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Monthly Archives: December 2013

Dining on the Bund in Shanghai

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I have recently returned from a trip to Shanghai which is to me, a culinary mecca. In previous visits I have dined at some outstanding restaurants which exemplify the best in Shanghainese  cuisine.

The purpose of this visit was to sample some of the best of the historical tradition of sophisticated European dining, part of Shanghai’s fascinating heritage from the economic dominance of European commerce in the early 20th century.

The Bund is one of the most well known sights in central Shanghai, an embankment where the modern financial district of Pudong faces the grandeur of art deco buildings across the Huangpu River. These buildings once housed numerous banks and trading houses from western countries.

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Today many of these buildings have been transformed into high end dining venues, which showcase some of the best European food in the world.

I was fascinated, visiting these restaurants, by the architectural transformation of large internal commercial spaces into sophisticated industrial chic, designs which reflect the clever and at times transformational food concepts on the menus.

Here is a brief impression of some unique dining experiences on the Bund.

Mr and Mrs Bund

http://www.mmbund.com

Bund 18, 6/F, 18 Zhongshan
Dong Yi Road, Shanghai 200002
+86 21 6323 9898

A “playful haute French bistro headed by chef Paul Pairet” as described by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants (and ranked Number 43), was my favourite dining experience of this trip. My second visit confirmed my first: innovation meets tradition, sophistication meets funky, culinary artifice meets simplicity of flavours.

The website will give you a much better idea of the food of this establishment than this writer can produce in one short review.

Here is what I ate on Saturday 14 December 2013:

Soft Egg MayoIMG_3287

Salmon Meuniere IMG_3288

Escalivada – charred-grilled eggplant, capsicum, zucchini and tomatoesIMG_3290

Asparagus Essential ParmesanIMG_3292

Orange and Orange Tart – candied whole orange, orange sorbet and curd, vanilla chantilly and crumbsIMG_3308

The theatricks of this dish made it the epitome of the dining experience: a simple whole orange on a plate, which, when cut open, reveals layer upon layer of flavour, colour and texture.

The Westin Bund Centre Shanghai

88 Henan Middle Rd, Huangpu, Shanghai, China +86 21 6335 1888

The Sunday Veuve Clicquot Brunch at the Westin Hotel is legendary. I experienced this on Sunday 15 December 2013.

Two floors of sumptuous food encompassing all major cuisines. Ice-cream, chocolate and desserts feature strongly, which was very well received by this writer with a sweet tooth!

And of course the free flowing Veuve Clicquot!

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M on the Bund

http://www.m-restuarantgroup.com/bund

20 Guangdong Rd, Huangpu, Shanghai, China +86 21 6350 9988

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This restaurant has a more intimate feel than other restaurants on the Bund. Its rooftop terrace and low ceilings create a warm and inviting atmosphere. The views from the paned windows and terrace are stunning, day or night.

While I enjoyed the food I found it it a little un-adventurous. Mood won out over food for me.

The highlight of my meal on Monday 16 December 2013 was dessert:

Baked raspberry Bombe Raspberry-icecream, sponge cake and Italian meringue.

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Mecato

http://www.threeonthebund.com

6F, Three on the Bund, No. 3
Zhong Shan Dong Yi Road
Shanghai, 200002 China
+ 86 21 6323 3355

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This Italian restaurant from three Michelin star Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is situated on the Bund in close proximity to Mr and Mrs Bund and M on the Bund.

I was very impressed with the raw industrial concept of the architectural design. The dining space feels like an abandoned commercial space has been superimposed with the makings of a restaurant.

Huge concrete pillars, rusting steel frames and a rough hewn wooden floor create a perfect backdrop for the no-nonsense rustic Italian food.

You can see from the photos the beautiful art deco windows overlooking the Bund which somehow do not seem at odds with the exposed industrial structures within the restaurant.

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On Tuesday 17 December I ate a simple meal of:

Rigatoni and Meatballs, Smoked Chili-Tomato Ragu – House Made PastaIMG_3375

Daily Selection of House-Made Gelati or Sorbetti – chocolate, pistachio and vanilla gelatoIMG_3377

My dining companion ordered a Dark Chocolate Tart with gelato.IMG_3376

This was my last dining experience on this trip, and it was made even more enjoyable as I had broken my ankle the night before, and determined to go to Mercato, I had made it to the restaurant on a cold and rainy night on crutches!

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Christmas Day Trifle

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This is my traditional dessert for a cold Christmas lunch on what is usually a hot Australian Christmas day. The day, this year, 2013, was a little cooler than usual, but the trifle was well received as a “lighter” offering after our numerous savoury courses.

The photos are of the large trifle and a smaller one I also made.

This is a rough method for the making of the trifle rather than a recipe!

My version of trifle consists of butter cake, broken into chunks, which line a glass bowl. The cake is then soaked in Grand Marnier  – any sweet liqueur would work well.

