Thursday, August 15, 2013

Shanghai Elan Restaurant 上海粗菜館

The original plan was to have hot pot at Top Gun in Crystal Mall; however, the restaurant had a forty minute wait so Shanghai Elan was our second option. We arrived around 7:00pm on a weeknight and the restaurant was pretty busy. After waiting twenty minutes for a small table when medium sized tables were available, we waited around ten minutes for the menu. Personally, I think if a table of two orders the she amount of food as a table of five, at least a table of three should be provided. Not a tiny table that can only fit two bowls of noodle.

Moreover, the table was already cramped enough before ordering too. As for the table setting, everything is very cute! The table setting is a lot more playful than the generic white. After we finished ordering, we were switched to a slightly larger table and it annoyed me thinking back to how we waited twenty minutes for nothing because eventually we got a table which was available since the beginning (which still ended up being too small for the items we ordered!).

The salted egg yolk does not taste too salty and the cold cut meat tastes average. Personally, I do not think I appreciate this dish enough as much as others but hey, I only like salted egg yolk in moon cakes!

Whaaat? The green onion pancake is deep fried rather than pan fried, which is always a no-no for me. Deep frying causes the pancake to lose the flakiness and layers. Along with tasting bland as well as dry, and having a crunchy exterior. I would pass on the green onion pancake at Shanghai Elan, despite understanding when restaurants choose to deep fry since it takes a lot faster. The only Shanghai cuisine restaurant that makes deep fried green onion pancake work is Chen's Shanghai Kitchen.

The xiao long bao has a thin layer of skin, tastes juicy and the meat tastes soft. The XLBs also seem like they would be consistent here… maybe too consistent. The buns oddly resemble Xu's Wonton House which is located upstairs in the food court and I would not be surprised if they ordered from there (btw, one of my favourite places for XLB).

The sauce tastes very light which makes the bean curd along with the bamboo fungi taste delicious, for bland food lovers like me. However for those who prefer tasteful dishes, may consider this nothing special and overpriced (like BF). Furthermore, the plate has nothing but ten pieces of vegetable, one sliced bean curd and three to four bamboo piths. The restaurant is very stingy on the ingredients.

The soup has a rich salty chicken broth flavour (in a good way) and tastes quite flavourful. Vegetables, sliced Chinese mushroom and chicken are also some of the ingredients in the soup. In addition, the highlight of the soup are the wontons. The Shanghainese style wontons are fairly big, meaty, moist, soft and flavourful, I like them. Moreover, I am not a fan of wontons in general too but these resemble dumplings because of the larger size. Despite not preferring to support this restaurant based on personal silly reasons (stated below), Shanghai Elan's is better than Long's Noodle House.

Shanghai Elan offers crab at a set price rather than by the lb, like most Shanghainese restaurants. The waitress mentioned that the crabs are always roughly around 1lb-2lb, and ours was creeping up to a 1 1/2lb. The crab tastes crisp, saucy and very spicy, resembling the extremely spicy Szechuan hot pots (and I can handle heat). After having only a few bites, the crab tasted overly spicy and I did not want more in case I got sick later... LOL. But overall, the crab is a properly made dish and a must order for those who love extremely spices dishes because it is a "flavourful" spiciness rather than a pure mouth burning spiciness.

I am not a fan of sweet and sour anything other than pork, or the lychee/prawn dish at Sun Sui Wah. Meaning, sweet n' sour chicken and sweet n' sour rock cod do not really interest me just because I do not like changes and feel like it should only be sweet n' sour pork. However, I decided to try the sweet and sour rock cod since every table had an order. The rock cod has a nice light crispiness and the meat tastes moist as well as meaty. Moreover, the sauce does not taste overly sweet and pairs well with the fish. I may be partially biased because I love rock cod but this is very well made. Also, the fish is deboned prior to deep frying which is a lot easier to eat than steamed rock cod.

Oh yeah! We also ordered the deep fried buns. The deep fried bun is one loaf sliced into four pieces. The bun had a slight crispy exterior and the crumb tasted soft and pillowy, but could have been more shredded.

- Waitresses go around checking tea pots 
- Some food is average and better
- One of the few Shanghai cuisine restaurants in the area

- Annoying table issue
- Some dishes are pricey
- Deep fried green onion pancake? Come on..
- Owner's daughter has an attitude problem
- Restaurant is small and reservations are recommended

- A bit odd for the pan fried buns to be sold out at 7:00pm considering that the restaurant advertises about that specific item throughout the mall
- Most of the plates were placed half off the table and if anyone walked by, the dishes would have been knocked to the ground. For those who like to order a variety of dishes, I recommend coming here with at least three people just to get a regular sized table (despite making sense that a table of two should get a regular sized table if ordering enough food for five people right?)
- Left my purse at the restaurant and when I went back to get it (btw I went back within one minute and literally just missed the waitress chasing me out of the restaurant), all the waitresses recognized me and were telling the owner's daughter that it was me who left the purse. However, the owner's daughter kept the key for the lock and kept saying "are you sure?" when I was standing right beside her. Usually the proper protocol is to ask the customer for their name and checking the identification in the purse, rather than constantly asking the staff if they are positive. Plus, all the girls said it was already my purse from the beginning
- Before we seated, I said "excuse me" to the owner's daughter a few times very loud because she was literally right in front of me with her pony tail hitting my face and I kept saying excuse me so she will know how close she was. Instead, she stomped on me, twice, hard, and was standing on my feet LOL. Sorry, not a fan of being stomped on and having a girl's pony tail hitting and touching my face (a bit OCD, yes I know)
- I would check out Ji Jiang Shanghai on Kingsway to see if you prefer that restaurant more or Shanghai Elan (I am more likely to revisit Ji Jiang for their above average food and friendlier owners)

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 2/5

Shanghai Elan Restaurant 上海粗菜館 on Urbanspoon


  1. I don't know who the "owners daughter" is but I left my purse a designer but already left. I call the restaurant and they say they have it but when I go pick up at night, they say no. If situation happens to anyone please ask for the name to avoid misunderstand!

  2. I told them color and brand also speak in chinese, don't know why misunderstand. I lost a expensive bag and do not know what happened maybe another customer took it?



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