Monday, May 28, 2007

Villa du Lac, South Huangpi Rd, Shanghai

Villa du Lac, South Huangpi Rd, Shanghai
Monday 28 May, 2007
Tonight we experienced something special. Located in Xintiandi - the French Concession area of Shanghai with tree lined streets and upmarket shops - is Villa du Lac. Built inside a restored shikomen with Chinese and French influences it is a magnificent dining space.
On arrival we walked into a gorgeous foyer with white walls, stained glass windows, fresh flowers everywhere and delicate Chinese ornaments. It was just lovely and we were greeted by William Wong - the Maitre'd and very proud employee - and directed to our table.
What we weren't prepared for was that our table was situated in its very own private dining room. A stunning white room hidden behind white lattice doors with heavy handles we had or own private sanctuary. It was spectacular and we were like kids in a candy store wanting to open every door, drawer, window etc.
We also had our very waitress who remained with us for the entire evening. Interestingly, there is a custom here that the staff cannot lose eye contact with their guests. So in order to leave our private dining room she had to walk backwards out of the room. We thought this must have been a joke but she did this all night long. They have thought of everything and one of the most impressive aspects was the each cream suede chair had a metal handle built into the back so as the staff did not touch the suede to move the chairs in and out for their guests. Very smart!
The menu was intriguing and we asked William for his guidance. For entree we opted for:
- Duck cooked in rice wine (so incredibly tender and perfectly matched with the sweetness of the wine)
- Pork spare ribs
- Huting drunken chicken (served cold and considered the house speciality)
There was fanfare when it arrived as a staff member arrives with the dishes on tray that our waitress removes and places on the side board. She then transfers each dish individually to the table in order to serve you. We did not have to lift a finger other than to eat and drink as she kept our plates and glasses full all night long.
For mains we deferred to William who recommended:
- Fish with mandarin sauce
- Moneybags with chicken and mushroom
- Pork belly
- Seasonal vegetables
Each main course was beautifully presented so much so that we didn't want to ruin them. But, they just looked so appetising that we got over that pretty quickly. The fish was the most impressive dish of the night - it was prepared so that we just had to delicately pick a piece off the skin and it easily fell apart and them coated it in mandarin sauce that was to die for. It wasn't appropriate to lick the plate but if I'd been at home.....
The food was delightful and the over attentiveness of our waitress did start to annoy us towards the end however it all added to the experience. After a beautiful meal William insisted on giving us a tour of the other rooms and floors. As we were the last guests to leave we had the run of the place and William's undivided attention.
On level 1 there are 3 private rooms (one large and two small) each carrying the Chinese/ French theme. On level 2 there is a large open dining space with several tables and 2 small private dining rooms and on level 3 there is one large dining space that is used as a private room with its own terrace that looks out across the lake. It was magnificent.
Villa du Lac is an experience and definitely a night to share with a group of friends.

Villa du Lac - 383 South Huangpi Road South, Shanghai - (86 21) 6387 6387


Anonymous Tourist said...

Thank you, it looks like an inviting place. Your review was most useful.

7:58 am  

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