Shangri-La strikes gold at Jade
2007-09-12 13:56:48 [ Big Normal Small ]     Comment
Shangri-La strikes gold at Jade

The city's more adventurous foodies can now enjoy a memorably entertaining dining experience with the latest additions to Jade on 36's menu.

The Pudong Shangri-La's top-floor, top-drawer restaurant has often been given the molecular tag, but French chef Paul Pairet has been and continues to be adamant that, like grandfather of the movement Ferran Adria himself, his fare defies the now-conventional label. This is not a revolution of contemporary cuisine but rather an evolution.

Diners can see more clearly now the moniker was simply selected out of convenience by lazy journalists, as is often the case. Instead, the degustation menus are aimed at turning the notion of what we see, feel and taste on its head and throw it back to us in surprising ways.

As before, the set meals come in three sizes, and range from 450 yuan (US$60) to 988 yuan. While this may seem steep, the sheer effort that goes into each creation justifies the cost.

Each menu starts with a playful element. The popular foie gras opera has been given a timely update in the form of a strawberry-encased goose liver cigarette, complete with ash tray and edible powder for dip.

The Thai fruit yogurt was concocted to demonstrate a lesson in balance and does so with aplomb. Each morsel of the sour dairy brought a new plethora of taste to the palate, leaving one marveling at their tastebuds' ability to detect so many sensations at once. This was a "welcome-back" note to returning diners, reminding them of what Jade is capable of and where it planned to go.

Even more amusing was the DIY instant noodle. A syringe had been packed with frozen coconut puree which hardened instantaneously when injected into the hot beef consomme. A spoon of caviar and garnish is provided on the side to go with the single stand, balancing the strong flavors of the soup and tropical fruit.

One of the highlights of the new Crimson menu was the toro version of steak frites. A strip of incredibly tender fatty tuna belly sashimi was served with a single over-sized French fry and a foam of Dijon mustard. The soft, sensuous fish and the rustic potato were a great match in taste and texture, while serving Dijon instead of wasabi was also an ingenious idea.

Main course on the Magenta menu was a lamb kebab "with the lot." Instead of a fistful of wrapped mutton, however, the dish was infused with the spicy, smoky flavor of eggplant while the cooling creamy cucumber dip again gave balance to the otherwise extremely strong flavors. The fat practically falls apart in the mouth, while the meat remained firm; again a reminder that how one of Pairet's dishes is never cooked the way it looks.

An open-mind is an abject necessity, as the French Catalan enjoys teasing diners with appearance. The breakfast encore was a dessert that looked very much like an early morning meal but was far from it. A coconut panna cotta with orange filling was made to look like a poached egg, while passion fruit sorbet on the side again and sweet bread rounded the dish off.

Eclectic presentation is a key element to the fare on offer, and items like the texture-less lychee dandelion on a stick or the cucumber lollipop with embedded nuts make for fun eating as well as great taste.

The food this time round gives the impression that the Adam Tihany-designed restaurant is more confident that local gourmets are grasping the concept and being more forthright as time goes on.

While the fine-dining restaurant may not be a place to visit every week, it is undoubtedly worth taking first-time visitors to enjoy the spectacular view that is almost outshone by what is on the plate.

Jade on 36
Address: 33 Fucheng Road
Tel: 021-6882-3636
Related:
Maneo moderately memorable (2007-09-03 12:54:54)

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