Patrick picked us up in a taxi at 6:30pm and we were off on a wild rodeo ride through the Friday night streets of Shanghai. We inched and bucked our way toward The Bund, Patrick explained that the word was not English or German, but from the Urdu term for “embankment.” It is, simply, a collection of architectural piles on the western bank of the Huanpu River, a famous symbol of the city as well as a trenchant reminder of it’s colonial past.
But we had come not to look at The Bund, but to look from The Bund, specifically from M On The Bund, at the symbols of the new Shanghai: skyscrapers featuring light shows, and haute western cuisine. The scenery from the balcony overlooking the Huangpu on this warm and breezy September night was amazing, and the food more than matched it.
I had two specials: a salad of artichoke hearts, nuts, dates, and flat leaved parsley leaves mixed in a light dressing with ethereal chunks of preserved lemon. My main course was a brick of pork belly very lightly brined and then broiled until the skin crisped into a toothsome and indulgent crackling. We enjoyed a light and ultimately underwhelming Chinese Cabernet Sauvignon (although Patrick and I doubted the varietal veracity after a glass or two) from Shanxi Province along with dinner. After our main courses we also enjoyed a few slivers of cheese from a little known but award winning cheesemaker as a special surprise.
The view, the food, the company, this glimpse of new Shanghai from within the heart of the old Shanghai on a beautiful night…how lucky could we get.