Glass dines out at 10 Shanghai in Hong Kong

REMINISCENT of the Golden Era opulence of the 1930s and ’40s, 10 Shanghai promises refined Huaiyang cuisine amongst a backdrop of smooth lines and undulating curves in a sumptuous palette of greens and blues – complete with songstresses, of course.

Interior, 10 ShanghaiThe beautiful interiors of 10 Shanghai

Led by Chef David Chen and Chef Ben Luen, the diner is taken on a journey through Huaiyang cuisine, one of the four classical culinary traditions of China. Chef Chen has been active in the culinary world of both Hong Kong and China for over two decades, working for famous restaurants as well as for government agencies, notably in charge of the banquets of the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing. Chef Luen from Yangzhou, with more than 30 years of experience preparing the cuisines of Huaiyang and Shanghai, has been the Executive Chef of 1957 and Co.’s highly popular restaurant Modern Shanghai since its inception.

Cocktail Zhao JunCocktail Zhao Jun

Not knowing what to choose from the seemingly never-ending list of dishes, I found myself plate watching, rather than people watching, in the hope of being inspired. As I am an avid eater and enjoy-er of all food, I decided I would go for a selection of appetisers rather than settle on one main course.  Always one for seafood, I opted for the sautéed prawns with scallions and crispy tea leaves, bean curd blossom with matsutake mushrooms and crab claw in chicken consommé, and perhaps Huaiyang cuisine’s most famous dish, Jiangsu style smoked fish. The fish and crab showcased a flavoursome balance between sweet and salty and the subtlety of the prawns was thoughtfully complimented by the aromatic tea leaves.

Crispy Pastry with Lobster & Silky TurnipCrispy Pastry with Lobster and Silky Turnip

Ready for more, I chatted with one of the friendly waiters who recommended the pan-fried xiao long bao, scallion oil noodles with abalone, crispy smoked chicken with tea leaves, and Dongpo’s pork pagoda with dried Shanghainese white cabbage, for my next dishes. Rich flavours were backed up by elegant presentation, leaving it hard to find any fault.

Mini Eight-Preciousness DuckMini Eight Preciousness Duck

Accompanying all this I had sliced crunchy cucumber and deep-fried baby yellow croaker with seaweed, adding some freshness and acidity to the meal after the richer flavours of the fish and meat – plus, it’s one of my five-a-day, right?

Chef David Chen and Chef Ben LuenChef David Chen and Chef Ben Luen

As the songstresses reach the end of their set, I am jolted back into my food-filled reality. Questioning whether I could possibly eat anymore while staring at the leftovers of my fabulous feast, I couldn’t help but wonder – will I ever learn that my eyes are bigger than my belly?

Would I recommend attempting 10 appetisers by yourself? Definitely not. Would I recommend 10 Shanghai? Without a doubt.

by Alicia Pountney

10 Shanghai

Shop 101, Lee Garden Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong