Two months ago, on a rainy afternoon, I was walking down the High Street with Shebz, I can’t remember how we ended up down there at lunchtime, but bright chandeliers in the then brand new Chinese restaurant where HSBC used to be caught my eye.
It looked stopped-talking stunning. Bright and luxurious, even more so in the cold, grey weather. I’ve been meaning to try it since but the period before Christmas was hectic and as it turned out January as well.
To celebrate the end of January and payday the lovely Sati suggested lunch with the rest of the work gang and I didn’t want to miss the chance of trying Shanghai 1814.
So a week ago I finally made it. I was in awe as soon as I walked in, the large black doors set the tone and the interior design took my breath away. After a while I forgot I was in Southampton. It’s a different world. Modern, spacious, bright, luxurious but at the same time simple and elegant.
High ceilings, stone walls, chandeliers, bright, black and red theme, tables and sofas and cosy private rooms and of course open kitchen, I love being able to watch what’s happening in the kitchen, I always find it fascinating.
I absolutely loved it. Shout out to the interior decorator. Amazing work.
The ever so serious Chinese maitre took us to our table. And it was time to order. Deciding what to have it’s never easy for me and it was even more difficult here because they had four different menus, their traditional menu, a dim sum one, a la carte and lunch. Oh my lord, where to start? I asked the maitre and even he didn’t know what to recommend. In the end we decided to stick to the lunchtime options as it was only £8,95 for a starter, main and a drink.
I had the vegetable spring rolls for starters and the beef in black bean and pepper sauce with fried noodles and I also tried some of Sati’s sweet and sour chicken and Suzanne’s glazed pork.
And of course, my favourite, Jasmine tea. Jasmine tea is probably the best drink to have when trying different dishes, I think even better than water. It beautifully clears the flavours from your mouth, leaving a subtle, clear, warm aftertaste instead so you can go on exploring new flavours without confusing your palate.
Everything tasted delicious (although I couldn’t enjoy my main as I had to run to a meeting and had to finish it in 10 minutes, it wasn’t easy!). I especially loved the smokiness of the noodles and the juiciness of the meats, the pork in particular.
I want to go back and try more dishes. Next on the list are the dim sums. Whilst we were there we stared at what others have ordered and that’s when I saw a guy who I since refer to as ‘the legend’ having lunch on his own. He must had ordered half of the dim sum menu, the dishes kept coming for a while. He had some and took the rest at home. What a man. That’s what I want to do next time I’m there.
I loved everything about Shanghai 1814. From the decoration to the food to the service, even the never-smiling maitre. I just wanted to give him a cuddle and make him smile.
I can’t wait to visit again. Dim sums anyone?
**Disclaimer: I don’t get paid to do this, so this is a genuine review. And I’m no food expert, although I love good food ,that’s why I post about it so often, so this is my personal opinion.