Article By James Morrow
Yannan 3rd Road and Furong West Road Cross Northeast Corner
(029) 8912 0909
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 208RMB
Restaurants in Xi’an, while they can be quite good, are often lacking a certain feeling, which can be difficult to pin down. While the food, service and general quality may vary, there is a sameness to each place, as many places set up shop in malls or the first floor of residential buildings. While this is understandable, real estate is always at a premium in Xi’an, this leads to most restaurants lacking the visual openness that a standalone building provides.
This is what makes Moon such a unique place. Located in a park between Yannan 2nd Road and Yannan 3rd Road, this restaurant features and extensive garden, with just a slight wall of hedges to separate their area from the rest of the park. While private rooms and a general dining area are available (all with rather plush looking furniture), the garden area is absolutely superlative. Tables and chairs are situated directly on the lawn, and a service station had been set up near the entrance for quick and ready service. With nothing above you but a few tree branches and open sky, this is a dining room like none that we had seen before in Xi’an. Families were eating while their kids played on lawn, all in a green and serene environment. You would be forgiven if you thought for a moment that you were somewhere else entirely.
With the environment being so nice, you’d almost think that it would be impossible for the food to match the same quality. Honestly, we had expected to be faced with the same mediocre Western food that you find at many such restaurants in Xi’an. We had never been so happy to be wrong. The food was absolutely brilliant.
Dinner started with a salad that easily could have served as a meal for one, topped with a plethora of ingredients, including three massive prawns, shelled, de-veined and ready to eat. It was very fresh and light, with just a touch of heat from the chili sauce added to the prawns. It was fortunate that it was light, because there was more to come.
The next course was a duo of soups, one for each person. The cream of mushroom soup had a rich, deep earthy flavor that was complimented by the crunch of a dried mushroom and a froth of cream laid across the top. The pumpkin soup was light and fresh, not having the usual cloying sweetness that you find with some other soups.
Following this the main course arrived, a 600g ribeye steak. Imported from Australia, the steaks at Moon are wet aged before being cooked and finished tableside. When your steak arrives, your waiter will douse it with a bit of brandy, setting it alight and adding a slight sweet char to the outside of the meat, while also providing you with quite the fire show, especially if the sun has already set. Most importantly for the steak, it was cooked just as I had asked for, on the rare side of medium rare. After carving the steak into slightly more manageable piece the waiter will place the steak on your table and leave you to it. They offered a side of black pepper sauce, but we didn’t require it, and it was not necessary. The meat was tender, well-seasoned, and juicy. Exactly what you might want in a steak. Paired with the wine that they provided, it was easily the best part of the meal.
They must have thought that we were still hungry (we weren’t at this point, but we also didn’t say no), because not long after the steak, they brought out one of their specialty pizzas; a beef, ruccola, and cumin pizza topped with a house-made chili oil. Normally, creatively topped pizzas will often miss their mark, as the flavors do not easily meld together, but somehow, this worked. Foregoing a tomato sauce, the pizza was reminiscent of a 孜然牛肉夹馍, but with cheese. It was good, if a bit dry. That also might be because it followed that steak.
The meal finished up with a special dessert, a delicate cream pastry that came in two different shapes, one that looked like an orange, another that looked like a white peach. True to the attention to detail that we had seen up to this point, each was filled with a compote made of their respective fruits. Served on a plate with powdered sugar forming the shape of a full moon, it was a wonderful finish to the evening, paired with a coffee of your choice.
The only drawback to the entire experience would possible be the price. This is not a cheap restaurant, but this is a situation in which you will receive more than you would expect, and the unparalleled environment and overall attention to detail sets this restaurant apart. Perfect for a special occasion or gathering, this restaurant may very well become a regular spot for those looking for a high-class dining experience in the outdoors, without having to leave the city.
If you give this a try, let us know about your experience by messaging us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
James is currently living in Xi’an and loving it, from the food to the people.