This hole in the wall in Hongkou is the most out-and-out school-themed restaurant in the city. Where other eateries are satisfied with a few enamel plates and old books on the shelves to induce nostalgia, the main space at Hope is decorated just like a classroom. A blackboard topped by the traditional message ‘Good good study, day day up!’ occupies one wall while diners sit on school chairs and peruse mock exam-style (Chinese-only) menus at student desks.
If you’re in more of a slacker mood, there’s an area where you can play retro video games, while the small front room has comfortable seating and less of an overt classroom theme (plus a small counter where you can buy your own retro goodies, from T-shirts to sweets).
The food largely consists of school canteen-style dishes such as tins of fried noodles (8RMB) and breaded pork cutlets (10RMB), meaning it’s not exactly high end, but neither are the prices.