Those who have travelled to Vietnam, and particularly to its capital cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, will be more than familiar with the frankly terrifying sea of bikes on the roads, seemingly pedalling in every direction at once, horns blasting. It may be an overwhelming scene for visitors, but it is simply home to locals, and it is this phenomenon that inspired French-Vietnamese expats Lee Lam and his father Quang Minh to name their restaurant Cyclo, which seeks to bring the Shanghai dining scene a much-needed injection of well-executed regional cuisine.
Forget the street-side pho and bun dens you might find temple-side in Saigon; instead Cyclo is a stylishly appointed, colourful space outfitted with oversized windows and fuchsia banquettes, with the hearty Vietnamese cuisine arriving on funky green tableware. None of the décor takes away from the food, however, with the menu overseen by Iron Chef Vietnam winner Chef Quang, as well as Saigon Culinary School head instructor Chef Tan. There’s the classic 15-hour beef pho, and must-tries like bun bo hue (warming beef noodle soup with lemongrass and plenty of shrimp and fish paste), bun cha (vinegared grilled pork belly with vermicelli), and five iterations of the French-Viet classic banh mi sandwich. Great Vietnamese in Shanghai? Finally, yes.
678 Shanxi Bei Lu / +86 21 6135 0150 / lunch & dinner Tue-Sun / facebook.com/cycloshanghai