By Jola Chudy
Who wants divine dishes in sumptuous Art Deco surroundings? Me, please, says CEO Middle East
It’s only been open a few short months, but Shanghai Me is already making waves and garnering accolades amongst the city’s foodie cognoscenti thanks to its beautiful blend of old-world elegance and intricate, exquisitely plated dishes.
Delicate sprays of potted bougainvillea and potted palms evoke cherry blossoms and tropical foliage, a local take on Asian flora that sets an elegant, pretty stage for the stunning interior within. Designed by Michele Bonan, the space nods to 1930s Shanghai and the welcome is as elegant as the setting.
Gorgeous red leather chairs surround linen-clad table tops inside, where a private dining room and extravagant décor showcases the golden age of Shanghai style; outside there is an adjoining terrace framed by bamboo and bougainvillea, where diners can enjoy the al fresco ambience over a cocktail or two.
The restaurant comes courtesy of hospitality superstars The Bulldozer Group, who seem to hit the ground running with every concept they concoct – foodies may be familiar with Gaia, Cipriani, and Scalini which each wow diners to return, a rarity in the fickle restaurant scene.
What’s clear about Shanghai Me, from the moment you step in, is the careful lavishing of attention on every detail, from the aesthetic – that gorgeous, lavish interior – to the gustatory, with each morsel of food revealing a balance of texture and flavour that is profoundly satisfying.
There’s something almost thrilling about eating incredible food – a little high, a mood instantly elevated. No wonder diners are raving about it, I mean, who doesn’t want to get high over dinner?
There are familiar favourites on the menu such as Cantonese Roast Duck and Szechuan Style Prawns along with perfect little Dum Sum and Bao Buns, but also dishes that offer a contemporary twist on classics, such as Prawn Dumplings with Truffle and Baked Silver Cod with Pickled Ginger.
The latter two appear on a set business lunch menu that allows diners to pop in and enjoy a choice of soup, appetiser and main course for an eminently reasonable AED120.
In each instance, the focus is on offering diners an immersion into Asian culinary tradition, but with a modern, light twist that reveals an element of the unexpected alongside those familiar favourites.