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Foodie TALK: Laris is Closed (UPDATED...AGAIN)

Rumours of the closing of David Laris’ eponymous restaurant at Three on the Bund have been flying around the city for the past couple days. We found it hard to believe this Bund stalwart was closing its doors for good, but it turns out, the rumours are true. Perhaps all that expansion took its toll on the busy Aussie...

A representative of Three on the Bund informed TALK that Laris was closed as of the 15th of this month. Here’s a rundown of what we know:

- No, the restaurant that was considered the best in Shanghai by last year’s Miele guide will not open elsewhere. To quote Three on the Bund, “It’s done.”

- A replacement has not been determined yet, but they are “open to new ideas and in the process of discussing exciting new projects”. Most likely, we should be getting a new place to dine with a view of the Pearl Tower. Our source says, “My personal feeling is that it will be [replaced by] another restaurant.”

- Why shutter the best martini night in town? "The official reason is that we want to stay ahead of the game."

We’ll keep you posted as we hear more, but it looks like the Laris empire has lost its crown jewel. Any recommendations for two for one martinis tonight?


David Laris Creates has let us in on their side of the story. Here's what the man behind the martinis has to say.

"As of 2008, the restaurant structure and the working relationship between David Laris and Three on the Bund changed. David took on the role of consultant in the areas of food and beverage. The management team of Three on the Bund assumed the overall responsibility for supervision, management, quality control and standards, and daily operations of the restaurant.

"In the past two years, this structure led to a challenging struggle between David’s high standards and Three on the Bund’s difficulty in meeting them on a regular and consistent basis. While Laris continued to perform well and receive accolades during this period, David realized that he needed to re-focus his energy into working with partners who share the same expectations and standards of excellence.

"The relationship between Three on the Bund and myself became difficult. I felt there was a breakdown in the way that Laris was managed, which was not in line with the original vision and was not representative of my philosophy and standards as a Chef. We should never compromise on quality, service and creativity. Which is why it saddens me to see the end of Laris and Three on the Bund. But I remain optimistic about the future of fine dining in Shanghai. I believe the large-scale fine dining restaurants perhaps have seen their day. Now the approach will be about intimate, small, fine dining spaces where we can connect directly with the guests. This will be my focus moving forward and I have already begun work on related concepts.”

What concepts might that be? Well, David lets us in on those secrets too... sort of. He's got four new eateries in Sinan Mansions: Funky Chicken, a casual brasserie chicken restaurant; the third slice of the Purple Onion; a rooftop Mexican concept called Yucca; and 12 Chairs, which looks like the shoo-in for Laris' fine dining replacement. The DLC Team describes 12 Chairs:

"Tucked inside will be the smallest fine dining restaurant in Shanghai, aptly named 12 Chairs for its exclusive seating capacity. This new concept brings together a menu reflecting old world indulgence with one of Shanghai’s most premium wine lists, all within a luxurious, private space. A highlight of the intimate dining room will be the open kitchen, which will feature David Laris and his senior chefs cooking and presenting new creations, as well as reinterpreting some signature Laris dishes.

"In looking at the future of fine dining in Shanghai, David consulted with his partners and advisors regarding the direction to take DLC’s businesses. According to Managing Director, Aaron Griffiths, “12 Chairs represents a return to the pleasure of food, creation and dining… all with a focus on personal attention and preferences that provide an overall experience to our guests.”"

 Don't think it'll match the quality of Laris? Well, hold out til 2011 - Laris has something else up his sleeves. We don't know much, but we know it's going to be Asian inspired and reflect the cities Laris has lived in (so Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, Beijing... what am I missing here?).


Three on the Bund has come back with more information about the split, as well as news about what’s going in Laris’ former home. Here’s the press release below:

As Shanghai’s competitive dining market continues to grow, evolve, and change, Three on the Bund must also adapt and re-invent itself in order to stay ahead of the trend.

Therefore, it is with great excitement to share with you our plans to recreate a brand new concept restaurant for our 6th Floor venue.  We are currently in the discussion and planning phases for the creation of an exhilarating new avant garde concept that will tantalize the taste buds, excite the senses, and exceed the expectations of even our most fastidious dining customers.  Three on the Bund is committed to staying at the forefront of Shanghai’s culinary market and leading the cutting edge on our iconic Bund.

We will close our Laris Restaurant starting Sunday, November 15, 2010 as we prepare the venue for all the exciting new changes. We believe whole heartedly that bold visionary moves are the principle driving spirit behind Three on the Bund and our continued prominence in this ever changing and ultra competitive landscape.  Please join me in extending our gratitude to the Laris Restaurant Team.




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