Cheng Cheng Art Salon

25 Dec

For our Christmas Day lunch, we’d booked at a slightly more upmarket place than we would normally eat, but it was still Chinese, and meant to be quite good. I also loved the sound of the fact diners eat in what feels like a mini art gallery, with art everywhere. Through bright blue doors with multi-coloured glass squares we walked into Cheng Cheng’s Art Salon, with huge art canvases on the walls, old Shanghainese posters stuck up, vintage gramophones and wireless radios. The table and chairs in the front window were the very old and traditional tall wooden chairs, and I felt like we could have been in an art salon in France, especially having just walked through Shanghai’s French Concession area to get here.

All in all, you feel like you’re stepping into a ramshackle, mismatched, character-filled room. The menu offers traditional Shanghainese staple cuisine. From the sweet and sour whole yellow croaker fish to the red cooked pork with apples and dates, to the minced sticky eel, we oohed and ahhed over different dishes and how delicious they were. The chicken with cashews turned out to be chicken with peanuts, therefore just another version of gungbao ji ding.

 

Having being used to Beijing food, with lots of oil and spices, having sweet and sour Shanghainese food was a welcome change, although it is more the type of food you’d see in an Australian Chinese restaurant. Only two out of a table of 10 of us liked the hot yellow wine, served in a large teapot. We downed the pot in almost no time, surprising ourselves at how warm and red-cheeked we became from such small glasses of it.

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