Shanghai, the world’s biggest city and a figurehead for the super-powered development of China. Re-invention, re-genesis, development, all by-words for the city, and indeed Asia as a whole. So it’s a pleasant surprise to find a restaurant in this megalopolis which has eschewed the futuristic for something with period charm.
MATTO looks nothing like the mall pizzeria you’d expect. Taking it’s name from the Italian word for crazy, the place in the sub-city of Pudong is actually remarkably refined. The tartan seating is a bit out there, granted, but the rest of the eclectic design – courtesy of Pure Creative International‘s Darryl Goveas – has a touch of classy restraint so often lacking in faux-Western eateries in Asia.
Clad in wood, the main area has something of the frontier town about it. Vintage effect wall lighting contributes to the old-time charm, while overhead, Victorian cornices disguise the air-con housings. Move down the saloon-style bar and you arrive at the hidden gem of Matto, the enormous steel pizza oven. Perhaps most importantly for a pizzeria, it turns out Shanghai’s best pizza: according to this year’s Shanghai Food and Drink Awards. Make mine a pepperoni.