Secondary links


Thai Tingles at the Hyatt

 Hyatt on the Bund’s international buffet restaurant, Aroma, is heating things up for the end of summer by importing three master chefs (all women!) from the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok. These spicy chefs from Thailand are mixing and matching Southeast Asian flavors for exquisitely prepared dishes.

The launch of this dining promotion on 20 August delivered a buffet of epic proportions, as well as a band of Thai performers who brought music from their home country and showed off traditional dances in full costume. Sipping on an array of fruity drinks with tropical favourites like mangoes and lemongrass, we felt like we were spending a day on the beach in Phuket enjoying juicy goblets of freshly pulverized fruit.

To get in the Thai spirit yourself and enjoy hordes of delicious seafood and other Southeast Asian delicacies, head to Aroma through 5 Sept.

Aroma @ Hyatt on the Bund. 2/F, 199 Huangpu Lu, near Wuchang Lu. Tel: 6393 1234 * 6322




Francesco Lafranconi Mixes It Up

World-acclaimed mixologist and bartender Francesco Lafranconi stirred up six new concoctions for Hilton Shanghai’s drink menu. His job sounds like a dream, getting paid to drink (and the more he drinks, the more he gets paid). However, this rather intricate art of muddling different flavors and cultures into one glass comes is actually hard work. Lafranconi advises beginner bartenders to really do their homework, to have fun in “a place that allows you to share your creativity but also invest your time to study the product knowledge” because “once you have the confidence understand the flavors, everything will fall into place perfectly”.

Along with masterminding impeccable cocktail recipes, Lafranconi also likes studying the senses to unravel the mysteries of how the brain processes olfactory information. One of his biggest passions is travel - not only staying in luxurious five-star hotels, but also immersing himself in the local culture and food. As he says, he “needs to be fed with knowledge”. When asked who he would go for drinks with, he said, “I need somebody that is very inspirational. I try to learn something from everybody so I like to have constructive conversations with people. I like to sit with people that can teach me something.” With that, Oscar Wilde came second place to his wife, whom he lauded as “the best tester”.

Lafranconi was overwhelmed by the warm hospitality he received in Shanghai and by the grandeur of this metropolitan maze. “There are buildings as far as I can see all around me. I feel like a little ant. I definitely think that from now on, Shanghai’s going to have a special place in my heart. Hopefully I can find a way to share my passion and knowledge with the emerging beverage industry and maybe I can raise the bar in this city. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.”

Penthouse Bar On 39 at Hilton Shanghai. 250 Hua Shan Lu, near Yan'an Road. Tel: 6248 0000

JW Marriott Relaunches Its 40th Floor

The JW Grill and JW Lounge, both located on the 40th floor of the JW Marriott at Tomorrow Square, are reopening this month. The JW Grill is an upscale steakhouse that offers stunning views of Shanghai. Executive Sous Chef Oliver Weber is offering a daily express business lunch with menus ranging from two to four courses, respectively (and reasonably) priced at RMB 128 and RMB 188. If you’re in after work, Chef Weber has small bites to start your evening off right, including a seafood cocktail loaded up with king scallops, Boston lobster and Atlantic clams for only RMB98.

Not to be outdone by its beefy neighbour, JW Lounge is adding some imbibing fun to the sky high bar. Lushes can take advantage of award-winning bartender Leo Li’s generous “Absolut JW” cocktail mix and the RMB 98 all-you-can-drink nightly Absolut cocktail deal (from 6 – 8pm).

JW Lounge and JW Grill @ JW Marriott at Tomorrow Square. 40th Floor, 399 West Nanjing Road, near Huangpi Bei Lu. Tel: 3594969 X. 6455

Carsten Schael

Carsten Schael Photography

 TALK caught up with the chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Professional Photographers (HKIPP), Carsten Schael, whose members are currently exhibiting works on Hong Kong, from cityscapes to portraitures, classic to surrealistic, in Shanghai, to ask a few questions.

How did you discover your passion for photography?

When I was 7 years old, I got my first camera from my parents. My dad was very keen on photography at the time. At first, I would admire my dad’s pictures, but then I was able to take my own pictures and never stopped from there. It evolved into more and more of a passion

How did you decide to move to Hong Kong?

