“ Chinese Restaurant in Dalston, East London / Address: 41 Kingsland High Street, London, E8 2JS / Tel: 020 7254 2878 „
Shanghai is a Chinese restaurant on Kingsland Road in the heart of London's vibrant Dalston district. The restaurant itself is housed in a beautiful old art deco former pie and mash shop and has 3 main areas. Of most note is the front part of the restaurant which boasts the art deco interior and bar area. If you get a chance to eat here you really should to experience it. Seating has a kind of diner feel with booths lining the left hand wall of the restaurant. If you come as a larger party the backroom would be more advisable as this offers larger tables but not the elegance of the front. Finally we have the karaoke section. I don't need to delve further into this - you can imagine it for yourself.
The decor and interior are not the only thing this restaurant has going for it as the food itself is also wonderful with both the expected array of dishes such as your sweet and sour variants but also some more unlikely and unusual offerings such as a lotus leaf sandwich. Being brave with your ordering is essential to get the most out of this restaurant. If you are a sucker for the more traditional Chinese restaurant fair then you cannot go wrong with the Peking duck or crispy shredded beef which are both excellent.
One of the best aspects of the food here is that it is void of noticeable traces of Monsodium Glutamate (i.e shiny food). Everything feels fresh and cooked to order - this feeling is supported by the reassuring wait for food to be bought to the table. I'm not saying service is slack nor slow - it is quite a novelty to not have your food arrive within minutes of ordering. Portions themselves are of a hearty size so don't go over ordering although given the vast menu and variety contained within it is difficult not to want to try everything.
The drinks selection, although not vast is ample with a good array of Chinese beers and although not an inspiring wine list, one that will suffice.
Pricing is fairly reasonable too with most main dishes varying from £5 - £10.
The service was not exceptional but was relatively friendly and certainly efficient. You certainly can't complain about it. There was also plenty of staff on hand to assist you if you require it.
There are really no flaws I can point out here unless you don't like the sound of background karaoke. It doesn't take place in the restaurant but in side rooms so you won't be in it but may be able to hear it. I think it adds to the fun but if you are seated in the back it could become distracting.
Overall this is an excellent Chinese restaurant and certainly the east ends best and perhaps one of the better ones in London too. Perhaps don't seek it out but if you are local it is well worth the visit. At weekends booking is advisable as it is very popular.