I'd say that Austen Kitchen is a gentle place- soft lighting, classical music, off the main hutong drag and a relief to find.
You won't be overcrowded here, sitting at one of the unique wooden tables on antique furniture. It is both minimally and perfectly designed.
Food is Italian, as you've read in other reviews, and it tastes fresh and alive; if you're work out by steamed and fried foods, the presence of olive oil in their homemade pastas is subtle and reassuring. Ahhhh- that's a taste I've been missing in China! The silverware is heavy, and clinks pleasantly against the ceramic plates as you eat: even the sound of the good is Italian.
Different soups served daily. Enticing desserts. I had a dinner of salad, pasta, and white wine and feel light on my toes, ready for more wandering.
Try to find it. When you do, go no farther.
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