On paper, Table d’Hôte, Mr & Mrs Bund’s new “social table” concept, sounds a little like those supper clubs that have been picking up steam over the past few years. Yet our evening flowed on with less self-consciousness than supper clubs often carried. Everything felt so nonchalant and familiar that when our hosts, at one point, described it as “grandmother’s table,” it didn’t feel far off the mark — that is, if our grandmothers could manage the level of exquisite precision that Mr. Paul Pairet’s kitchen turns out on a daily basis.
Just as Shanghai is bemoaning the sudden departure of Botanik, The Nest group has taken over the newly vacated rooftop haven with a new concept, aptly named Perch by The Nest. Mr. Freddy Raoult has brought an entirely different sort of cooking to this familiar setting, showing off a creative streak previously unseen at the group’s other operations. A distinct contrast from Botanik’s knowledge-laden dining experience, an evening at Perch is, more than anything else, just a very good time.
Brunch has become a rather predictable affair in Shanghai, yet Coquille manages to turn our expectation on its head. Under owner Mr. John Liu and chef Mr. Patrick Leano, Coquille’s production of this weekend midday meal is not so much a Benedict-and-avocado-toast brunch as it is an excuse to bask in Mr. Leano’s version of indulgent French fare for those of us too impatient to wait for dinnertime.
At first glance, Polux’s menu might seem somewhat pedestrian for Mr. Paul Pairet, who is probably best known for his accolade-studded, avant-garde restaurant Ultraviolet. But this repertoire of simple Gallic comfort food is expressed in a strong typeface and the occasional exclamation point. Even the simplest things manage to surprise, perfect in a way that we no longer expect, reminding us all the more emphatically what a formidable team occupies the kitchen.
There is something endearing about chef Michael Wilson’s unassuming yet sophisticated approach to French fine dining. Across months, then years, my visits bore witness to the burgeoning consistency and confidence, insight and intuition in Mr. Wilson’s dishes, displayed with an understated flair not often found at hotel restaurants. So his recent foray into tasting menus feels very much like a logical and natural next step.
In a way that few restaurants do, The Pine draws me in from many directions: impeccable techniques, poised eloquence, a simple, earnest desire to please, and an acute perceptiveness into the local palate, expressed with a coherence and congruity that can elude many chefs, let alone one who moved to Shanghai barely 6 months ago.
Chef Wendling’s brand of generous French comfort would be welcome any time of the year, but it is particularly appreciated on cold winter nights. As the whole city shivers and shudders, the golden glow spilling from Cuivre’s wide windows beckons us inside with the promise of warmth, comfort, and generous southern French fare.
Sitting in the dining room with all its careful luxuries perched six floors above Central, economy might be a difficult outfit to imagine Amber wearing. But if any restaurant knows what that word means when it comes to deciding what goes onto the plate and what stays off, it’s Amber.
Possibly the fanciest rotisserie in Shanghai to date, Paris Blanc looks promising on the surface. What comes to the table – at the moment at least – is a different story.
Terroir Parisien is a generous and approachable celebration of appetite, with an abundance of well-executed bistro classics. Unlike the refined creations at Mr. Alleno’s Michelin-starred establishments, the menu here is a collection of Parisian bistro classics, from rillettes and terrines to steaks and stews.