Friday, May 25, 2007

Laris, The Bund, Shanghai

Laris, The Bund, Shanghai
Friday 25 May, 2007

After a cocktail at the Glamour Bar we walked across the street to Three on the Bund and took the lift to level 6.

Three on the Bund is described as a celebration of contemporary living; a place where art, culture, food, fashion and music converge to inspire a richer life. Situated in a landmark seven storey historical building. Three on the Bund comprises four restaurants, a music lounge, an art gallery showcasing thought provoking contemporary Chinese exhibits, an exclusive day spa and barber and two floors of high end retail outlets featuring world renowned brands.

What an experience this restaurant offers! We had a sensational evening and I would have to say it is up there with Vue De Monde (my all time favourite dining experience).
An article in Smart Shanghai stated,

"David Laris, an internationally renowned chef who has received critical acclaim for his cuisine at prestigious restaurants on several continents, including Conran Group flagship Mezzo in London, says his food reflects not only his Australian Greek roots, but also his experiences, passions and travels. Says Laris, "My food signifies a freedom from any ethnic labels." The 1,700 square meter space has been transformed to include a decadently designed vault, bar and lounge; a modern classic dining room; a "seafood and more" bar, serving the finest wines and champagnes by the glass; and two stunning private rooms. Featured dishes include David's tantalizing Seared Scallops on Parsnip Mash with Oyster Lemon Foam, and sweets such as his delectable Pandan Leaf Panna Cotta."

"The Design Designed by celebrated architect Michael Graves, Laris features six distinct but ingeniously complementary spaces comprising a waiting lounge, the Vault bar, the "seafood and more" bar (Fins, Claws & Wings), the main dining room and two private dining rooms. After the dramatic simplicity of the entrance, the waiting area is one in which guests can enjoy a drink or order light, tasty snacks."

"The main dining room is a wholly different space, with pleasing and soothing tones of white on white, from the flowers to the spotless table cloths. Areas of blue-gray in the leather of the banquettes and the fabric on the plush, over-sized chairs give added definition, while overhead lighting is an ingenious collaboration of alabaster stone and silk fabric which lends both the softest of light and a cloud-like feeling. According to David: "Laris is a place for individuals who are excited by remarkable food, design and style. It is about elegance but not pretense, featuring beautiful but comfortable spaces and outstanding contemporary cuisine and service. It will warm and stimulate - not only the palate, but all the senses - with the convergence of chef and designer."
When you exit the elevator on the level 6 you are greeted with white/ grey marble columns, walls and floors and yellow lighting that spells out Laris in the entrance foyer. It's unique and just ahead is the reception desk. The staff are impeccably dressed and all greet you as they walk past. As we were shown to our table the actual size of the restaurant is overwhelming however it's divided up into different dining/ bar spaces so it is deceiving. The main dining room commands the view across the Bund to Pudong and is a mix of tables and round booths and are well spaced so you are not listening to the next tables conversation.
We were directed to a booth and admired the simple, elegant table setting (including the napkin folded in the shape of a men's business shirt) and single Arum lilly on display. Our waiter was a knowledgeable, friendly man who anticipated our every need and ensured we had a fantastic night. The menu is large but our waiter talked us through it and offered his own recommendations based on our food preferences. After deciding on the Tasting Menu with matched wines we kicked off the experience with a bottle of Bollinger - why not, we were celebrating! As a bit of a joke I asked our waiter if we could meet the chef during the course of the evening.
Within 10 minutes we were introduced to the delightful Gerhard Passrugger (Executive Chef) from Kracher, Austria. Gerhard has lived in Shanghai for 4 years and prior to that lived in Sydney and worked at Burtons - what a small world. We could have spoken with him for hours and he kept returning throughout the evening to discuss a dish and chat about Sydney.
The Tasting Menu comprised:
- Amuse Bouse - 2 x shot glasses - Potato foam topped with parma ham - Clam and shallot shooter
- Tuna with wasabi infused sushi rice, avocado and pink ginger, egg white dressing
- Pan roasted scallops on parsnip puree and foaming oyster nage (our delightful Executive Chef - Gerhard Passrugger - added beluga cavier to this dish just for us)
- King prawns wrapped in pancetta on honey & thyme, pickled cucumber, cumin yoghurt and quince
- Cod fillet with mono miso emulsion, sea urchin and braised daikon
- Beef tenderloin with panceta and fois gras terrine, porcini mushrooms and fried green beans
- Dessert tasting plate - 4 x mini desserts - Hazlenut ice cream on sesame wafer, Carrot cake topped with strawberry and vanila sauce, Chocolate fondant, Cheesecake & strawberry brulee

There were several moments during the night where I felt I had died and gone to heaven. For starters the Tuna with wasabi infused sushi rice, avocado and pink ginger, egg white dressing was an absolute knockout. This dish is up there with Shannon Bennett's truffle risotto. For one of my China buddies the scallops were so deliciously good they bought tears to her eyes.
The matched wines were impressive and full compliments must go to the staff. We watched in awe as the Maitre'd kept a discreet eye on each table and effortlessly managed the floor. Our waiter definitely knew his stuff and shared his knowledge of each dish and matched wine with ease.
There is nothing to fault here - it was an experience. The food, wine, staff and atmosphere were exceptional. I love dining at a restaurant where they take their service as seriously as their food. Laris is a must.

Laris - 6th floor, No 3 The Bund - T: (86 21) 6321 9922


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