Maison de l’Hui represents a growing trend among restaurants in Shanghai for finely-executed Chinese cuisine served with impeccable manners in grandiose environs. And there is a whole generation ready to pay the price. At this branch, eating in the main dining room costs a minimum of 200RMB/head. It would be hard to spend less. However, you can sense the superiority of all the props and ingredients that are on show. Everything is presented exquisitely like a duck pancake (20RMB each), tied with a steamed chive for string and set in a mini bamboo steamer, or the organic rice (5RMB), served in a bowl plated with golden paint.
The smoked fish (48RMB) is unlike any other you’ve had before. It’s unexpectedly moist and light, lacking the traditional heavy sweetness or fishy flavour. Drunken chicken (58RMB) is superb – the meat is potent and soft in its cold alcoholic broth. All the soups, like wild vegetable and cod soup (48RMB), are made with concentrated stock with intense umami flavours, like the type usually served with shark’s fin. Red braised pork (88RMB) is properly sweet and glossy. Thin-skinned, beautifully clean xiaolongbao (25RMB/three) are delicate in every way. For dessert, the date cake (25RMB) offers delicious sticky bits of sweet date in the spongy cake.
Come to Maison de l’Hui to see the future, at least as many local restauranteurs envision it - a swish, service-first new era of dining, Shanghai style.