Rob McKeown
April 01, 2009

China's food scene may still be in its infancy, but two restaurant openings provide a glimpse into its future. Beijing Housed in a slender, two-story space near the Forbidden City, RBL (53 Dong An Men; 86-10/6522-1389; www.rbl-china.com; dinner for two $125) has a wave-shaped bamboo ceiling and soldier-neat rows of white Scandinavian chairs, courtesy of Handel Lee (the man behind Three on the Bund). Whether he's improvising artful plates of sashimi or dishing up seasonal main courses like grilled moonfish with Sichuan peppercorns, sliced truffles, and Chinese broccoli, chef Max Levy employs local products, sourced from Dalian to Hainan. Shanghai Farther south, master designer Adam D. Tihany has created Jade on 36 (33 Fucheng Lu, Pudong Shangri-La; 86-21/6882-8888; dinner for two $220), a rooftop French boîte with a gold ceiling, mahogany walls, and whimsical touches like glowing six-foot-tall snuff bottles. With views of the Bund to inspire him, chef Paul Pairet offers up a wink-wink approach to his cooking: a giant french fry is paired with a ketchup sorbet; foie gras comes wrapped like a lollipop in tamarind accompanied by shots of hot green tea and cold champagne foam.

Jade on 36

Chef de cuisine Franckelie Laloum, formerly of Michelin three-starred Maison Pic and Maison Troisgros, brings his top-shelf experience to this French restaurant on the 36th floor of the Pudong Shangri-La hotel. Views of the Bund are plentiful in this elegant space; red accents and carpeting contrast against neutral-toned floors. The tasting menu includes a roasted pigeon breast with turnip confit and dates, and pan seared goose foie gras with oysters. A popular dessert item, le chocolat consists of a chocolate soufflé tart with vanilla ice cream. Dress is smart casual.

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