Le Sheng (乐笙) Concept
Le Sheng was opened by Shanghai's celebrity chef, Greek-Aussie David Laris. Laris has had many successful ventures throughout the city - mostly focusing on either Australian or Greek cuisine, so this is his first "local" venture and to my taste, the best.
Laris teamed with a Chinese chef named Fang Chao. They do modernized versions of Shanghai favorites (xiao long bao, drunken chicken and smoked fish) as well as some new creations. The team put together a menu that both locals and visitors to China will enjoy.
Booking is a must because of the small size of the restaurant. I don't mind this at all and I do hope that Mr. Laris keeps the restaurant small because the intimate environment adds to the overall pleasure of the experience. (Further, I hope that the success of this venture doesn't inspire Mr. Laris to open a Le Sheng outlet all over the city - something that seems to happen with every successful restaurant.)
Start with a look at the drinks menu. The choices are many but they've done something quite unusual by putting together some interesting Chinese-inspired cocktails like the lychee gin martini as well as some infused baijiu drinks.
The food menu is extensive but they've cleverly put the most popular dishes up front so that if you feel overwhelmed, you can just choose the most popular (they're popular for a reason). And if you're really stuck, ask for the iPad to view photos of the dishes. While the dishes are still served "family style" in the traditional Chinese manner. The plating and presentation looks like it comes out of New York rather than a typical Chinese kitchen. Servings are just right for 4 people to share - although you can order some dishes in smaller portions.
Staff are very attentive but not intrusive. My first visit to Le Sheng was with a friend in from the UK. She was craving mapodofu. While it's not on the menu, we were there late, the chef obviously wasn't too busy and the helpful waitress went to ask if he could whip some up for my friend. He could, and it was a delicious Sichuan addition to our Shanghai meal.
What to Order at Le Sheng
- smoked fish
- long gang chicken
- dong po pork
- fried shrimps with salt & pepper
- crab & pork xiao long bao
- shredded chicken, ham and bamboo in broth
- eggplant fillet with mince pork
- may be visiting China for the first time and want authentic food in a Westernized setting
- live in Shanghai and are entertaining guests from out of town
- love Shanghainese food and want to try some modern takes on traditional classics
- like dining in a quiet, tasteful atmosphere
- enjoy dining in a small restaurant in a quiet neighborhood.
If you're on a tight budget or like very loud, brightly lit, noisy Chinese establishments, then this restaurant probably isn't for you.
Address & Booking Details:
- Address: 308 Anfu Road (安福路308号近武康路)
- Telephone: 0086 21 54046 6011