For an Italian osteria experience with a touch of Shanghai sophistication, Bambino is undoubtedly a top pick in the heart of the city.
It is an enviable hotspot dedicated to sharing the warmth and sharp flavors of Italian dishes made from quality locally sourced ingredients. Dimly lit, the venue itself has a modern wine bistro vibe to it: tight and alive, with a communal table on the first floor and a more intimate space to host 22 upstairs.
Bambino is the latest project of chef Lucky Lasagna, who joined forces with chef Michael Janczewski and Sebastien Dallee from the Juke team. If you ever tasted Lasagna's menu at Italo before, you will have been impressed by the genuine flavors of his food and cheerful personal of the chef, who's also a tattoo artist originally from Aprilla, just outside Rome.
Here, Bambino is a showcase of Lasagna's creative sensibilities and cheerful playfulness. The menu remains rooted in classic Italian dishes but with an unconventional, playful twist.
The menu is compact but will dazzle diners with exciting tastes from each plate. It begins with a selection of antipasti. Arancini is a classic, deep-fried Italian stuffed rice ball but here, the chef creatively changed the risotto filling to alphabet pasta, cooked in the style of cacio e pepe. A Roman traditional flavor inside a southern Italian antipasto – classic but unconventional. It's topped with palm ham and guindilla peppers to give an extra kick.
Another particular appetizer is artichoke, which features Jerusalem artichokes (starchy tubers like potatoes and turnips). The taste itself is nutty and sweet. When served with walnuts and bagna cauda (warm sauce of garlic and anchovies from Piedmont), it turned out to be a splendid dish.
Everyone loves Buffalo Mozzarella but gets tired of the typical tomato, basil and mozzarella combo served in most restaurants. Here the chef makes the classic mozzarella more enticing by mixing it with charred zucchini, snap pea, garden herbs and hazelnuts. The tasty mix of assertive herbs and nuts balance out the creamy cheese.
Moving on to pasta, Pasta di Nettuno is a go-to dish for those who crave seafood and pasta al dente. The kitchen uses the freshest market fish with fresh herbs, panure, lemon skin for this orecchiette pasta cooked al-dente. A taste of this dish would transport you straight to the seaside town of the southern Puglia region.
Trippa a la Romana is one of the best-loved recipes of Roman cuisine with ancient roots and you can find it here on the menu. The tender tripe is simmered low and slow in a savory tomato sauce served with house-made dried corn polenta and a generous coat of grated pecorino cheese. The flavor is more gentle compared to the ones served in Rome.
Each dish here was perceptible, formed with emphasis on flavor combinations, and Lucky Lasagna will frequently change and add new recipes according to his mood, the season and the ingredients.
Another notable concept here is the wine selection – all bottles are by women-only winemakers or owners, a sharp contrast to the rather masculine chef himself. The wines give a "feminine" touch to the overall experience.
Bambino is currently only open for dinners. Lunch menu will be launched in mid to late March.
If you go:
Opening hours: 5pm-10pm (closed on Mondays)
Average price: 300 yuan
Address: 600 Shaanxi Rd N.