The original acronym is lost on most of the diners, but what KABB stands for these days is consistent, quality Western food in a stylish but unpretentious space. And unlike some of Xintiandi’s other venues, KABB succeeds by charging prices that seem in line with what you get: good food served in large portions. And there aren’t many places in town that do the up-market/laidback crossover better than this.
The restaurant has a grown-up feel, bustling, low-lit, and casually sophisticated. The service is excellent, although the place feels a little too packed – they’ve squeezed in a few more tables than the space allows.
If you’re thinking about an appetizer and a main, make sure you skip lunch. The starter of roasted brie with mango chutney and pita chips would be a meal in itself for some. Ribs were meaty and succulent, with a tangy sauce that tasted a tad too orangey. The KABB chicken burrito was simply enormous, but with a good balance of ingredients and a dash of chili. And chicken feta pasta with sun-dried tomatoes was again very generous, with huge chunks of feta vying for plate space with fat strips of chicken breast.
The classy vibe was momentarily butchered by Nickelback rasping incongruously over the speaker system; and paper napkins lent a cheap air to a place that otherwise seemed very polished. Overall, though, this is one of Xintiandi’s, if not Shanghai’s, standbys.