that it was almost crispy. The ossobuco was such a good deal. I had never had ossobuco this cheap before and I was glad the quality was not compromised simply because of the low price point. It was everything an ossobuco needed to be-- chunks of meat falling off the bone with a melting bone marrow in the middle. I realized it was not a popular item in the bistro and I was sure the ossobuco had been sitting in the stewing pot for the entire day.
The highlight of the night was the most popular item in the bistro. According to my brief observation, almost 70% of the customers of the night ordered it. The chicken skin was so crispy as the chicken was baked to perfection and the chicken fat was melted in the long baking process. The chicken skin almost fell off the chicken as I bit into it. Even though the chicken was baked for such a long time, it remained very juicy. The chicken was stuffed with risotto and the risotto was so flavor packed as it absorbed all the oil and juices from the chicken.
We ended the night with caramel cream puff, which was yet another highly popular item in the bistro and it was worth every ounce of fat it brought to my belly. The puff was not saggy from the cream at all and the caramel was crackling was I sinked my teeth in it. It was like biting into a thin but hard layer of candy.
Service: We were scrambled into the corner at first and it was a bit hard for us to catch the attention of the waiters but in general we did not have any problem in getting what we needed. As the bistro cleared out a bit, the waiters were very diligent in refilling water too.
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