[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] 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] The Pine at Ruijin

In a way that few restaurants do, The Pine draws me in from many directions: impeccable techniques, poised eloquence, a simple, earnest desire to please, and an acute perceptiveness into the local palate, expressed with a coherence and congruity that can elude many chefs, let alone one who moved to Shanghai barely 6 months ago.

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[Shanghai] Cuivre

Chef Wendling’s brand of generous French comfort would be welcome any time of the year, but it is particularly appreciated on cold winter nights. As the whole city shivers and shudders, the golden glow spilling from Cuivre’s wide windows beckons us inside with the promise of warmth, comfort, and generous southern French fare.

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[Hong Kong] Amber

Sitting in the dining room with all its careful luxuries perched six floors above Central, economy might be a difficult outfit to imagine Amber wearing. But if any restaurant knows what that word means when it comes to deciding what goes onto the plate and what stays off, it’s Amber.

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