Shanghai’s Peninsula Hotel was one of the city’s grandest openings in a long time. Located on the Bund it offers stunning views and has some of the best amenities and service in the entire city. Its Chinese restaurant, Yi Long Court serves Cantonese cuisine of the highest order.
Cantonese restaurants are relatively common in Chinese luxury hotels. The reasons for this are manifold, and often they serve very good, but hardly outstanding food. In the case of Yi Long Court, this is different. First of all, given that the Peninsula group is originally from Hong Kong, it comes as no surprise that this restaurant should serve the cuisine of the group’s town of origin. As a result, the food here is anything but ordinary.
For some reason, Yi Long Court is even a tad better than both the restaurant in the Peninsula in Beijing and the Chinese restaurant of that in Hong Kong itself.
Beginning with a few slices of char siu (roast pork), you immediately get that this is a kitchen that knows what it does. The meat is incredibly juicy, tender and full of flavour; the balance between sweetness and an intense savoury note is just right, making this an absolutely addictive rendition of this classic. On the same level is the har kau (prawn dumpling). Steamed to perfection, the prawns in this are so sweet, juicy and crunchy that they can compete with a lot of Hong Kong restaurants. Again, the seasoning is spot-on, with the cooking carefully timed. There are very few restaurants that make such impressive har kau.
However, things continue like this all throughout the meal. No matter whether you order roast suckling pig, which combines perfect skin with succulent meat; or fried cod with abalone sauce. Both are extremely fine renditions of the respective dish, so good that this must count as one of Shanghai’s best Cantonese restaurants.
The final highlight is a stunning mango pudding. Such a simple dish, which often lacks flavour is done in a way here that it bursts with flavour. The mangoes that go into this are intensely intense, which translates into a pudding that is not only deeply coloured, but also packed with flavour. Combined with a delicate texture, it is another highlight served at this restaurant.
Yi Long Court is a restaurant that does not feature among the city’s most popular. And yet, it serves remarkably well-cooked Cantonese food. The attention to detail in the cooking here and the technical dexterity of the kitchen brigade make it stand out as one of Shanghai’s best Cantonese restaurants.