If you don’t live near Caochangdi, the trip out there can seem a long one, only worth it if there’s a good show on. So next time you fancy an outing to the district’s galleries, why not make a day of it by popping into Wine Talk?
This mammoth-sized restaurant has been squatting on Caochangdi’s outskirts for over four years now, but at the risk of sounding like Michael Caine, ‘not a lot of people know that.’ Since it gets relatively few visitors, its spacious surrounds – including a large, impeccably manicured lawn and decking with tables, chairs and sunshades set against an ivy-clad wall – are the perfect spot for a summer nightcap. When Time Out visited, the waitresses took a bit of persuading to let us sit outside – apparently, the ‘dogs’ might disturb us – but eventually we were allowed to see the sun set in the open air, and the only canines that we spot were inoffensive little fluff balls frolicking with their owner in close attendance.
The whole effect makes us feel like we’re drinking in Europe. The French-inspired food here is expensive, but the wine list is extensive, with bottles starting from 98RMB. Reds are particularly well represented, but we opt instead for a Chilean chardonnay and are pleased when it arrives well chilled and served in a wine bucket. This straw-coloured Montgras Reserva 2007 (295RMB) is a little tart to start but soon mellows off after airing. There’s no wine served by the glass, but you’ll want to while away the evening here among friends. Gabrielle Jaffe