Any old Shanghainese will have fond memories of dining at this nostalgic Shanghainese restaurant. It was once the place to be seen in Shanghai. Even the famous gangster Du YueSen was a regular here in the 20s.
The Seventh Heaven Old Shanghai Restaurant is an old-fashioned restaurant that dated back to 1918. Owned by the YongAn Company, it was located on the seventh floor of one of the top 4 shopping malls in Shanghai. Originally it was called 天韵楼 Musical Sky. Because it was on the seventh floor, it was also known as Seventh Heaven 七重天.
The style of cuisine is Shanghainese. It is liberal in its use of sauce and sugar. Everything was really heavy in flavour. My favourite, as usual, was the scallion-infused Shanghai noodles. The noodles was fragrant from the scallion-infused dressing, every mother in Shanghai would know how to do it. However, it takes a really good chef to find the balance of the savoury, scent and umami.
Other dishes we had were also Shanghai classic, like the stewed Lion-head meatball, rice cake in eight treasure sauce, sweet and sour ribs and sweet gluten puffs.
The piece de resistance for the evening was the hairy crabs soaked in Chinese wine. Live hairy crabs are cleaned and then soaked in Huadiao wine that is spiced with garlic, chilli and other aromatics. Over time (usually two to three weeks), the crabs soften and inherit a really strong flavour. The flesh firms up and the roe becomes “cooked” in the marinade. I loved this dish, and would order it despite getting food poisoning over the years from really unhygienic methods of marination.
Service in this restaurant is (in)famous. Because the mall is now state-owned, the waiting staff is quasi-civil service, so they are not incentivised to do more. They start rushing you to settle your bill 30 min before closing time. And cycle around you if you try to eat slowly. However, it is this service attitude that attracted the die-hard fans. For me, I did not appreciate bad service. I found that their service wasn’t bad, but it was just direct and blunt. When you order too much, they would just tell you straight off. As local Shanghainese, they would rattle off in their dialect, which leave us puzzled what they wanted to convey. Anyway, if you are entertaining important clients, this is not the place. But you want really authentic Shanghai food with an attitude, it would be fantastic.
Seventh Heaven Shanghai Restaurant 七重天老上海餐厅
Tel : +86 21 6322 0777
Date visited : Oct 2018