Re-defining Mall Dining: Oriental House

If you’re part of the Shanghai F&B industry or affiliated to it or even just a foodie, you will have noticed that many great restaurants are being pushed to move into malls and commercial complexes. It’s a government-led effort to make Shanghai cleaner and safer (?), with street-front businesses being shut down or losing their licenses on a daily basis.

It takes some effort for a food-obsessed person like me to open my mind to mall dining. The hospital-like cleanliness of the wide, bright spaces inside a mall hardly conveys the cozy feeling associated with a healthy appetite. But a foodie gotta grow and adapt, and if this is the inevitable trend in the Shanghai restaurant scene I shall oblige.

The Oriental House original location is on Anfu Lu. I’ve never actually eaten there but it looks like a cozy space. At the Kerry Center in Jing’an instead, the atmosphere is a bit clubby: dim lighting and LED strips with a goldfish narrative sort of thing embrace the whole space. The cutlery is beautiful. You may or may not like the atmosphere, personally it wasn’t exactly up my alley, but I’d go anywhere for tasty food.

And tasty food is here! Here’s an array of the dishes I definitely recommend.

Chopped Pork Ears with Dried Shrimp (RMB 39)

Even if the idea of eating pork ears doesn’t entice you, still try and order this dish (unless for religious or ethical reasons of course!), it may surprise you.

Spicy Chicken with Peanuts (RMB 50)

It’s a crazy good dish. It kind of literally blew my mind as I kept obsessing over it for hours. If I had only RMB 50 to spend until the end of the month, I would probably get me a portion of this.

Fish Sashimi with Grapefruit (RMB 65)

Raw slices of Halibut and Red Snapper, with a pleasantly delicate balsamic and grapefruit dressing. Loved the dill touch to it and the thinly chopped olives added a welcome surprise factor.

Roasted Lamb Rack (RMB 88)

Make sure you tell them how you want the temperature on the meat to be. I like my lamb ribs medium rare and I received exactly that, but some people may prefer them a bit more cooked.

Wild Tiger Prawn (RMB 139)

If we overlook the fact that this beautiful prawn could have been accompanied by a real edible side instead of an unfortunate fake coral and seashell composition… the prawn itself was perfectly and expertly cooked. Very flavorful and top top quality.

The rest of the menu is also quite interesting, with plenty of fusion cuisine virtuosity that brings together East and West for what I consider a greatly elevated version of mall food. They also have a complete cocktail program (I suggest you go for the classic cocktails as they seemed more balanced in flavor), and the house wine is decent.

If this is what to expect from the new wave of mall restaurants, then let’s all get ready to be spending  a lot more time enclosed in these mega buildings… and probably also to re-define the meaning of mall food!

Address: 1515 Nanjing Xi Lu, Jing’an Kerry Center, North Area, 3/F, Room N3-26, near Changde Lu  南京西路1515号静安嘉里中心北区3N3-26, 近常德路

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