Add: Shop S215 Taikoo Hui, 789 Nanjing Xi Road, Shanghai 石门一路288号 兴业太古汇南广场S215
Tel: +86 (21) 6266 8351
Hours: Mon-Thur 11:00-23:00, Fri-Sun 11:00-24:00
Price: [lunch] 188 / 3-course; [dinner] 400-650
Visited: January 2018
Will return: No
The year of chicken might be drawing to a close, but the rotisseries just keep on coming. Possibly the fanciest rotisserie in Shanghai to date, Paris Blanc opened last November in the posh Taikoo Hui, helmed by the people behind Paris Rouge. But where Paris Rouge delights us with fantastic renditions of beef Wellington and pâté en croûte, Paris Blanc fails to live up to the hype.
The restaurant looks promising on the surface. The menu encompasses essentials like chicken and pork, as well as more exotic options like pheasant and rabbit. All of this is cooked in a pair of professional-looking rotisserie ovens standing proudly in the open kitchen.
What comes to the table, however, is a different story. The pheasant arrives sitting on a bed of straw with its head held high, yet we fail to see what it could possibly be proud of. The meat is almost inedibly tough, and lacks any trace of the rounded depth we expect from game meat.
French roasted wild pheasant (468)
The rabbit comes already carved into dry, wizened pieces. The sauce underneath adds very little except sweetness, which the rabbit doesn’t need. That same sauce drags down a roasted pork knuckle, which at least has the benefit of being reasonably tender.
Semi-wild rabbit (268)
Crispy suckling pig (238)
There are only two things from our dinner that we might consider ordering again (that is, if we ever stumble into this restaurant again in what would have to be drunken lack of judgment). A hulking 800g ribeye sports a nice crust over juicy, flavorsome meat, but comes at a whopping RMB768. Easier on the pocketbook is the potato gratin, pleasantly creamy with a kick of black pepper at the end.
300 days grain-fed ribeye (768)
Appetizers see some nice ideas fumbled in execution. An overeager application of tartar sauce drowns out chunks of pork feet with a likably gelatinous texture. Sharp vinegar and pointed mustard rather punch the lights out of a delicate fish tartare. Tender beef tongue is trapped in a jelly that tastes of little else but gelatin.
French warm pork feet with tartar sauce (98)
Smoked daily fish tartare (138)
Traditional candied beef tongue terrine (98)
Desserts sit in the menu under the header “fresh herbe dessert.” (And no, that’s not a typo – at least not on my part.) There is a “lemongrass caramel cheese cake” that tastes of neither lemongrass nor caramel. The “fresh basil chocolate fondant” is nothing like basil and not enough like chocolate. But at least they beat the “crispy honey peach” and the ring-shaped lemon tart, both of which just come off as misconceived and bewildered.
Lemongrass caramel cheese cake (68)
Fresh basil chocolate fondant (79)
Crispy honey peach (72)
Fresh mint lemon tart (76)
The space is also mind-boggling with all the different themes. Four huge chandeliers, an array of overstated animal prints, and – wait for it – a dancing pole in the center of the room combine to give the impression of a French dining room being invaded by a circus and a night club at the same time.
Paris Blanc is a grand-looking restaurant that under-delivers, displaying the form of an upscale French rotisserie but not the sense. If you just want a fancy place to show off and don’t really care about what you put in your mouth, then this would be a nice option. But be careful not to drink too much – there’s only one bathroom.