Opened by a couple of Shanghainese brothers, Restaurant Art Salon quaint little eatery in the tree lined Xuhui district or French Concession. Not just a place to eat, this restaurant also features original full size artwork from local painters, as well as from the brothers themselves.
This unique space, or gallery, fills the modest room with color imagery, depending upon the featured artists. The large artwork does certain make this venue distinguishingly unique. I can see the draw from locals, beatniks, foreigners, students, and females. I bet they would do well if they served afternoon tea – but I’m not sure if they do that.
Anyways. . .the food itself is admirably good, with the nice touch of home-cookedness. I liked the incorporation of the ornate porcelain bowls, dishes, and chopsticks. Part of the allure and character of this place.
You can tell the brothers care about the slightest detail. Heck they are protective of it, since they don’t allow pictures to be taken. Darn it – so I had to sneak some pictures before they politely told me. I told them that I was a blogger and even gave them my card – which resulted in no change. Oh well.
We started with the Bean Curd with Dry Scallop, Day Shrimp, Salt Egg and Preserved Egg as our appetizer. The large cylindrical bowl feature little shrimp scattered all over the bowl. To the typical gwei-lo, the shrimp, with its beadie eyes must seem off settling. But you have to get used to the crunchy texture, then you’ll be fine.
For our mains, we had spicy fried chicken, braised pork belly, and Salt Chicken with Spring Onion Sauce, plus a large bowl of soup. The pork, which I usually order when I am trying Shanghainese. Sometimes you’ll get this standard dish, done in special manner (or sometimes done horribly terrible – like unappealing tough piece of pork). This time, Art Salon just added a hard boiled egg – which you can usually find elsewhere. The 2 other chicken dishes were fine, but nothing much to boast about. If anything the Salt Chicken with Spring Onion Sauce, which I thought could have been an appetizer or cold dish, stood out just a little more, since this dish was recommended.
It was Mr. B who had first invited me with the dining party to check out the restaurant. It was his go-to place in Shanghai for proper Shanghainese. I could see why. It will now be on my list, as well.
What to Order: Teas, Hong Shau Rou, Salt Chicken with Spring Onion
What not to Order:
Price Range 2 $/¥/NT