“I want to stay and enjoy all the delicious food you had prepared for me.” These words of a friend inspired Chen Chen to start her restaurant that is situated on Kaiyuan Road, just a 5 minute northwest walk from the Ding’an metro station. J’s Magnet offers the comforts of a restaurant, the convenience of a café, and the requisite privacy and space needed for an art gallery. Parking is available on adjacent and surrounding streets. The main parlor affords the familiarities of a living room – that is if your living room has a full bar offering two for one on imported beer! Moss integrates the ceiling and overhangs beautiful wooden floors, cascading the staircase and spilling out onto the second floor loft, eschewing one from the feelings of nature below and keeping them in the modern minimalism composed of concrete and steel of the second floor gallery. The ample space allows for events once a month, typically featuring art students, but anyone may inquire about wall space.
Down below, soft jazz plays while a very large framed menu is placed on the table: it boasts predominately Western food and some Chinese cuisine comforts. Unfortunately, as of now, the menu is only in Chinese, but they are working on an English version. We were treated to an appetizer of succulent Breadcrumb-battered Chicken Fingers (38RMB) spiced with a local flair. A well-designed salad with crunchy bacon slices and black sesame crouton pillars topped a verdant Ceasar Salad – their dressing is made in-house and is spot on (45RMB). Over a third of a kilogram of Angus Steak (298RMB) and a very large competing half-rack of Pork Ribs (138RMB) were necessarily brought to us on large wooden cutting boards. The steak was seasoned well and escorted by enough gravy sauce on the side to drown in. However, we were more impressed by the sweet, tangy and crispy-skinned roasted pork.
The Black Squid Ink Italian Pasta, graced with a thick Alfredo sauce accompanied by onion, mushroom and bacon slices, is the best bargain for quality on the menu at 68RMB. The most intriguing dish of the evening was the Seafood Smothered Egg Fried Rice, which had a sweet overtone and spicy kick – a clear fusion of east and west in one unique dish for only 78RMB. From the full bar we sampled their Mojito (68RMB) but were more impressed by their juices. A zesty Strawberry Italian soda and a mysterious Golden Orange Blackcurrant juice for 38RMB each stole our attention. The service was great, as we had the full attention of Chen Chen, and we were especially happy that the food came out in the order it was supposed to. We most definitely will be returning for the salad, beer and juices.