Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Jade on 36, Shangri-La, L36, 33 Fucheng Road, Pudong, Shanghai

Jade on 36, Shangri-La, L36, 33 Fucheng Road, Pudong, Shanghai
Wednesday 10 May, 2006

Pudong Shangri-La Hotel is located in the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone of Shanghai. Prominently situated along the famous Huangpu River, the hotel has breathtaking views of Shanghais' legendary riverfront - the Bund and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower.

Jade on 36 was recently honoured as one of Shanghai's best new restaurants by Food & Wine magazine and the interiors have been designed by Adam Tihany. Tihany has conceived interiors for some 300 luxury restaurants - many for celebrated chefs - and boutique hotels e.g. Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong and the Aleph in Rome.

From the Lobby of Tower 2 you take a private elevator to the 36th floor. There are staff to greet you in the lobby and again in the restaurant reception. You are immediately overwhelmed by the decor - Adam Tihany describes the interior as...'the everyday rice bowl becomes a gigantic 3 dimensional sculptured gateway to the restaurant. The emperor's gown becomes the inspiration for an intricately folded ceiling feature in the main dining room. The snuff bottles assume a gigantic proportion and become sculptured glass floor light fixtures, and the small and delicate silk box containing jade objects become a full scale bar enclosure where people are the objects.' For a first time visitor it is a commanding and beautiful setting and I especially loved the effect of giant rice bowl which symbolises you are about to eat and the giant snuff bottles - they are captivating.

The staff are as you would expect, courteous, discreet and efficient. The chef, Paul Pairet, hails from France, and is known for his avant-garde culinary style. Previously, he has been a culinary consultant for the Fréres Costes in Paris, opened CAM - the bold restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Istanbul, and the Mosaic at the Relais Carrè d'Or in Paris.

The menu is described as European, American and Australian - what on earth does that mean? - I'm guessing it means international as there were thai, french and japanese menu offerings. The menu itself is divided into three parts - the first is the signature degustation menu with matched wines, the second is titled large and offers three different degustation menus, and the third is titled small and offers another three degustation menus. For a foodie, this restaurant is a dream with fantastic food pairings e.g. crispy pigeon skin with cocoa leaf and strawberry, flavours and unique offerings e.g. salmon mousse served in a tin can with a wafer thin biscuit on the side.

I opted for one of the menus from the large section called Orange, however, there are three complimentary starters:

- salmon mousse served in a tin can with a wafer thin biscuit on the side
- chinese tea with champagne froth in a shot glass
- bite size fois gras with honey shell positioned on the end of a chopstick

The Orange menu consisted of:

- Thai fruit salad with pineapple froth
- Quintessential sashimi with port jelly
- Pigeon, cocoa leaf and strawberry
- Steamed smoked choy fois gras
- Monte Carlo clay sea bass
- Roquefort with pear and port jelly
- Mango liquorice and dill
- Peanuts with nori crackers and green tea ice cream

After the sea bass another complimentary dish arrived - Rocket salad tossed with balsamic vinegar and salt with a single, very large french fry chopped up in bite size pieces. At the end of meal another complimentary dish arrived - toffee pudding served in a clear teacup.

To describe the food I would say WOW! My favourite dish would have to be the sea bass. Firstly, a stand is set up next to the table and then a tray is delivered that consists of 2 empty plates, a small pouring jar of basil and a baking tray filled with the seabass under a coating of sour dough. The waiter carefully taps the hard sour dough and removes each piece to reveal a seaweed covered piece of sea bass. This is transfered to an empty plate where the seaweed is expertly removed and the sea bass is finally moved to last empty late. The basil is poured over the top and it is presented to the table.

It would be very hard to fault any aspect of this dining experience.

Jade on 36 - Shangri-La, L36, 33 Fucheng Road, Pudong, Shanghai - 86 21 6882 3636


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