Another special place that we found after we had such a great experience at the fairy tale castle was on the grounds of the Jiujiang Hotel in the French Concession in Shanghai. The hotel is part of a conglomerate now – there are hundreds of branches across the country, but initially it was a special hotel founded in Shanghai only used by senior members of the Communist party.
Deng Xiao Ping is said to have told the hotel that it should be open to all people, not just party elite as he implemented his reform and opening up policy. Now anyone with enough money to eat at one of the restaurants can come in and enjoy.
The grounds are extensive with multiple buildings and restaurants. I think a couple of years ago I also went to a wedding in one of them (though I went to a lot of weddings of colleagues in a short period and I’m not 100% sure). Once you enter past the gates the noise and bustle of Shanghai falls away. There are tailor shops that line one walkway and when we were there one side was under construction where it appeared another Chinese restaurant would be opening soon.
We however, were exploring – looking for what is supposed to be the best Indian restaurant in Shanghai, Tandoor. We had researched it and heard that it was the favorite of the Indian Consulate and so went to take a look. The prices initially scared us off, but Li managed to find a Tuan Gou deal (similar to US Group-On) that provided us with a huge set menu at a very affordable price.
When we entered the restaurant, we were the only patrons for the first thirty minutes – and we arrived around 12:30 on a Sunday. It made us a little nervous as typically in China empty restaurants don’t have the best reputation.
They seated us near one of the many mirrored walls and we sat back and waited for the food to be delivered. One of the nice things about pre-set menus is that you don’t have to worry about what to order when you arrive. It’s already been chosen! I added a mango lassi (had to have it), but everything else was pre-selected.
The food was phenomenal. There were three different curries, a huge basket of lovely warm naan bread, vegetables, tandoori chicken and beef, different sauces, dumplings – way too much food for two people. As we ate, slowly the restaurant filled up, and around 1:30 as we were finishing a large table of Indians came in and sat down. It made the restaurant warm and welcoming.
I haven’t eaten at every Indian restaurant in Shanghai, but it was the best I’ve had and I would believe the Indian consulate may order from there. The combination of the story of the Jiujiang Hotel and the excellent food made our afternoon.
Have you searched for something and found it to be even better than you expected? The empty restaurant almost made us turn around, but we were very glad we stayed.