Just came across an article in the Los Angeles Times from two weeks ago by Christopher Hawthorne about Shanghai.
There is no view in the world quite like it. The skylines of Hong Kong and Rio may be perched on the edge of more dramatic natural locations. European capitals may have deeper collections of architectural masterpieces. But only in Shanghai can you see unfettered 21st century ambition facing off as dramatically against the early 20th century version.
Hawthorne goes on to describe having dinner at a private club called the Yong Foo Elite — coincidentally, it’s where we had dinner in Shanghai on March 1st.
The club fills an entire compound, really, centered on a 1930s villa that once held the British Consulate. The interior has been impeccably restored, its cracked, dark-stained wood now gleaming and the central garden beautifully landscaped. But what makes it pitch perfect is the effortless way it mixes elements of Western and Eastern design: Chinese lanterns, for example, hanging from a magnolia tree and illuminating the neoclassical details of the villa’s facade.
The club is a wonderful setting for a traditional Shanghai dinner — but watch out for the maotai!