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  • I was led to an alleyway by my regular dining partner that separates Panyu Lu and Fahuazhen Lu and entered into what I thought to be a Japanese restaurant, with hostesses wearing masks and dressed in Kimono’s, which I thought to be most bizarre, but hey, I am game for anything these days, this was no regular Shanghai Japanese restaurant for this was Anthologia a world of theatre style dining and when I say theatre, not like anything else I have seen before. Certainly not like the dinner theatre shows one sees in Las Vegas with scantily clad diva’s, or perhaps Studio 54 in New York when Sally Bowles was last seen playing in Cabaret.

    Once inside, you are seated in pairs on tired seating facing a large screen, that has a rolling montage of nature scenes of flora and fauna, along with both animals, fish and crustaceans, I was imagining to myself and now for something completely different and half expecting to see a large foot from Monty Python come down. What I was in for, was a seven-course dinner from the land and sea, hence the images rolling on the large screen, along with less than coordinated clips of music ranging from Blues and Jazz, which didn’t quite work with the ebb and flow of the montage.

    Before getting on to the food menu, I wanted to order some wine, a list is presented and in typical fashion, the words are uttered méiyŏu for this bottle and that bottle as well….As luck would have it there was another list presented and yes we have this one, and that one as well, we opted for a bottle of Sancerre, and surprisingly not costing an arm and a leg either.

    Onto the menu, and the following dishes all elaborately presented

    1. Two Ways of enjoying to eat prawn’s New Year’s style. Which was a shrimp and Tofu ball served in a clear shrimp broth and delicate in both texture and flavour.
    2. Seasonal selection of Sashimi: Tuna, Yellow Jack, Pinna Shell, Bream and Botan Shrimp.
    3. Sukiyaki hot pot with two different cuts of Wagyu beef in an Egg yolk dip
    4. Whole white Radish which has been roasted for three hours, served with two types of miso glaze.
    5. Halibut poached in a mushroom broth, and served in a clear wrap bag, this is opened in front of you and the woody fragrance from the assorted fungi fills the air, the halibut is succulent and tender and melts in your mouth.
    6. Japanese style assorted seafood and rice, a combination of hairy crab rice, octopus, monkfish liver and scallops.
    7. To finish off an Apple, well it looks like an Apple on the outside, but inside is a gooey mix of sweetness of mixed fruit mousse.

    The text alone cannot fully describe the experience of the evening, and hopefully, the attached images will somewhat demonstrate the uniqueness of the venue.

    Over the years in Shanghai, I have had dinner at Ultra Violet, Tai An Table and now Anthologia, all at different price points all a little theatrical, but all different, if I were to go back to any of them with a group of people, I would have to say it would be Anthologia hands down. Dinner starts promptly at 19h00, and over by about 21h30 towards the end of the evening for anyone celebrating a birthday or anniversary their names are posted on large screen, and names read out, which I found to be a bit kitsch.

    The service was impeccable, really could not fault it, the food was above average for a Japanese style venue, priced at 980RMB per person excluding the wine, which came to 550RMB, there were less expensive French white wines starting from 290RMB.

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SmartReviews is SmartShanghai’s crack squad of amateur reviewers, eating their way around the city and writing about it. They have been chosen from a large pool of applicants and given a set of strict guidelines to follow to make sure their reviews are honest, informed and fair to both potential customers and the restaurants themselves.