It’s long been known that the best pizza in Hangzhou is made by an Italian named Stefano who used to work in a restaurant on the east side of town. Great pizza, but the location was a bit out of the way. Now Stefano and his wife Luna have taken over Mislead bar on Baochu road where Xixi road ends, bringing authentic rustic Italian food to the heart of Hangzhou.
Mislead also offers a full service bar with single malt whiskeys, cocktails (35-135RMB) and imported beers including Maredsous Tripel 10, Franziskaner, Vedett, Guinness, Duvel and Corona (20-60RMB). Luna has been a mainstay in the Hangzhou bar scene for many years as a bar manager, and now that they have their own establishment they are free to create their own special atmosphere. Mislead is a place that welcomes people of all cultures, ages and orientation; a place where people can hang out, meet new people and feel at home.
Luna is also a designer/jewellery maker and her artistic flair is reflected in Mislead’s décor, which is an eclectic mix of vintage furniture, art-house movie posters and bohemian decorations. A focal point at Mislead is an old pool table that Luna repurposed into a sturdy family style dining table placed in front of the open kitchen. It’s the perfect place to gather around and eagerly anticipate the forthcoming Italian feast while you sip red wine and watch Stefano cook.
The menu will change depending on what ingredients are fresh that day. A good way to start is with an antipasto – a luscious plate that can include parma ham, Calabrese salami, pancetta, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, etc. (85RMB for small portion-280RMB for 6 person portion).
The pizzas (78-98RMB) were of course the main act. Hand tossed and covered with mushrooms, bresaola, arugula and parmesan for a meat version and mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, roasted sweet peppers, rosemary roasted potatoes and arugula for a vegetarian version. When the pizzas were brought to the table, they were greeted with a chorus of oohs and aahs. They were a thing of beauty – thin crispy crust, blistered on the outside, soft and bread-like inside. The heat from the pizza wafted upwards spreading the peppery fragrance of the arugula through the room. Everyone quickly grabbed a slice. My dinner companion took a bite, closed her eyes and swooned. She declared this the best pizza she has eaten in her life.
Then Stefano followed up with a fun creation of his own called Da Niao, a kind of filled pizza roll. With the pizza dough rolled up, you get a thick bite of pillow-like bread bursting with mushrooms, cheese and ham.
We still had room for pasta so out came the pasta machine and pasta was rolled, cut and whipped into a delicious Tagliatelle Amatriciana. The pancetta (Italian bacon) infused the sauce with a savoury meatiness, the cherry tomatoes were light and sweet as candy, and the chilli pepper added just a touch of heat. For the finale, we were offered limoncello and grappa. La vita e bella!
A meal of this type will cost around 150-200RMB per person, depending on the ingredients used and the amount of wine drunk. You can also order pizzas for takeaway or even have a taxi come pick up the pizza and deliver it to you. Mislead is open from 6:30pm-2am with the kitchen open until midnight. They are closed on Mondays.
Photos by Giuseppe Tuchun