One of the most interesting streets in Shanghai for nosing around on is Jinxian Road in the French Concession. There's a strange cognitive dissonance in walking around in a place which looks like one of the quieter arondissments but there's a guy slaughtering chickens on the kerbside and the air is filled with the smell of hot peanut oil and soy.
This, I was reliably informed, is the best restaurant on the street, the one-up, one-down Lan Xin (No.130). The New York Times wrote about another place a couple of doors down a while back, apparently, but Lan Xin is superior. It is the closest you can get to eating your Shanghai grandmother's food without having a Shanghai grandmother.
Downstairs was full...
I had steered clear of the Bund, my trip being more about indigenous, day-to-day Shanghai food than glam ‘fine dining’, but on my final night I succumbed to the high rolling allure of Yi Long Court. Its hushed Art Deco dining room was a world away from my experiences of the previous few days: this was world class haute cuisine, by any measure. Looking out at the great towers of Pudong as I tucked into a dish of spoon-tender braised beef with matsutake mushrooms, I thought to myself: Shanghai really does have it all.