Meal 4 (an unlucky number in Chinese): House of Horrors. We went to Fu 1088 – considered one of the most exclusive and best restaurants in Shanghai. Set in a 1930s villa, once owned by the son of some Shanghainese bigwig. And when they said exclusive, they meant exclusive. As in Room for Two. With no one else in sight.
The restaurant has 17 rooms, only available for private hire. One does not share room space with other diners – only with your own party. Barb and I had the attic room – if you look at the house, and look at the top right there is a dark window where you keep your elderly insane grandma and her rickety ghosts. I mean, where you put your 2 honoured dining guests and shut the door on them.
This is me, before the full extent of the horror became apparent. We should have known, given that we were asked to sit and wait in the lobby at a fully dressed table, where it was clear that no one would be eating. At least no one still in the living world…
All we needed was an a ghostly apparition to take us to our table with “Ladies… your table awaits…. just come with me please….”
Up three flights of stairs.. “just a little further… through this empty room. Mind the violet armchairs… into your teeny creepy attic room full of nasty vibes, er I mean a nice heating unit”
This was the area outside our room. I would have happily ate at the trunk/table on the violet armchairs instead of our dining room as it freaked us out so much. We asked to change rooms, but the waiter said no. We asked if we could sit with other people. He said no. We asked if we could sit outside (with the violet armchairs). The waiter still said no. We said the room was stinky, could we move, but he said it was the heating unit. Then he tried to close the door on us. We asked (rather pleaded, with a slight note of desperation in our plea) if we could keep it open… thankfully he said yes. Because if he had I think I would have had to leave. The room really really really creeped me out.
Thankfully when the first dish came…we were very pleasantly surprised. It helped to take our minds off the eerie atmosphere. The dish was truly spectacular. The most beautifully presented dish we had in Shanghai. Lotus root stuffed with sticky rice, with a cage of spun sugar. Glorious.
Here I am happy that the door is open and no ghoulies have grabbed me yet.
Here I am not so happy about ghoulie vibe I’m getting from this place. Eck. B and I had to order some stiff drinks. A couple martinis followed by a bottle of white (the only white on the menu. Apparently Chinese clientele prefer red) helped take the edge off.
Smoked and fried fish marinated in soy and sugar (teriyaki-esque)… delicious and moreish.
The deliciousness of the food did help take our minds off the Norman Bates vibes from the room. The wine didn’t hurt either. The shrimp dish was both B & my favourite dish of the night. Wasabi mayonnaise fried shrimp. Perfect use of wasabi for flavouring- no hurting the nose, just enough for great flavour and some zing. The batter was perfect – not stodgy at all. A nice crunch and good texture. We were sad that we left 3 on the plate but the restaurant had this crazy minimum spend thing (we couldn’t just pay the minimum spend, we had to actually order dishes to make up the minimum spend) so we had a HUGE amount of food, and not enough stomach to fit it all in. We ended up leaving two dishes nearly untouched. The shrimp however – we did our best but could not finish the plate. We are still sad that we had to leave 3 on the plate. Barbara has mentioned this a few times and tried to pick the shrimp off the photo to eat.
Not so good – mashed up taro on duck, then deep fried. Duck was horribly gamey, texture was unpleasant. Thumbs down! One of the dishes that went back almost untouched.
Pea shoots. Good stuff. But just greens.
This was the most expensive dish. 180rmb (about £18). Very disappointing. Fish braised in a soy (surprise surprise) based sauce. Sadly fish had a gross texture (like chunks of fat), overly salty. Another boo-hiss.
We love xiaolongbao! These babies were yummy. Not as yummy as Ding Tai Fong, but still pretty moreish! They were a bit too big for a comfortable one bite mouthful.
We were given a complimentary fruit plate, which was simple but nice. Ripe and sweet lychee, dragon fruit, and apple.
Goodbye creepy place! I don’t care that your wallpaper is English. It’s still ugly and creepy. And net curtains! Better for ghosties to twitch behind!