To begin with the restaurant we are talking about is in the Hauz Khas market, NOT Hauz Khas Village. Wish someone had told me that in as many words. However, once in the market, look for a black glass facade and there you are! As far as first impressions go, Shanghai 30 is old school Chinese in terms of decor. Dragons and screens, motifs and splashes of red, it’s very kitty party. Watch the levels, you could go for a toss before you reach your table, though the staff is used to be being pretty vigilant about that. The layout is old school too; I felt the tables were just a bit too close for comfort. I could hear conversations from two tables away. Other than that once you are comfortable it’s smooth sailing. The menu at Shanghai 30 is extensive, spanning most of Asia. There are Malaysian standards and the Thai basics like chicken in red curry. They also serve Korean and Japanese dishes. The menu states the number of different styles which make up Chinese cuisine, including Cantonese, Jiangsu, Szechuan and Shandong. Since I like to play it safe at a new place (like most of us), we decided to start with not-so-risqué starters.
Our first course was typically Japanese-American, Prawn California Roll (775), which was basically Tempura Sushi and done quite well. I liked the tempura finish and how the crispiness stayed intact in the rice roll. The Salmon Maki (635) was good too; for the price and a portion of 8 pieces it was better value that the ones at gourmet stores. For vegetarians, there’s a very fair selection out of which the Shiitake and Green Apple Maki and Aniseed California Roll sounded very promising. Our choice of Char Siu Bao (335) was a definite miss, it was dense and dough-y, like a bunch of momo sheets were used. As a result we skipped the Soft Shell Crab (690) and the Lobster (1380); some things just have to be done right for inspiration to eat some more. Our main course was definite redemption. I recommend the Double Cooked Pork (490) to anyone who will listen, it was perfectly cooked and very well balanced in terms of flavour. We enjoyed this with a round of Braised Jumbo Prawn with Chilli Ginger Sauce (780) and Sauteed Diced Chicken with XO Sauce (475), both of which were typical of Chinese food in Delhi but I say that in a good way, like comfort food. All this went down with a round of colas and a fairly massive portion of Chicken Hakka Noodles (300). Like I said before, the menu at Shanghai 30 is huge – we still didn’t touch upon the Clay Pot dishes or the impressive list of Thai Soups and Asian Salads. I did taste a small portion of the Thai Red Curry (Chicken – 440) which between the two of us, I felt was good but the other party skipped it.
For those of you like to have a favourite Asian eatery in the vicinity, Shanghai 30 is perfect. Check out the Hot Pot, very Singapore! You can cook your own meal at the table with your choice of stock and add-ons. Priced pretty reasonably, this sounds like a fun way to eat and where customizing a meal isn’t always possible, this option comes quite close. Also try the dumplings, the Crystal Prawn Dumpling (355) was delicate and moist, just the way it should be. The selection of desserts is a mix of Continental, Thai and Chinese out of which we had the Shanghai Date Pancake (200) but in retrospect the Banana Spring Roll with Ice Cream (200) may have been better.