Owner Fang Yuan and Chef Tony Lu have produced their most refined dining destination yet with the vegetarian restaurant Fu He Hui. The Shanghainese team have worked together for years building a trio of renowned and celebrated villa restaurants (Fu1039, Fu1088 and Fu1015) serving the city’s native cuisine to crowds of nouveau riche who regularly book out the private rooms. Now, Fang Yuan has drawn upon his own Buddhist practice as well as his formidable personal collection of antiques to create this three-storey temple to vegetarianism housing a museum-worthy display of Ming and Qing dynasty furniture and art pieces. Tony Lu’s menu lists just three sets, at 380, 680 and 880RMB for eight courses. Each dish is an exquisite refinement of the ingredients’ essences, with not a whisper of oil and only the lightest touch of salt. Soups are immaculately pure, such as a clear mushroom broth (from the 880RMB set) poured from a glass beaker, tasting like an ultra-condensed cream of mushroom soup, yet with all the calories and weight removed.
A mashed taro dumpling (from the 380RMB set) is brilliantly textured with a base of smooth orange pumpkin sauce, a layer of soft spinach, and the dumpling interior filled with smooth taro mash studded with tiny cubes of mountain yam and mushroom. Meanwhile, the golden exterior is a brittle-crisp web of wispy deep fried batter that crackles delightfully in the mouth.
One particular masterpiece is the playful ‘Garden’ course (880RMB set), a tiny wooden planter filled with ‘soil’ made of delectable airy potato mousse and ‘planted’ with the sweet crunch of baby carrots and a micro radish. But just as delicious are the eggplant rolls (380RMB set) filled with jielan
(Chinese broccoli) in a teriyaki sauce that is light and balanced. The eggplant rolls have crisp exteriors, then a bouncy layer and finally the sweet-crisp vegetable filling of jielan
. Sets finish beautifully with an artful dessert such as a black bean ice cream that would instantly convert any bean hater, paired with a delicate-as-snow mung bean flour pastry with a centre of velvet-soft black bean.