This plush, tranquil, curious restaurant on Yuyuan Lu is in a category and class of its own. Fu He Hui (福和慧) is the newest concept by the owners of Fu 1088, offering set menus for lunch and dinner priced at RMB380, RMB680 and RMB880.
Though it is an entirely meat-free experience, to simply call it vegetarian doesn't quite do it justice. Fu He Hui's dishes are classically familiar, yet to label it traditional would leave out the element of experimentation in preparation and presentation. Despite the deluxe ambiance, the isolated, almost oppressive arrangement of simple private dining rooms leaves no room to enjoy the decor.
Served in a format that's perhaps similar to the Japanese omakase, a meal at Fu He Hui flows through a series of six to 10 individual courses, each a little more than a mouthful or two. With every course comes an attention to combining and distilling flavors. Each portion must convey an entire course’s story. Our journey started with a trio of small bites; a compression of rich tofu skin formed like a tiny gourd; a sous-vide lotus root stuffed in a plum and a net of wrapped tofu wrapped in a miniature purse of fresh herbs. Each delicious bite set the tone for a meal of very precisely prepared dishes.
Some plates are more familiar, such as a tender longan, walnut and papaya soup in a sultry broth. Others push the boundaries a little bit more; thin slices of eggplant wrapped in kalian are finished off with a drizzle of teriyaki sauce alongside a glass of sharp cider vinegar.
Knowing that each dish is meat-free will be a pure delight to vegetarians and also spark a sense of curiosity in protein cravers. We almost made it through the meal without noticing.
Far more noticeable is the isolation sitting in what feels somewhat like a high-class Japanese prison cell. Fu He Hui is experiential food at a price.
- Fu He Hui
- 021 3980-9188
- 1037 Yuyuan Lu (near Jiangsu Lu) [map]
- 上海市愚园路1037号 (近江苏路)
- ★ ★ ★ ★ ★