The restaurant is set in an old European house in the former French Concession area. It has at least 2 floors for what we could see, and on the second floor where we were at there are 3 reasonably big dining rooms. More on this later.
The bread basket looked promising enough, and I particularly liked the bread sticks.
We asked whether we could have the pasta dishes as starters and the friendly waitress indicated it was OK. My husband picked the home-made ravioli stuffed with king crab and I went for the linguine with clams.
We were surprised to see that the dishes were in full portion! We decided to not say anything since we were hungry anyway (it was our first meal after our North Korea trip).
My husband instantly complained about how blah his ravioli was and I decided to take a bite. Firstly the stuffing was all cheese and no crab - you can see the crab being scattered on the pasta. It wouldn't have mattered but unfortunately the ravioli itself was pretty horrible. It's very soft, doughy and suffered from a lack of taste. I came to the conclusions that either the chef was on holiday, or his name was Chef Boyadee.
My linguine with clams in white wine sauce was better than the ravioli. The clams were fresh and the sauce not over-powered with garlic like many other places.
For main courses we both picked something from the grill, as the other selections didn't really grab us. My husband's grilled lamb chops looked good but it was nothing special. It's basically just lamb chops seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled, served with a balsamic reduction. And why did it come with a wedge of lemon?
My mixed seafood grill with prawn, salmon, sea bass, and cod was the same story. I immediately recognised the balsamic sauce (right down to the signature hook, just like the lamb dish), the lemon, and the sauteed potatoes on the side. There's something very off-putting when restaurants are lazy. I don't have a problem eating standardised food as long as I'm not paying fine-dining prices. With this level of quality I thought I was at a gastropub.
Now back to the restaurant layout and seating. There are 3 big dining rooms on the 2nd floor, all tables set and candles lit. Could be quiet and romantic. For some reason someone decided that only one room would be used and so not only everybody was put in the same room, we had to pretty much sit right next to each other. (This particular dining room had at least 20 tables and there were only 5 or six groups of diners.) A young couple arrived towards the end of our main dishes and got seated right next to us. Dude decided to light up a cigarette - nothing against him smoking - we just wanted to punch the jerk who was doing the seating.
Given the mediocre food, lack of privacy and smoke we didn't even want to try dessert (it's really got to be bad for my husband to skip dessert!).
We were given some grappa with biscotti. The biscotti was too floury but then at that point we had no expectation really.
913 Julu Road (near Chang Su Rd.) Shanghai. Tel: 5403-4528