I visited in 1989 and the place immediately resonated with me. I met my girlfriend who is also German, but grew up in Hong Kong, so that was the reason for my visit. I fell in love with the girl and at the same time, fell in love with the place. I’d lived my whole life in Germany and was looking to move abroad to get more experience after finishing my studies.

What catches your eye when taking photographs?

My eye is constantly roaming around and when suddenly, something captures my attention, it’s instinctive and my eye rests for a split second longer. That’s when I take a double take- what is going on there? Sometimes I look for certain compositions or things that are just somehow remarkable.

What distinguishes you from other photographers?

Everyone has their own visual sense. For me, I see color, composition, things I find remarkable in some way, shape, or form, and I think that distinguishes my work from the next guy.

What camera do you use?

I use a range of camera systems from very small to very big depending on the subject matter.

How do you go about teaching photography?

I tell my students to learn and study as much as they can to get a very good basic knowledge of the medium and of different approaches by different people. Photography is not just about reading it or learning it, but also practicing. You need to go out and take lots of pictures. The more, the better, and as much as you can. The more time and effort you spend on it, the better you’ll get.

What do you want to do in the future as a photographer?

Now, I do commercial and personal work, so whenever time allows, I work on some personal things. Photography is a life choice, so that’s something I hope to be doing until the end of my days. It’s still very much a passion for me and I want to keep doing it for as long as I can.



Steal of the Week: Jing'an Thursdays @ Downstairs with David Laris

I’d heard whisperings of the best deal in Jing’an, and so last Thursday I headed down to Downstairs with David Laris to check out the drink specials myself. Turns out, the gossip was good as “Jing’an Thursdays” turned out to be one more reason to get sauced mid-week. Kiss Natural Vodka Cocktails are poured with an extremely heavy hand for a mere RMB25 while a DJ spins the latest tracks, delicious snacks fly out of the kitchen and a barrage of disturbingly interesting multimedia images projects on to the wall. After a cocktail or two, you’ll completely forget about that looming Friday morning meeting. And if you’re still stressing, order up the octopus salad, shrimp cocktail with a Downstairs twist, or tiramisu (or all three) for a delectable distraction

Besides being exceptionally strong and surprisingly tasty, the cocktails come with an entertaining story. Kiss Natural is a new vodka brand created by an Aussie and German in Inner Mongolia. These ambitious souses found a promising little oasis in the middle of the desert that they deemed perfect for distilling the white liquor and also growing the fruits that add flavour to the fruity vodka. I was told 1.5 kilos of raspberries were used to create the flavoured vodka in the Raspberry Mule (a cheeky rendering of the Moscow Mule). After downing several of the drinks, I’ll take them at their word, because darn it, they were yummy.

My liver cringed while my wallet celebrated the news that the weekend deals at Downstairs are equally intoxicated. “Beer O’Clock” on Fridays starts at 4 pm and selected beers go for RMB 25, “Frozen Margies Saturdays” help beat the heat with frozen Mexican cocktails at RMB 25 from 3 pm and weekend warriors can finish up their binge with RMB 50 pitchers and other drink specials all day at the “Sunday Drink Fest”. Cheers!


Hyatt on the Bund Wedding Fair

This past weekend, Hyatt on the Bund made their case for hosting the wedding of one’s dreams with their first bridal show of the summer. With three unique ballrooms and a wide selection of menu and wedding packages to choose from, the hotel offers something for nearly every budget. The wedding ceremony itself takes place on a purpose-built stage cleverly constructed on top of the stream running through the hotel’s lower lobby.

The show consisted of a mock wedding to show off the hotel’s Bund Ballroom offerings including a delicious layered cake. This was followed in turn by a fashion show displaying the latest in contemporary bridal gown and evening wear styles. Finally, the hotel offered bridal fair guests a chance to sample the many delectable food and drink treats included in their wedding packages and tour their bridal suite.

For more information on how to ‘register your love’ at the Hyatt on the Bund, please visit their website.

Hyatt on the Bund. 199 Huangpu Lu. Tel: 6393 1234. Web:

Restaurant Week Tickets On Sale Now!

Get it while it's hot! Or at least while it's still available... Dinners at Sir Elly's for next month's restaurant week had already booked up before I had downed my morning soy milk, and it looks like T8, M1NT, Yi Long Court and Shintori will be mobbed by deal-seeking diners too.

