It had been a year or more since I visited Amigo. I’ve been laying low given my pathological aversion to Salsa Night and any other ballroom-based dancing but like historical Ulaanbaatar the (dancing) hordes have moved to a new encampment and those of us who prefer drink over dance have an opportunity to resettle at Amigo’s lofty position near the top of Yugu Road and I say we stake our claim.
I arrived at lunchtime to dine in their skylit downstairs room and realized—re-realized, really—how perfect Amigo’s location, lighting, and space is for day-drinking. The top of Yugu (just before it changes to Lingyin Road) is an amazing place to walk, full of parks and gardens; lunch and drinks at Amigo followed by an afternoon stroll to West Lake is a great way to spend any afternoon.
We started simple with Creamy Mushroom Soup (法式松露蘑菇汤, 35RMB). This was satisfying, one of those staples, but a normie food that many places still get wrong so I’m always iffy on getting it. At Amigo though They Do It Right. More places should check this box.
Chicken and Mango Salad with Rocket and Almonds (香芒鸡肉沙拉, 68RMB) was also good, a light but filling salad for the nice weather months coming soon.
We moved on to some weirder stuff. Often it’s hard to differentiate between restaurants/bars with an American-style menu, so nuances are found among common items: “the caesar is like this, the steak is like this”. Other times they bring in a vat of cheese dip alongside a burger (Cheese Waterfall Burger, 雅谷芝士瀑布汉堡 98RMB) and those equivalencies melt away in a bath of molten gold.
You could pour it over the bun like we did or you could dip it but it won’t look as cool.
Cheese sauce—CHEDDAR cheese sauce—is a rarity in Hangzhou and this is a novelty worth exploring. Think of it an an extra-cheesy burger, or better just remember you’re getting CHEESE DIP and where that exists above Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
A little more traditional but still CHEESY SAUCY was the Stuffed Chicken Breast (酿鸡胸, 88RMB), an alternative to the bun’d burger and fries if you’re watching your carbs that will still make you feel completely guilty (in the happy and satisfied sense of the word). The chicken was tender and moist and a stab with the knife brought a delicious flow of cheese and ham from within.
We ordered pizza, obviously. This was great! Any pizza that doesn’t suffer from excessive grease and the resulting floppy droopy tips when you take a piece has its foot in the door to my heart, and a topping game like Amigo has kicks it open. Ours was the American Fried Chicken Pizza (美式炸鸡披萨, 88RMB) which had the comfort food creamy crunch of a fried chicken sandwich.
The drinks: beyond a wide menu of regular cocktails running from 45RMB-75RMB, Amigo’s foreign manager Jack knows what to do with his gin! I tried the Ginger Gin Tonic (青苹生姜金汤力, 68RMB) and the Botanist Gin Tonic (艾莱花园金汤力, 78RMB), both of them were crisp and garnished with a knowledge of what to do with gins more interesting than Gordon’s and Bombay Sapphire. The ginger was Beefeater stacked with apple slices and had a delicate fruitiness without being sweet, the Botanist was prepared with orange peel and rosemary.
Even better though, Jack’s been experimenting with gin infusions. Try the Gin Seng Gin Tonic (人参金汤力, 118RMB) for a delicious something that you won’t find in most places. It’s also great for stamina!