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Locations for a European restaurant in Shanghai don’t come more idyllic than a converted villa right on the Donghu-Changle triangle. La Faubourg is a pleasant and earnest if not slightly underutilized French restaurant with food that we wish was better than average.

It has all the right ingredients: a chic courtyard, elegant dining room and well-spoken service. Missing though, are the layers of mood and romance from the likes of La Petit Fleur. La Faubourg feels a little too pared-down and sparse.

This is a theme flowing into the cuisine. From a handful of choices, appetizers are not of the considered complexity we expect of fine French cuisine. The too-simple arrangement in a mini croque monsieur (RMB58), slightly limp tomato and basil tartelette (RMB58) and wishy-washy tuna mayonnaise (RMB58) give a feeling of unsophisticated rather than rigorously faithful hands in the kitchen.

Mains are more uplifting. The beef fillet topped with foie gras butter and shoestring fries (RMB138) is tender, masculine and delicious. A similarly brawny and rewarding affair comes in the shape of a cheeseburger served curiously in pita bread (RMB118). Less worthy is a grilled salmon with black and white rice (RMB128) offering little innovation to familiar produce. Tucking into the deliciously rich chocolate fondant (RMB48) and sumptuous crème brulee (RMB48), our misgivings slip away.

Within La Feubourg is a niggle though. On such prime property with arguably the world’s most accomplished cuisine, this should be an escape from reality. We may have slipped away for a few minutes but this is no Parisian fantasy. Here’s hoping the warmer months and idyllic courtyard can bring another ingredient to the table.

  • Le Faubourg
  • 186-1633-9975

  • 758 Changle Lu near Fumin Lu [map]
  • 上海市长乐路758号 近富民路

  • French
  • ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
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