Recent reshuffles in the Spanish dining scene have left a gap in the mid-range bracket that Casa 700 is sizing up to fill. Xuedong Xia Wang, formerly of Mistral, has put together a bar / restaurant ensemble over on the dark side of Xintiandi offering a comprehensive menu of Spain-spanning dishes including a fistful of fine appetizers and especially good paella.
We stuck straight into a plate of Iberian ham croquettes (RMB98) as iconic Spanish sporting events played on a screen overhead. Crisp on the outside and deliciously gooey in the middle, they were enough to keep distractions at bay as the dishes started to roll in. Both a marinated dish of peppers and aubergine and a robust yet delicately fried Andalusian-style baby squid (RMB52) were wholesome yet sophisticated in a way only Spanish bar snacks can be. They’re perfect with a big bottle of the nation’s favorite, Estrella (RMB98).
Only in the pre-main lull did we lift our heads to look around. Casa 700 is a curious venue, half-bar and half-restaurant. With piercing lighting and a clumsy layout, the space feels on the verge of awkward.
Luckily the star of the show arrived to refocus us on the food. The sea and mountain paella (RMB94/person - minimum of two) is a huge dish of saucy rice, Barcelona-style, and its generous portions of prawns, clams, mussels, chicken and ham all simmer in a hefty and meaty stock. Maybe your Spanish aunt can do better, but it’s on par with the best in Shanghai.
Completely eclipsed was a lamb shank slow-cooked for 60 hours sous-vide (RMB208). It wasn’t the melt-in-the-mouth masterpiece we were expecting and it felt expensive as a result.
Already teeming with Spaniards, Casa 700 has the indicators of success. To us, it’s a great place to go for a beer and some tapas and or for the occasional paella feast.
- Casa 700
- 021 6386-0377
- 700 Huangpi Nan Lu [map]
- ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