The recently-reopened Grand Shanghai Restaurant is the equivalent of that glamorous friend who has a flair for the dramatic, lurrrrves bling and has no qualms being the most overdressed person in a room. In other words, #extra is their middle name. And this applies to everything from the decor to the “live” music (both of which reflect the golden age of Shanghai in the 1930’s) to the dishes we got to try. Anchoring all of these is what we found most heartwarming - the low-key but sincere, attentive service.
Helmed by new Master Chef Jacky Tang who has almost three decades of experience in restaurants in Singapore and China, the menu is centred on Shanghainese specialties that have been adapted with modern culinary techniques for local palates. Here’s a rundown of what we got to try:

1. Abalone with pomelo and sake jelly: A Japanese touch for the first course, it is rather adventurous in taste.

2. “Light & Shadow” crispy duck: Displayed on a caramel sculpture, the slow-oven-baked, paper-thin French duck crisps were addictive. So too the dehydrated lotus root. Limited quantities are produced each day so you ought to call ahead to reserve.

3. Cold dish combination: The drunken chicken prepared with a 10-year-aged wine, Shanghainese chilled crystal pork and braised wheat gluten with mushroom and fungi, were executed well.

4. Deepfried glutinous dumpling stuffed with fresh crab meat and crab roe: A good mix of flavours and textures. I like the mochi-like texture beneath the crunchy sesame seed-speckled exterior especially.

5. Crispy smoked duck: We found the intensely smoky aroma of the crispy skin and tender meat highly appealing. Good on its own or snuggled between the soft steamed buns.

6. Steamed cod in Chinese rice wine: Looks simple but it was a hot favourite.

7. Fried string beans: The minced pork and Sakura shrimp added mouthwatering tastiness to the crunchy vegetable.

8. Shanghainese fried rice: I have long had a soft spot for the combo of rice with diced Yunnan ham and plentiful green vegetables.

9. Duo of dessert: The soufflé egg white ball with soft pieces of banana and red bean paste was atypical but scrumptious. Flecked with gold leaf and wolfberry, the osmanthus jelly proved lovely as well.

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