What: A chef. A mop-headed rambler. A painter of teapots and oversized canvasses. An antique collector. The guy in the corner booth with the flask of hot water and a stack of messy papers. An amateur philanthropist and a self-styled saver of culture. Xie Cheng Cheng is all of these things. At the moment he’s rewarding his chef’s progress in piano lessons with bonuses. Oh, and selling those hand-painted teapot sets for ¥3,000. He’s a businessman, too.
Look: It’s a jumble of Old Shanghai with a touch of cheese: beautiful, worn wood floors from razed lane housing, antique sewing machines and refrigerators, wooden screens from a bank on the Bund, Alice in Wonderland high-backed chairs painted glittery gold, baskets in the rafters...
Food: Cheng Cheng does three distinct cuisines: “Old Shanghainese”, as he calls it, spicy, Sichuan-style food, and mock-meat vegetarian food, made with the meat lookalikes from Longhua Temple.
Bill: Dinner for two, about ¥400.