Shanghai Restaurant Review: Golden Lily

By Cristina Ng, November 2, 2019

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The Place

Golden Lily resides in a sprawling property on Jianguo Xi Lu replete with a retro British bar, mock frescos and gorgeous terrace that you might remember as the Notting House. The food is French-Vietnamese fusion. Considering the French influence already present in Vietnamese cooking, that seems like an easy menu to execute. In addition to a China Eastern pilot, the other partners have ties to Pho Joy and Roof325. Keeping things interesting, their chef hails from Yunnan.

The Food

Golden Lily serves a fairly affordable mix of French and Vietnamese dishes with things like Thai tom yum kung soup, beef carpaccio or burrata cheese salad thrown in for good measure. Pan-Asian meets European is a much more accurate description.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's 

We stuck to Asian items for our starters, and they do Vietnamese Spring Rolls (RMB58) pretty well. The pork, prawn and vegetable filling is flavorful, and they don’t skimp on the fish sauce which is much appreciated. Less successful are the Thai-Style Shrimp Pancakes (RMB78) due to lackluster texture.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

Pork Neck (RMB78) is a delicious cut of meat ideal for grilling, but too thin slices have lost too much fat without acquiring a char. A boldly pungent chili sauce does its best to save the day.


Images by Cristina Ng/That's

You can’t judge a Vietnamese restaurant without ordering the Pho (RMB78), and they do a fairly decent one. Simmering the stock for six hours imparts a beefy flavor, although it could use a stronger hand with the spices and aromatics – especially star anise. Still, the beef is tender, the noodles are supple and the tendon melts in the mouth. Fresh basil, Thai coriander, scallions, fresh chili and lime perk things up. 

Food Verdict: 1.5/3

The Vibe

The restaurant is bustling with Chinese guests and does very well at lunchtime due to RMB78 lunch sets. This part of Jianguo Xi Lu is relatively low on reasonable-priced restaurants – for reference, Le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire is across the street – so the mostly cheap menu and always cheerful service is a welcome addition. And with a welcoming bar, you can always pop in for some spring rolls and a beer. 

Vibe Verdict: 1.5/2

Total Verdict: 3/5

Price: RMB80-250 per person
Who’s going: lots of Chinese diners, neighborhood folks
Good for: lunch sets, quiet dinners

[Cover image by Cristina Ng/That's]

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See a listing for Golden Lilly. Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews

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