Shanghai, 41 Kingsland Road, E8 2JS
Whenever I am feeling sad about something, Mr Fork knows that there is only one thing for it: steamed Chinese greens. Guiltlessly healthy, almost crunchy but slightly slimy and slick with garlic, they are the one of the few things that can make the world better. Pasta with tomato ketchup and melted cheese is the other but, when work drives me to real despair , Mr F knows that overdosing on Heinz just won't cut it. In these situations, we are both immensely grateful that we live near a good local Chinese restaurant.
We have eaten at Shanghai dozens of times, several of them since I started this blog, but I have never written about it for some reason. Perhaps because going to Shanghai almost doesn't feel like eating out for us, the former pie and eel shop turned restaurant has become an extension of our living room by virtue of the amount of time we spend in it.
A fairly lengthy menu and the rare option of dim sum in the evening are overlooked - the latter is invariably disappointing, in favour of roast pork, steamed greens and rice. Unadventurous but always satisfying, Shanghai excels in getting these basic offerings right. The greens are crisp, fresh and cooked to perfection. The pork is sticky and rich or crispy and fatty, depending on our choice of pig dish. Sometimes roast duck graces the plate, sometimes we have fried rice rather than steamed, but the greens are the constant, drawing us back whenever the thought of cooking casts an unhappy shadow and marital strife looks imminent.
We chose Shanghai to cater the London end of our wedding. I think we felt we owed them something because, but for steamed greens and comfort, we might never have lasted long enough to get married.