[Shanghai] Botanik – A Culinary Happening in Real Time

Enshrouded in a lush rooftop garden stolen straight out of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Botanik is nothing like Shanghai has seen before. The wholehearted exploration of locavorism that Chef Elijah Holland and his team have embarked upon is so exceedingly rare in China that it would deserve a fair share of limelight in its own right, even if the cooking weren’t remarkable. Yet Botanik’s food proves to be vivid, robust, and almost invariably satisfying.

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[Shanghai] Coquille – A Different Kind of Brunch

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.

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[Shanghai] Polux by Paul Pairet

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.

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[Shanghai] C Pearl

A sprawling, generic-looking mall on Century Avenue in Pudong seems an unlikely place for culinary distinction, yet that is precisely where I encountered one of my most unexpected restaurant discoveries in recent memory. Executive chef Mr. Elijah Holland and chef-de-cuisine Mr. Joshua Moroney bring a wealth of ideas to C Pearl — from foraging to locavorism — many of which have yet to find a foothold in Shanghai’s dining scene at large.

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[Shanghai] Phénix at The PuLi Hotel

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.

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[Shanghai] Hiya at The Shanghai EDITION

Modeled after Mr. Atherton’s former London restaurant Sosharu, Hiya is inspired by the Japanese izakaya. There is something in that with the vivacious crowd and the loose, laid-back vibes. Yet izakayas don’t usually perch 27 floors above the ground. Nor do they sit in chic boutique hotels like The EDITION. Nor is their cooking often as inspired or as finely tuned.

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