Kitted out like a Sultan’s dining room, Adiva is going for bling. If you can get beyond the gaudy décor and inconsistent menu, there are a couple of jewels in the crown.
To fully represent all of the Mediterranean region in one restaurant is quite a challenge. Twenty-one countries circle this sea and there’s not much to tie them together. Nonetheless, Adiva squashes onion soup, fattoush, meatballs, lobster thermidor, kebabs and curry into a two-fold menu. Looking into the glass-fronted kitchen you’ll wonder how they’re going to pull it off successfully. Such a feat would require the same access to the herbs, spices and produce that five-star hotels have.
Adiva’s tabouleh (RMB32) shows they don’t quite have it. What should’ve been a tartly seasoned, fully flavored combination of finely chopped fresh tomatoes, cucumber, bulgur, parsley and mint was disappointing. With bland ingredients and overpowering raw onion it was a poor rendition. A similar tale was told in the uninspired Greek salad (RMB48) that featured dry olives and a sprinkling of feta.
We strategized, cancelled the pasta order, homed in on the grill and struck gold. The beef shish (RMB62) of succulent meat alongside rice and potato wedges was a masculine feast. Even more pleasing but slightly expensive was a fish kebab (RMB110), with firm chunks of white fish grilled in Lebanese spice and served with brown rice.
Rather than explore the entire Med-sea in one sitting, give Adiva a try for its fare from the sea’s eastern shores and leave the rest to more able hands. It’ll be fine as long as you don’t mind sitting in a Sultan’s blue and gold fantasy.
Where: 2/F, 1333 Huaihai Zhong Lu 淮海中路1333号2楼 Tel: 3366-4616
My Review in Cityweekend of Mediterranean ‘meh’ restaurant, Adiva… full listing here