The former French Concession can be a wicked place - unforgiving to those not within a stone’s throw of the main drags. It is on the north-of-Anfu periphery that this chirpy, simply decorated newcomer to the pizza-pasta crowd has set up shop. Unfortunately, there’s nothing worse for a new Italian restaurant in Shanghai than an out-of-the-way location and an average menu. Seve has managed both.
Along with a generous and delicious plate of beef carpaccio (RMB65), we sat on the terrace and mused over why this stretch of Huashan Lu is so devoid of life. By the time an equally pleasant and almost entirely forgettable marinated salmon with fennel (RMB65) arrived, the Family Mart door-jingle from down the road was imprinted on our souls.
It took a large and loaded San Danielle-topped pizza with a pleasantly thin crust and delicate tomato & mozzarella base (RMB88) to lift the rapture. The pasta selections are similarly in fine trim with a strong traditional selection. A bowl of thin taglioni, soft shell crab and cherry tomatoes (RMB110) demonstrated that there are capable Italian hands in the kitchen.
With mains comprising a predictable beef tenderloin (RMB150) or grilled salmon (RMB140), the feeling of indistinction creeps in. Seve offers good but not amazing food in a space which is fine but somehow out of the way. The truth is that all other outcomes on the location / menu matrix result in either obvious failure or immediate success. We hope that they can pull out more than a few solid dishes to turn the tables inside the void of average.