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Upscale twist

By Mike Peters ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-07-26 07:35:36

Upscale twist

Mixed codfish with sea urchin sauce (top) is a seafood fantasy. Photos Provided to China Daily

The Tiago restaurant team takes its brand of Italian to a new level with Casa Talia, Mike Peters finds.

Fans of the casual, mid-priced restaurant Tiago in Beijing's Indigo mall could be forgiven for flinching a little when they heard the popular eatery was opening a fancier sister outlet. Or maybe I was the only one who worried that success had gone to owner Katie Li's head.

A visit to the new Raffles City spot quickly relieves any such fears. The hip, open-air space is flooded with natural light, and diners can enjoy a casual meal while watching the baristas and kitchen team ply their arts.

Casa Talia is in part a celebration of the small chain's embrace of Corrado Michelazzo, now culinary director for both of the Tiago group's brands.

"He will come to the restaurant every month to make new dishes, do training and a Chef Day with a special menu each time," says Li.

With multiple stints in Michelin-starred restaurants in France, Michelazzo scooped up his own Michelin star in 2003 for his work at the tiny Le Petit restaurant at Hotel Bellevue in Corso, Italy. He has been in China since 2009 and has run the restaurant kitchen 10 Corso Como in Shanghai since 2013.

"My roots are of course in Italy," he says at a tasting during Casa Talia's recent soft opening. "I decided to be a chef when I was 9 years old."

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