Let's say it clearly, the key draw of Carbon lies in its location: it’s a beautiful and spacious two-story restaurant with bars and terrace situated in front of the legendary Broken Bridge. There isn’t any better place to enjoy a meal or an apéritif on West Lake. You will be served by a pleasant staff speaking Chinese, English and French offering fusion cuisine with a French undertone. Their Rosemary Baked Chicken is excellent and well garnished for 128RMB. The menu offers nice cuts of meat as well, including lamb chops. If you’re not up for a meal, they’ve got snacks and other starters perfect for sharing with friends around a well-made drink. You will also find a selection of good affordable wines from France, imported beers and the traditional Ricard for 25RMB!!!
The decoration of the place is extraordinary, reminiscent of an old style French restaurant with its seating, ornaments and other vintage trinkets, its suspended vine plants around the main room, a massive bar shaped out of a single piece of wood, and a wide bay window with a spectacular view of the lake. Going up to the second floor, you can find another bar, admire the melancholic wall paintings evoking ancient China with its temples and dragons and, from there, step onto a huge wooden terrace under the trees – allowing you to appreciate the sight from on high. As Gérard Depardieu said in the epic movie from the 70's Les Valseuses: "On n'est pas bien là?" (Don't we feel good here?).
As you take in the view, why not try some of the dishes we enjoyed like the classic Parma Ham with Melon and the Baked Tuna Potato Gratin (both 68RMB). The gratin is succulent and loaded up for cheese lovers. The Baked Snails (46RMB) and the Fried Pan Goose Liver Toasts (88RMB) are also perfect as starters. Their fusion Tartines (58 to 78RMB) are great for a quick lunch, and they’ve also got a nice Mushroom Risotto if you are in need of a rice fix (38RMB).
There’s one slight downside to the place: it's a bit hard to park (Try the small parking lot nearby on Baochu road). All considered, Carbon is a wonderful place to discover, and it’s got potential. Go there even if only for a coffee, a nice fresh orange juice or one of their famous homemade lemonade drink!