For readers who missed the recent craft beer festival in Dongcheng, there is another reason to visit the newly renovated industrial area known as HERE! Square. Located in 33 Town, near Dynacity, the rear of the square has a new contender for gourmet dining. Uptown 26 has been steadily developing its menu in recent months and I must admit I had been anticipating sampling their cuisine since originally catching wind of the place. The restaurant interior has a spacious open-plan design with a comforting ambiance and viewing access into a vast immaculate kitchen. I was immediately greeted by the owner, Stefanie Rao, who proceeded to help me navigate the wine menu.
After consideration, I opted for a robust Chilean red, while my partner chose a milder Italian Chianti. I was then personally greeted by the head chef, Enzo, a native Italian with over 15 years of culinary experience in China. Perusing their food menu, I prompted Enzo for suggestions to which he recommended the Caprese salad with wafer-thin beef to compliment the burrata, accompanied by Iberian chorizo bruschetta. The salad was presented magnificently and made for an appropriate taste contrast to the zingy chorizo. On to the mains, coletta alla milanese (veal schnitzel) was my eventual choice along with a portion of chili tagliatelle and Argentinian king prawns. Under advice, I switched my wine to Malbec, a renowned Argentine red that Stefanie mentioned she had been saving, which turned out to indeed have fruitier notes that suited the food better.
The meal was rounded off by classic tiramisu and a rich strawberry dessert. Added to this was a nightcap of a vanilla coffee liqueur that was the proverbial icing on the cake. After the meal, I proceeded to chat with Stefanie further about the restaurant’s progress and how she planned to stay competitive with so many other long-established restaurants in Dongcheng. “We specifically chose this location because we believe 33 Town is the next up and coming area of the city,” she said. She went on to add that many of the currently vacant units in the square had recently been acquired for further development. My only real concern was about the difficulty of parking in the area, to which Stefanie informed me that the local administration had initiated the allocation of all surrounding spaces to be for 33 Town visitors exclusively. For those that don’t drive, a short taxi ride from Dongcheng Metro Station will suffice and put you in one of the newest little hotspots in Dongguan. Prime time to head uptown!
Address: 1/F, Bldg 25, Guangdong 33 Town, No.33, Dongsheng Rd, Dongcheng