Layer some raspberry jelly over the cake, followed by “real” custard, a good recipe from Jamie Oliver for which is written below.

Leave to chill in the fridge for a few hours. Spoon whipped cream over the trifle, and top with fresh strawberries or other berries.

Leave in the fridge for several hours, up to a day, for the flavours to meld.

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Custard
Adapted from “Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook” by Jamie Oliver

Ingredients
500 ml whole milk
500 m heavy cream
6 tbls sugar
1 vanilla bean, scored lengthways
8 large free range egg yolks

Method
Mix cream, milk, and four tablespoons of sugar in a saucepan over medium low heat.
Scrape out all the seeds in the vanilla bean into the saucepan, including the bean.
Stir with a wooden spoon until it boils and then turn off the heat.
Let it sit for a few minutes to let the vanilla infuse with the cream and milk mixture.
In a separate bowl, whisk the yolks with 2 tablespoons of sugar until pale yellow in colour.
Remove the bean from the saucepan and slowly add one ladle of the cream mixture to the  yolks while whisking them together.
Keep whisking and slowly add a couple more ladles.
Pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan with cream and milk and stir with a wooden spoon under medium heat.
As the eggs cook, the custard will thicken in several minutes. It is thick enough if it coats the back of the wooden spoon.
Chill the custard before pouring over the jelly and cake.

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Little Christmas Cakes

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These Christmas treats are miniatures of a large Christmas cake made up as cup cakes. The recipe is based on a traditional  Christmas cake, a family recipe, soon to appear on this blog. The quantities in the “big” cake are doubled.

Ingredients

250 gms butter
250 gms brown sugar
315 gms plain flour
375 gms raisins
375 gms sultanas
125 gms glace cherries
65 gms glace peaches
65 gms glace pears
125 gms glace apricots
65 gms glace pineapple
65 gms crystallised ginger
65 gms mixed peel (optional)
6 large free range eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1tsp ginger
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond essence
1 tsp glycerine
Juice of half an orange
Finely grated peel of half an orange
1/4 cup of good brandy/whisky – extra 1/4 cup of brandy/whisky to pour over the hot cake when it comes out of the oven.

Method

Grease two 12 hole muffin pans or place cup cake paper cases in each hole. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
In a food processor or electric mixer, cream butter and sugar and beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the sifted flour lightly. Stir in spices, essences, glycerine, fruit juice and brandy/whisky, and finally stir in the fruit, the larger varieties of which have previously been cut up roughly.
Turn back oven temperature to 135 degrees C. Bake about 15-20 minutes or until the little cakes are pale brown on top and a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the cakes.
When the cakes are cooked, remove from the oven and pierce each all over with a skewer. Pour the 1/4 cup of brandy/whisky over the hot cakes.
Remove from muffin pans when cool.

You can leave these little Christmas cakes un-iced or put a dollop of royal icing on the top of each one.  When making the traditional full size version of this Christmas cake, a layer of almond or marzipan paste is applied first before the royal icing.
However a little royal icing is sufficient to jazz up these cakes!

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Royal Icing

Beat 1egg white lightly, add 250 gms icing sugar and the juice of half a lemon.
Apply a swirl of icing to each cake, to create a “snowy” effect.

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Christmas Spruce Cake

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This beautiful cake owes it all to the mould! I have sung the praises of the fabulous Nordic ware in a previous blog:

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/07/10/fancy-individual-butter-cakes/.

This Nordic ware mould called Holiday Tree Bundt Pan is like a Christmas spruce tree.

photo (8)

I found this recipe in Nigella Christmas, a cook book full of exciting Christmas treats! It’s also on Nigella’s website: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/spruced-up-vanilla-cake

It’s a simple vanilla butter cake, which can be spiced up with Christmas flavours of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

But beware – you must grease the mould really carefully as the cake is very tricky to remove from the tin!

Ingredients
225 gms soft butter (plus more for greasing)
300 gms caster sugar
6 large eggs
350 gms plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250 gms plain fat-free yoghurt
4 tsps vanilla extract and/or
1 tsp each cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
2 tbls icing sugar

Method
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C fan forced or 170 degrees C non fan forced and put a baking sheet in at the same time.
Butter or oil the Nordic ware spruce tree mould very thoroughly. Alternatively, you could use a large 2.5 litre capacity tin.
Put all the ingredients except the icing sugar into a food processor and blitz together. Pour and spoon the mixture into the greased tin and spread evenly.
Place the tin on the preheated baking sheet in the oven and cook for 45–60 minutes until well risen and golden.
After 45 minutes, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Rest the cake out of the oven for 15 minutes.
Gently pull away the edges of the cake from the tin with your fingers, then turn out the cake.
Once cool, dust with the icing sugar pushed through a small sieve.

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