Earth Light is a trendy new restaurant on the east side of the city, on Zhijiang Road in Hangzhou’s CBD. The restaurant’s decor may seem familiar to some observant Hangzhou diners since it was designed by the same interior designer, Bobo, who created the look of upscale dumpling restaurant Shi Ke and ABC Café in Binjiang. Bobo’s trademark sleek, artsy and modern style manifests here at Earth Light in wall light features that glow and undulate, exposed industrial piping, table tops inlaid with sheets of copper and natural wood flooring.
The food is international, with an emphasis on Mediterranean and Asian cooking. At lunch, they have set menus to quickly serve the surrounding office workers that come with a soup of the day and a plate of fruit. In the 58RMB category, you can pick from dishes such as Japanese Chicken Cutlet with Rice or Vietnam Beef Stew and Rice. In the higher 88RMB category, you have more deluxe items like Thai Curry Seafood with Rice or Beef Burger. They also take care of vegetarians with a 48RMB lunch set where you find dishes like Basil Spaghetti and Tomato or Curry Vegetables.
The à la carte dinner menu can also be ordered from during lunch hours. From the menu, we were delighted with the Shrimp Salad with Sweet & Sour Sauce (58RMB) and Fried Cod Fish with Lemon Olive Juice (138RMB). The sweet salad dressing on the shrimp salad was well balanced with a hint of chili and the large curls of shrimps were cooked and seasoned just right. The cereal crusted cod fish was perfectly flaky and the buttery sautéed spinach and artichokes that accompanied it were delectable. A garnish of acidic tomatoes and olives punctuated the mellow flavours with a bright accent.
One thing to mention is that the pizzas here are aptly named “crackers”, although in Chinese it reads pizza. The crust really does resemble a cracker and if you order one with that in mind then you will be fine.
There’s a full bar with fine whiskeys and skilled bartenders and soft vocal music playing at a level conducive to conversations.
One final note is that the servers here are better than the Hangzhou average. They were proactive, attentive and alert. They didn’t stand around uncomfortably and were anticipating your needs and ready to help before you knew it yourself.