The renovated Shanghai Concert Hall is not only a place to enjoy music, it is also the location of Club Shanghai,a French restaurant that has both delicate food and a classy ambience.
Despite its narrow storefront entrance, Club Shanghai has a surprisingly spacious and glamorous fourth-floor location. The French-cuisine restaurant and live-music ballroom have only just opened after the historic concert hall was horizontally relocated on Yan'an Road, moving about 70 metres from its original site.
More than a dining place, Club Shanghai is an exquisite recreation spot that reminds diners of the typical old Shanghai images presented on the screen. Its poetic Chinese name "Yang Yue Hui" (literally: rippling of music) adds to its impressive attraction.
The interior of Club Shanghai is decorated in a refined 17th century French style.The venue comprises a restaurant, a ballroom with a grand dance floor that resembles the Paramount, a bar-lounge and a private dining room, each providing a sumptuous and nostalgic ambience.
During my recent visit to Club Shanghai,Michelin star-rated French chef Henri Charvet had been invited by the restaurant to offer dining consultancy. I thus had the opportunity to appreciate a set of dishes he brought for demonstration purposes and also to try another four dishes cooked by the chefs from Club Shanghai.
What first arrived on my table was a dish named crabs with citrus juice, beetroot puree perfumed with olive oil, which was presented splendidly. The crab meat and citrus juice had been mixed into a white-coloured salad ball, topping the redmushed beetroot puree on the plate. The salad tasted mildly salty and sour due to the juiceand smelled delicious. The beetroot puree had first been cooked for hours, then mixed with broth and beaten into mush. The final process was to blend the puree mush with olive oil, retaining the natural nourishment inside the vegetable without making the dish at all greasy. The red puree tasted quite sweet, like a special kind of sauce, making a good accompaniment for the salad.
The entree was goose liver served in two ways, that is, separately sauced with red and white wines. The portions were surprisingly generous,containing at least six pieces of tender goose liver. This made me feel especially apologetic to the geese since I was unable to finish them all. The goose livers sauced with red wine had a strong flavour, with a hint of bitterness,while the others were more aromatic, with a mild and a delectable flavour-my dinner companions and I preferred it.
We selected pan-fired sea bass cooked with black olive oil and vegetables in Provencal style as a main course. The pan-fried fillets were thick, tender and delicate, with the skin being remarkably savoury and crisp. Two mixtures of vegetables from the south of France were served along with the fillets. The ingredients included melons, onions, chili, tomatoes and eggplant, first cooked separately and later combined together. The taste was distinctive, slightly spicy with multiple seasonings.
Dessert is always my favourite course, but on this occasion the dark chocolate fondant cake was eventually somewhat disappointing. Although the presentation was refined, it was too sweet for a Chinese stomach like mine.
Location: 4F, Door 7, Shanghai Concert Hall, 523 Yan'an Road(near Central Jinling Road and Central Xizang Road)
Tel: 021-53839989 (for reservation)/021-53837077(for function)