is one of those places you can regularly visit with your buddies, confident the fun will be good, and the food to die for.
You can't see it from the street. You first turn into a non-descript lane (no sign whatsoever) on 1039 Yuyuan lu, and walk about 100 meters before turning left into the restaurant garden. The classy 1930s house, quite beautifully illuminated, has a nice garden to be enjoyed come summer time.
The inside is where Chinese bling bling meets medieval chic. There are gorgeous, cavernous private rooms, complete with leather chairs, oversized mirrors and chandeliers; each can accommodate 10 to 20 people. There is also a big main room where you can sit with a friend or two. The whole place feels pretty huge and mildly luxurious, and at times you feel like walking through a real life Castle Wolfenstein (except no one is shooting at you).
Few foreigners are aware it exists, so it is mostly filled with chattering locals; although packed between 7 to 9, it is virtually empty after 9:30pm, even though it doesn't close until 11:30pm.
Food is Shanghainese style - read: oily and sweet, just the way we like it. It seems very Chinese to the Chinese, yet the sweetness of it all makes it appealing to foreign palates as well.
The menu, in English and Chinese, doesn't have pictures - but the Chef's recommendations are pretty much all a safe bet. We kicked off with a crispy, sweet and colorful Sauteed Chicken With Mango (38 RMB), and followed with the Stewed Pork in Sweet Soy Sauce (58 RMB), a greasy affair that melts in your mouth like [insert cliche here]. The Sauteed Beef with Honey Pepper Sauce, a bit pricey at 98 RMB, proved to be a huge plate of excellent meat, almost enough to feed two persons by itself. Together with this pile of oily meat, we had some Sauteed Vegetables (28 RMB) just to pretend being on the healthy side.
Their cheapest bottle of wine, the Zhang Yu Dry Red Cabernet 1998 (160 RMB), is surprisingly drinkable (so much that I bought a bottle at my next visit to Carrefour). For dessert, the Glutinous Sesame Dumplings (12 RMB) are fantastic, filling your mouth with a sticky moist sesame paste you can wash down with some peanut ice-cream (10 RMB).
The typical low points of a genuine Chinese restaurant apply. The service is mama-huhu
. Nobody speaks any English. The room is too brightly lit. There is no hip lounge music to bob your bed-haired head to.
If you can get past that, FU1039 is a great place to visit, especially with a group of friends or business partners. You are guaranteed to leave stuffed like a fish and drunk like a pig for about 120 RMB each. Good times.
Fu1039 - 1039 Yuyuan Road. All details, map & taxi printout here