For those of you who didn't set a Google Calendar email reminder weeks ago when you first heard about these three-course steals, here's the story: After a successful first run at the end of April, the insatiable guys behind Dining City have upped the ante (and lowered the price) of lunch and dinner sets at some of Shanghai's finest dining establishments. From Monday 6 to Sunday 12 September top restaurants around the city will serve a special 3-course dinner for a fixed price of 238 RMB, and a 3-course lunch for 118 RMB.

To get in on the action, put down your knife and fork, and pick up your mouse. Bookings for the Restaurant Week can only be made online via In case you missed the lead of this blog, seats are limited


Handsome Furs Rock Shanghai

Handsome Furs Show Recap

Jam-packed between uncountable sweaty bodies all jumping and moshing in unison, I was both terrified that my feet would get trodden into shreds and elated with the energy in and around the room, charged by the electrifying performance of the Handsome Furs. The moment the show opened with the strumming of ‘All We Want, Baby is Everything’, the crowd went wild.

The air was thick with the smell of beer, cigarettes and B.O. Through this dense smog, the amazing genius of Dan Boeckner’s guitar and drum-machining onslaught by wife Alexei Perry, permeated the crowd in sonic waves of awe. Tearing through songs from their last album, Face Control, and some new singles like ‘Free the People’ (great song!), they rocked the living bejeezus out of Yuyintang.

Not a single body wasn’t bobbing a head or shaking it as the band pounded through their songs with raw electro-rock energy. Reaffirming their status as the cutest rock couple, the two smooched three times throughout the show, once exchanging an “I like him” from Alexei for an “I like her” from Dan. So cute.

They took breaks between songs not only to kiss, but also to share a few funny stories, one concerning a pet locust, and another Pearl Tower adventure that turned into an unexpected, WTF moment – the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel tour – described by Dan as “the inside of a five-year old’s brain on acid”.

Piedmont: Land of Wine and Wellness

Photo credit: Marco Bonavoglia

The Italian region of Piedmont has kicked off a new tourism and investment campaign in Shanghai. Piedmont, found in Northwestern Italy and meaning ‘at the foot of the mountain’, is styling itself as a land of wine and wellness. It is famous for hosting the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics and is the home of Italian football club Juventus and carmaker FIAT. The alpine region currently has 50,000 hectares under vine and famous for its Barolo and Barbaresco wines.

A presentation yesterday at the Italian Pavilion at the Expo included background on Italian and Chinese trade. Currently Italy ranks a distant 30th in imports to China, but more importantly 3rd in wine, 2nd in olive oil and 1st in pasta and chocolate. The program also included talks from vineyards hoping to gain a foothold in the Chinese market through the sizeable amount of wine importers in attendance and a discussion about the tourism highlights the region has to offer.


'Yao Monster' Launches in China

With flourishes and hype more appropriate for a rock concert, Tuesday afternoon saw the debut of Monster Cable’s ‘Yao Monster’ line of consumer audio and headphone products. Monster, a consumer electronics accessory company based in Silicon Valley, California, has recently become the USA’s most popular headphone manufacturer due to collaborations with celebrities including Dr Dre, Lady Gaga and P Diddy. Promising a ‘fusion of technology and life’, Monster has now teamed up with NBA star Yao Ming to relaunch their presence in the Chinese market.

Complete with a massive light rigging, a DJ, and a long row of television cameras, Monster’s CEO, Chinese-American Noel Lee, hosted the press conference with a grand entrance onto the stage riding on a gold-wheeled Segway. After an exhaustive tour through Monster’s product range, a presentation on Lee’s background and a short video from the CEO’s mother, Yao Ming finally made an appearance. The basketball star explained that the collaboration was not only about giving Chinese youth access to high quality headphones, but the products also doubled as fashion accessories. The product range will also include backpacks and performance eye wear.

Lee made no mention on how the company hopes to combat counterfeiting, a problem they’ve previously experienced in the market with some of their audio/video cable products. The ‘Yao Monster’ line is due out before the end of the year.



Anonymous's picture

Great Marketing

This is brilliant.  Why not take China's #1 star and conquer the audio martket there.  I am sure that Yao is on high demand for endorsements such as this.  So Monster Cable should give themselves a pat on the back for signing him.


Recent comments

Talk Partners

Talk Insider - Register now and win!


Upcoming Events