Shanghai 30 is a Pan-Asian cuisine restaurant, specializing mostly in Chinese dishes with some Thai, Japanese and other Asian dishes. Situated at Hauz Khas market, it has a seating capacity of 100 covers. The décor consists of zany colours and neon-ish lighting, allegedly mimicking Shanghai’s night life. My first exposure to the interiors leaves me a bit breathless but I guess the younger generation would like the glitzy décor.
We settle in and study the menu which mostly has predictable dishes with some exciting options like soft shell crabs and other seafood, as well as some popular Asian dishes. Unfortunately soft shell crab and pomfret are not available so we adapt our order accordingly, starting with the soups which are the highlight of the meal. Tom yum shrimp soup (Rs 165) has the zing and the customary rustic touch of mushrooms, shrimps, and other greenery swimming in it. Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup from the Peranakan culture. Laksa Lemak (Rs 475) also called Nyonya laksa is a type of laksa with rich coconut gravy. What we are served has a liberal helping of seafood is among the best we have had in India. With the warmth of good soups permeating our tummies we now look forward to the rest of the lunch.
Starters start arriving on the table in quick succession. Wasabi Prawns (Rs 690) are too limp for my liking – something that often happens with frozen and thawed prawns – and lack the punch of the wasabi. Double cooked pork with chilly and black beans (Rs 415) is a good dish, but overdoes on the pork fat, and is a trifle over salted. Water chestnut with baby corn Thai chilly basil (Rs 260) is crisp and piquant making it an addictive bite. Salt and pepper calamari (Rs 390) is a competent dish. Assorted dim sums (Rs 325) are unremarkable. The chef is somewhat at sea with the assorted sushi (Rs 635) where the high proportion of rice to the meats devoids the sushi of its unique texture.
In the main course, jumbo prawns with chilly black bean (Rs 780) has the same problem as wasabi prawns, that is gooey texture due to the improper refrigeration of the prawns. Sliced tenderloin ginger spring onion (Rs 490) suffers from poor quality of the buff used. Steamed fish light soya (Rs 599) is nice and benign, and a mixed vegetable with tofu preserved chilly sauce (Rs 340) is interesting.
Apart from the soups, the second highlight of the lunch is Nasi goreng (Rs 499). Nasi goreng literally meaning “fried rice” in Indonesian, is a meal including stir fried rice typically spiced with sweet soy sauce, onions, garlic, tamarind and chilli and accompanied with other ingredients, particularly fried egg, prawns, chicken satay and crackers. The spices have been kept mild in all dishes served here. What I long for is a hit of spicy sambal (an Asian chutney) to perk up the heat, but even without it, it’s a dish most enjoyable.
We end the meal with an interesting caramelised pineapple with ice cream (Rs 200), and a lackluster mango pudding (Rs 200).
Shanghai 30 is an interesting restaurant with unforgettable interiors and thoughtful service. The food can be better, but then with the restaurant not yet two months old, it is early days yet. A close look at their supply chain can certainly help.
Ratings (out of 5)
Food: 3.0 | Ambiance: 4.0 | Service: 4.0 |Overall: 3.5