LIU YUAN PAVILION, the Shanghainese restaurant in The Broadway, Wan Chai, is smart and slick, decorated in various shades of beige and white. Although one might easily tire of these modern, minimalist restaurants, fortunately, the food here is quite the opposite to the decor: it is rich, full of personality and vibrancy. Most Shanghainese meals commence with lots of little appetisers to graze on. Liu Yuan Pavilion serves all the traditional favourites, from drunken chicken and sugary crispy eel to rubbery jellyfish and mock goose made from bean curd sheets. The appetisers all cost about $80 for a large serving, and about $40 for a small portion. We sample the spiced duck - a bit of a misnomer because the duck has been smothered in a sticky, honeyed, red sauce that isn't spicy. We are happier with the braised gluten simmered with bamboo shoots and delicious little Shanghainese broad beans. The fried dumplings (war teep) are excellent, a little more refined than usual with thin dough, delicate pork filling and discreet use of oil. Also from the dim sum section are little baked pastries of minced turnip. Liu Yuan Pavilion's speciality is crab with salted egg ($180), which is a brilliant dish. A jointed crab (not the hairy variety) is fried with very finely chopped salted duck's eggs and lots of oil. This coats the crab shell in a salty, exceedingly rich, gritty, golden orange sauce that at first glance resembles crab roe. The dish is lusciously rich and an absolute must if you dine here. A tureen of chicken soup with won ton ($140) is also a big success and explains why superior stock is so important in Chinese food and something so often discussed. Liu Yuan's is a version others should aspire to. It has intensity of flavour and a rich sweetness. A dish of sauteed 'grass heads' follows - this is a direct translation from cho tao as none of the staff can give me the English name. It looks very much like small, delicate pea shoots with a more defined, slightly bitter taste. Apparently it's gathered wild in the environs of Shanghai. The dish is unique and interesting. We conclude with an excellent dish of noodles ($45). Very fine egg noodles are braised in a soy-based gravy and garnished with shredded spring onions and flecks of dried shrimp. The spring onion has been repeatedly fried until dark and impregnated with oil. It is very concentrated and intense in flavour. This dish is also a must-try. Our lunch for two, which would easily have fed four or five, cost $703. I would definitely return, but with a few more friends so we can enjoy more of the unique and beautifully prepared dishes. Liu Yuan Pavilion, 3/F, The Broadway, 54-62 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai. Tel: 2804 2000. Open: noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm.