PHÉNIX Eatery and Bar
Add: 2/F The PuLi Hotel and Spa, 1 Chang De Road, Shanghai 常德路1号，璞麗酒店2楼
Tel: +86 (21) 2216 6988
Hours: [lunch] Mon-Sat 12:00pm-2:30pm; [brunch] Sun 11:30am-2:30pm; [dinner] Mon-Sun 6:00pm-10:00pm; [afternoon tea] Mon-Sun 2:30pm-5:30pm
Price: [lunch set] RMB188/218; [à-la-carte] RMB350-550 (+16% tax and service charge)
Visited: May 2016
Will return: Yes
Tucked away just behind the Réel Mall in Jing An, The PuLi is a true urban oasis, a secluded haven of tranquility among the clamors of city life. Just like the hotel itself, Phénix Eatery and Bar, its newly rebranded restaurant, is rooted in a commitment to reconnecting us with nature. From the refined, inviting dining room filled with natural light, diffused and softened by the shades, to the fresh, seasonal ingredients prepared with French techniques and a modern twist, the whole experience at Phénix is authentic, elegant, and transporting.
From the moment I stepped into the dining room, the lush green view through the glass wall immediately soothed my nerves and took my mind away from the busy day.
My lunch started with a small loaf of warm, crusty sourdough. The butter was rich and at room temperature – a small detail that somehow gets overlooked at many restaurants.
As soon as it was brought to the table, the Heirloom Tomato Salad with Fromage Blanc, Basil, and Caramelized Vinegar lifted my spirits most effectively on this gloomy rainy day.
The plate was filled with vibrant cherry tomatoes in varying colors, textures and acidity, dotted with tangy, creamy fromage blanc, and sprinkled with crunchy strings of garlic-toasted bread. All these components were brought together by a sweet, basil-laced vinaigrette. A balanced and refreshing symphony of flavors and textures perfect for summer.
From the à-la-carte menu, the House-Cured Moulard Duck Breast (60) was a generous plate of translucent, ruby-colored ribbons. I especially enjoyed the distinct fragrance of cured duck and the subtle notes of sweetness that balanced the saltiness .
More substantial was the John Dory Meunière with Seaweed Butter and Lemon. Two buttery, crispy-skinned fillets were stacked over a delicious couscous. The dollops of seaweed butter tasted quite pungent on their own, but when eaten together with the fish, they added an interesting depth of flavor. I loved the slivers of boldly acidic lemon flesh that brightened the overall richness of the dish, but they were so scarce that I missed them completely in the first few bites. The dish felt slightly too heavy to fit perfectly into the otherwise light and clean meal, but there is no doubt that at any other restaurant, I would have thought this to be rich and delicious.
Finally, a refreshing dessert of Compressed Strawberries, Strawberry Granité, Yoghurt Chantilly, and Basil. The strawberries were compressed and then slow-cooked with basil, and came together seamlessly with the cool granité, the rich and tart yoghurt chantilly, the subtly herby basil sponge, and the sprinkling of crumbled meringue. A fantastic end for the meal.
I don’t usually drink during lunch, but the restaurant manager kindly offered me a glass of Pierre Chainier Rosé d’Anjou, made with 100% cabernet franc, which he said paired exceptionally well with my dessert.
And he was right. The delicate fruitiness and acidity played very interestingly with the strawberry and the chantilly cream. Thank you Mr. Boutin!
My lunch at Phénix was immensely satisfying but didn’t weigh me down, a perfect respite in the middle of a busy day. The lunch set is a good deal at RMB188 for two courses and RMB218 for three, with wine pairing available for RMB60 a glass. The à-la-carte menu is a little steeper, with main courses ranging from RMB155 to RMB320, and desserts at RMB95 each. A 16% tax and service charge applies to all menus. That said, the à-la-carte menu does feature some mouth-watering dishes, like the Venison tartare with beetroot, apple, and horseradish and the Braised ox tripe and cuttlefish with tomato and persillade. Definitely looking forward to trying those.
Apart from the dining room, Phénix also has a sleek marble bar and a cozy, intimate lounge.
A wonderful spot for a relaxing drink after work.