Following a hairy crab-centric meal at Ling Long Ge on our first night, followed by a xiao long bao-heavy lunch at Nanxiang Steamed Bun, this was our first opportunity for a regular sit down meal with just a few traditional Shanghainese dishes and rice. Grandly decorated Jardin de Jade, in a building just off Shanghai's famous shopping street, Nanjing Road, albeit at the end away from the shops, is considered to be one of the best restaurants in town serving the local cuisine, and thus, a fitting introduction to the delights we would be sampling in the days to come.
Amongst the cold dishes, Vegetarian Abalone was very nice - close my eyes and I might not even have known it wasn't real abalone; Braised Goose Liver in Sake was decent, but as a regular consumer of foie gras, nothing I haven't tasted a million times before; Sweet and Sour Ribs was tender and appetising.
Sliced Ham with Honey Sauce was absolutely divine - the ham meltingly tender yet firm, with just the right amount of fat, topped with a lovely, well-balanced, and of course, beautifully sweet honey sauce. The mun tou, or bun, that accompanied it was really soft and bouncy too. A great dish all around.
"Jardin de Jade" Jasmin Tea Smoked Duck was very good too, the smokiness coming through very strongly. Black Pepper Beef was more ordinary, but did at least succeed in a.) being peppery, and b.) not being too tough or chewy. Sauteed River Shrimp was thoroughly unexciting - we were to have better versions later in the trip. House Special Steamed Reeves Shad, while not exactly a blow you away dish, was pleasant enough, and left me with no complaints whatsoever.
Finally, we had a basket of House Speciality Juicy Steamed Pork and Crab Meat Dumplings, known to you and me as xiao long bao (or siew long bao if you are of a Cantonese persuasion), to try - the dumpling wrapper was thinner here than at Nanxiang Steamed Bun at lunchtime, but the flavour of the filling, whilst still good, couldn't quite match up to the legendary XLB specialist.
For dessert, Mango Juice with Pomelo & Fresh Mango was light and refreshing, as it almost always is.
In a nutshell...
All things told, this was a quality, if fairly pricey, and not quite exceptional, meal, and served as a great curtain raiser for the kind of food we would be eating a lot more of in the following days. Straight after early dinner, we went to ERA, an absolutely brilliant acrobatics show that I cannot recommend highly enough. A very pleasant evening all round.
Jardin de Jade
3/F Block C, 300 Fang Dian Road, Shanghai, China
+86 21 68540707
Average Price: RMB400-RMB500