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Review of Le Sheng restaurant in Shanghai

Delightful Shanghai Cuisine in a Becoming Atmosphere

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating

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Review of Le Sheng restaurant in Shanghai

Le Sheng's Anfu Road entrance, Shanghai

Photo courtesy of Le Sheng restaurant, Shanghai. All rights reserved.
Sometimes you want fast and furious Chinese food in a fast and furious environment. Sometimes you want that same delicious - authentic - food served in somewhat less manic surroundings. Marry classic Shanghai cuisine with a slow, fine dining atmosphere without ridiculous fine-dining prices and you've got a beautiful trifecta with Le Sheng.

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.

Dining Experience

Crab & pork xiao long bao.

Photo courtesy of Le Sheng restaurant, Shanghai. All rights reserved.

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

I've developed some favorite dishes but everything I've eaten at Le Sheng has been exquisite, right down to the typically dull bok choy. If you're planning a larger or more special party, you might pop into the restaurant a few days ahead. There are some dishes that require a 24-hour notice. If you're new to Shanghai cooking then here are some dishes I highly recommend (you'll probably find them all on the chef recommendation pages of the menu anyway.)
  • 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

Bottom Line

Gin & lychee cocktail at Le Sheng

Photo courtesy of Le Sheng restaurant, Shanghai. All rights reserved.
I recommend this restaurant for everyone, but especially for folks who
  • 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
While it is common in the travel industry for writers to be provided with free services, this review is based on the writer's experience at her own cost.

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