I visited an old friend, The Pleased, now living in Shanghai and went out for lunch. She’d picked a restaurant in the French Concession: very chic, all daylight filtered through bamboo groves and undressed concrete walls. After a week of large dinners, I was ready for the modern China. It is different. Take the dish above: not a chocolatey dessert. It is smoked eggplant, with bacon shavings on top. I liked the presentation. The taste is familiar to any Indian who has eaten baingan bharta, but the smoky tone of the original is no longer available in most restauarants in Mumbai. This was very definitely smoky. The black bean sauce was a good addition. I liked the way the pungent taste exploded in the mouth.
The restaurant was a nice introduction to the new China. I’d only seen its art work till now. This lunch introduced me to its food. I’m sure I want to explore more of this.