Thursday, July 19, 2007

Jade on 36

Pudon Shangri-La
Level 36, tower 2,
33 Fu Cheng Lu,
Pudong, Shanghai 200120

I had never heard of Paul Pairet the chef of Jade on 36 but apparently I should have. He’s not only been making waves for over 20 years in Hong Kong, Sidney, Paris and Istanbul he’s almost as good as Heston at the Fat Duck. This is “Cuisine Moleculaire” at its best and not only my best meal in Shanghai it is one of the best meals ever.

It also does not harm at all that the meal is eaten in the splendid surroundings of the 36th floor of the Shangri-La hotel. Very futuristic design (by a certain Adam D. Tihany who apparently I should have heard of) and stunning views over the city of tomorrow as the Shanghaiese like to refer to their city.

We went for the full experience by taking the biggest menu and the Chef’s recommended manner of experiencing his food. The range of food, however, is such that you’d need to several visits and similar sized menus to have sampled Mr. Pairet’s full repertoire.

Jade XL Menu

Tuna & Yellowtail
Dandelion Sashimi

Good start but not very memorable;

Foie Gras
Passion-Choco Foie Gras Opera

This dish really set the bar for the rest of the menu to beat. Really counterintuitive but basically the classic opera cake (chocolate, chocolate ganace, coffee foam and almond pastry) with the chocolate replaced by foie gras except for a layer of cocoa powder over passion fruit gel. Served with toasted brioche, simply sensational.

Truffle Burnt Soup Bread

Toasted whole wheat bread poached in soup Meuniere covered with Chinese black truffle, truffle oil and meunier foam. With burnt bread butter what ever that is. Good fun very unusual taste.

Duck a l’Orange Sunny Side Up
Lemmon & Coconut Roast Duck

This dish is almost ridiculously funny. Basically, roast duck served with an “egg” where the egg white is made of coconut foam and yoke is made of orange juice for an egg sunny side up. They add asparagus, fava beans and green pea purée for a perfect breakfast!

Jumbo Shrimp
Jumbo Shrimp Citrus Jar

Jumbo Shrimp stewed in a kilner jar with its own juices, lemongrass and orange juice for about 45 minutes. Supposedly, this is the chef’s most famous and oldest creation and it has been celebrated in loads of publications. I can see why, this is the kind of dish that you just don’t want to finish, it is that good.

Black Cod
Black Cod Hong Kong

Not the classic black cod of Nobu fame rather a steamed affair in a kind of sous vide type technique. The cod is put into a heat-proof bag with what they call Cantonese-style soy sauce, orange and butter. This soy is made of soy, sesame oil, star anise and truffle oil; not sure how Cantonese that is but no complaints as it was very good. I feel a little churlish to say this but this dish that was merely good, hardly up to the standards of the rest of the fare.

Beef Short Rib
Rib Teriyaki

Beef rib cut right back so that about 10 cm of meat remain in the middle with the rest of the rib totally clean. Braised for twelve hours, lacquered with a teriyaki glaze, served with fried garlic, truffle mash and orange reduction. There really is no way of explaining just how good that was. My mouth still waters at the thought.

Lemon & Lemon Tart

Candy a whole lemon, remove the pulp and replace with lemon sorbet, lemon curd and vanilla Chantilly serve with lemon sablee. This was definitely another oh my god moment.

Mango, Liquorice, Dill

Mango, some sort of liquorice gel, syrupy dill… very good mango but with everything else I needed to remember this one is a little vague.

Brandy & Cigars because in Communist China they don’t have fascist rules forbidding private landlords from allowing their guest to smoke.

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