[Shanghai] Fu He Hui 福和慧 is a Michelin-starred vegetarian fine dining restaurant which breaks many boundaries. Tasting-menu only, no website, and you dine in private rooms.
A meal at Fu He Hui can take you on a journey in understanding China’s diverse supply of vegetables and fungi, some of which are extremely exotic.
Therefore, it can be considered the zen temple of haute vegetarian cuisine.
Just a year after opening, Fu He Hui landed No.19 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015, earning itself the Highest New Entry title; while in 2018, it is ranked No. 30.
Fu He Hui literally translates to “fortune and intelligence”, and is located in a modern building in the former International Settlement
Part of the Fu Group of restaurants, it is owned by Fang Yuan and chef-restaurateur Tony Lu. Shanghai-born Chef Tony joined the Fu restaurant group as a consultant in 2005 and became executive chef a couple of years later.
He also serves as consultant to Yong Yi Ting at Mandarin Oriental Pudong.
Unlike the other renowned villa restaurants in the group (Fu 1015, Fu 1039 and Fu 1088), Fu He Hui is not named after its house number.
Set in a colonial townhouse, Fu He Hui lies in a three-storey structure with interiors of neutral palettes of earth and grey tones with lots of stone, wood and fabrics.
Furniture and art pieces from Ming and Qing dynasties (from Fang Yuan’s personal collection of antiques) adorn the 90-capacity restaurant.
It has 11 private rooms, adding a sense of serenity to the space. There are 2 enormous VIP rooms, and a main dining hall on each of the 3 storeys.
Sitting in one of those rooms with such space and decor did make a difference to the dining experience.
With that said, there was another couple on another table in the same room during my initial part of the lunch, and so I could not stop hearing bits and pieces of their conversations.
Fu He Hui is a tasting menu-only restaurant.
There is no a la carte menu. You have a selection of set menus, priced at 580 or 780 RMB (SGD121.60, 163.50), which changes regularly.
Both Chinese and Western cooking methods and techniques are used. Flavour wise, the focus is on intriguing nuances and textures rather than big, bold, spicy types.
Each dish is a refinement of the ingredients’ essences, with salt barely added and no oil.
There is no shortage for unique and creative vegetarian courses here. At times, you may feel you are eating meat, but you are not.
Think Lotus Fungus shaped like a floral ball, poured over with fragrant vegetarian consomme; or Fried Taro Ball that reminded me of chicken, covered with crisp rice revealing “salted egg yolk” inside.
They have a tofu take on Peking Duck – if you are lucky enough to try it out.
Another highlight dish I had was the “Truffle” – of eggplant and asparagus wrapped around with trufle slices.
Mushroom lovers will have the time of their lives.
A wide range of fungi is used extensively in the menus. Even carnivores will love the grilled porcini smoked in a jar with a wand of grape vine.
It is served in a shallow point of mushroom dip strewn with petals of shallot with a shot of fruit vinegar. The Taro Dumplings filled with a smooth taro mash with mushrooms and small diced mountain yam.
Soups are so immaculate and pure. The clear mushroom broth was interestingly poured from a glass beaker.
So pure it tasted like a super condensed cream of mushroom soup minus the calories.
I was also glad some items reflected the city’s rich culture, such as the Shanghainese Breakfast of Sesame Cake, Fried Dough Sticks, Congee and Fermented Tofu.
Even though I am typically a meat lover, the entire meal, service and ambience I would use “imperial-inn” to describe was extremely poetic.
A lyrical meal through and through.
Reservations required. Book your table online.
Fu He Hui (Shanghai) 福和慧
1037 Yuyuan Lu, Changning District, Shanghai, China (Nearest metro: Jiangsu Lu)
福和慧 长宁区愚园路1037, 近江苏路
Tel: +86 21 3980 9188
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 2:00pm; 5:00pm-10:30pm Daily
Google Maps – Fu He Hui (Shanghai)