Shanghai Tang Cafe
2F/3F, 333 Huangpi Nan Lu
One of my favourite Chinese stores opens up a restaurant.. in all their namesake colours. Now, how could I not resist?! ;)
Shanghai Tang is a brand with stores in various locations around the world. They sell beautiful silk and cashmere clothing, supple leather bags, and artistic enamel jewellery. All for an exorbitant price because it’s catered for the foreign market (though it’s made for about 1/50th the price here in China). I know their prices are absurd, but I still love their products and especially the store’s interior – all luxe in bold fuschias, lime greens and bright blues, matched with black.
Recently, they opened their new restaurant in Shanghai and we finally made a trip there on a double-date with some friends. Located on the 2nd floor and accessed by elevator, you step out and you’re immediately taken into a world of luxe. Black glossy walls with back-lit colourful features, glass windows shrouded with black and lime green curtains, lacquered black table and chairs and a stunning explosion of colourful tableware. The colours are intense and look fantastic against the black. It’s all very nouveau-Chinese and you either think its tacky, or appreciate it. I love it!
We eagerly order our dishes and then proceed to be stunned by how small the portions are. Considering the prices, I was shocked at the small scatter of food on each dish. It appeared as if each morsel of food was carefully counted as they were placed on the serving plate. Oddly, the food also came one-by-one. When we were almost finished with 1 dish, the next one would arrive. The dishes should have ALL come out at the same time. Between the tiny servings and prolonged one-by-one delivery of food, I was left pretty angsty and miffed, because I knew we were paying through the nose. They need to rectify this asap or customers just won’t come back.
We started off with the Foie Gras with hawthorn jelly, served with hawthorn sorbet, which was a little bit foie gras, sandwiched between the tart jelly and served on 5 spoons. I found the tart jelly a little overpowering, it could have done with half the amount so that the foie gras flavour would be more pronounced. I would label it an “amuse bouche” and not an “appetizer”.
The Sweet and sour pork with pineapple and rose apple arrived and it was a small scatter of pork encased in batter. There was so little that we had to count them as we shared the dish. The pork bits was so tiny I didn’t taste much pork, just the batter. The sauce, however, was smooth and a lovely mix of sweet and sour. It went well with the (tiny tiny) bowls of white rice.
Crispy duck skin served with condiments was outstandingly done. Very crisp and flavourful, and the little crepes that were served with it were fantastic! Soft and warm, they enveloped the duck skin and various condiments and sauces and was a very satisfying dish. However, the menu said it was “a whole duck”, which is clearly not the case. I know how much crispy duck skin a whole duck has, and this was perhaps the amount of a small duckling. A bit misleading…
My favourite dish was the Sauteed duck meat with Chinese truffle and mushrooms which was a DIY dish. We had fun stuffing our little cones and lettuce cups with the ingredients and it was tasty but not too salty, and it made for great comfort food. Very good :)
One thing that really impressed me were their drinks, which were all excellent and beautifully presented – though they did forget our order until 30 mins later when we reminded them. My Mango martini was luscious, one of the best martinis I’ve ever had. It basically tasted like a creamy mango juice :) With a kick!
Shanghai Tang is clearly overpriced for what you get. Assume 1 person will need to order 3 dishes (or “portions”, as it says on the menu) in order to be full. The food is good, but the underlying NEED-TO-GET-MONEY-SO-MUST-HEAVILY-OVERPRICE-PORTIONS vibe is a little mistifying. To be frank, all they need to do is be more generous in the portion sizes and they would instantly have a full 5-stars.
We ended up at Haagen Daaz afterwards to fill ourselves up ;)
Shanghai Tang Cafe
The gorgeous, luxe interior
Vibrant table setting
Foie Gras with hawthorn jelly, served with hawthorn sorbet
Sweet and sour pork with pineapple and rose apple
Crispy duck skin…..
….served with condiments
Making our own little peking duck pancakes
Sauteed duck meat with Chinese truffle and mushrooms
All stuffed in the little pastry shell
The ‘bigger, better’ way to do it – it makes for more stuffage, LOL
Stir fried french beans with pressed tofu and minced meat
Our fabulous cocktails!
At Haagen Daaz for dessert – Brownie with ice cream
Well fed :)