March 21, 2006


41 Kingsland High Street

It's worth going to Shanghai just for the building. Possibly the only Chinese restaurant to occupy an astounding old pie-and-mash shop - and what a shop, maybe the best-decorated one I've ever seen. Amazing art deco tilework, beautiful huge mirrors all along one wall, with bevelled edges held in with ornamental brass clips, classic banquettes, fantastic lights and bar. It really seems not to have changed one bit - yet there are those glazed roast birds hanging in the window, and inside the tables hold chopsticks and soy sauce, not ketchup. It really needs to be seen to be believed, escaping off the busy Kinsgland High Street into its time-warp on a Saturday lunchtime.

I'd never eaten there before and to be honest didn't hold high hopes for the food, but actually it was surprisingly good. If I went again (and wasn't needing to eat fast and fillingly in preparation for going to the football) I would just eat dim sum. The few we had for appetisers were really very good indeed - silken steamed dumplings with delicious flavoured pastry (spinach and the like) and truly tasty fillings of prawn, scallop and minced vegetable. The boy had the dubiously named 'Shanghai Vice' beef which was actually pretty good too, spicy and flavoursome. The only slight disappointment was my roast duck (something of a traditional choice for me) which was average but no better. Our accompanying pak choi was also very tasty, fresh and with a good bite.

Maybe not somewhere to take a date expecting a fancy meal, but definitely somewhere to take a date who appreciates eccentricity and the hidden gems of London. I will certainly be back.


Blogger Chimney said...

Have tried this nice restaurant recently, found out it great.
But my favourite cuisine now has changed from chinese to vietnamese recently after my experience at a restaurant called Cay Tre - The Vietnamese Kitchen in 301 Old Street. Their cuisine are much better than chinese as it offers less percentage of fat, less msg, more freshness and flavours.
This restaurant has a second branch named Viet Grill - The Vietnamese Kitchen on 58 Kingsland Road. This is a fabolous grill bistro.
My advice, check them out.

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