Restauranteurs are needing to get more and more innovative to pull crowds nowadays because while this is a town that enjoys its eating out, you’re not guaranteed steady customers unless you’ve got something special. Ever on the prowl for new and creative places to check, we set out for Home Goods (not a very culinary name to be sure). It’s not easy to find, and one in our party who arrived late and alone was even a bit nervous at having to walk through this sketchy street, but there’s a reason for its back-alley location. Home Goods is housed in an old factory building that they’ve renovated by splashing a few coats of white paint on the rough, brick walls. The arched high ceilings, bare concrete floors and wide, open space are really something unique. Add to this the antique furniture you get to sit on and at and it’s even more interesting.
Now, we’d heard tell that this was an Italian restaurant, but there are only two such dishes to be had on the menu, which travels the world over with names, such as North Pole, Here is Milan, Australian Trip, Hungarian Club Steak and Mexico Tilapia. Prices range from 58 to 88RMB. The menu describes these as “Set Menus”, but in reality they are just entrees. There are no appetizers or salads, so we really don’t know what advice to give to you big eaters out there. The dishes were beautifully presented; unfortunately, that’s about as good as they got. A little tip: Skip the front pages and head straight for the cheaper items that will run you around 18 kuai.
To be fair, the menu is paper, which may mean that this is just a little market research on the chef’s part. We hope Home Goods doesn’t suffer the fate of many restaurants whose menus are far too broad, because the space is just fabulous. But let’s get off the food and focus on the potential draw. There’s showroom of truly great antique-y furniture in the back. The pieces are, of course, a tad bit ‘spensive, but there are some smaller items on display that even a miser might splurge on, like funky statues, wooden and porcelain dinnerware, tea sets and other knick-knacky things. You’ve gotta check this place out because it really was a choice find, but heed our advice, stick to coffee. Partial English menu available.