New & Noted: MARC
What: Authentic French haute cuisine on the Bund
Where: Wanda Reign On The Bund. 21/F, 538 Zhongshan Dong Er Lu, near Longtan Lu. Web: www.wandahotels.com
Why: To experience dishes crafted by a legendary Michelin star chef
French Chef Marc Meneau, owner of L'Espérance, a Michelin two-star restaurant in Burgundy, has opened a namesake restaurant in Shanghai at the invitation of Wanda Reign On The Bund. Although decorated with extravagant Art Deco pieces, and offering sweeping views through large floor-to-ceiling windows down the Bund’s historic waterfront and across to the skyscrapers of Lujiazui, the superb venue is, unsurprisingly, not the main reason to visit this remarkable restaurant; the food is.
A master of both traditional and contemporary French cuisines, the septuagenarian chef has been dividing his time between France and China, in order to discover more about the Middle Kingdom’s ancient dining traditions, seasonal ingredients and local foodie culture. His menu draws on knowledge gleaned in research trips and takes inspiration from his new environment, whilst remaining true to his French fine dining roots.
We sampled dishes from the a la carte menu, starting with a colourful langoustine and caviar dish (RMB 368), served with beetroots, radish, turnips and a comté cheese biscuit under a luminous “wasabi marshmallow”. This vibrant dish had a lot of moving parts, but pulled together exceptionally well, with the creamy wasabi marshmallow melting in the mouth and adding an Asian spicy flare into the mix.
For mains, we selected the monkfish (RMB 298), which was wrapped around a thick, aromatic stick of cinnamon and served alongside cep mushrooms sprinkled with grilled buckwheat, cashew and fennel sauce.
Finishing on a sweet note, the vanilla and pistachio crunchy cream puff (RMB 118) under confit apricots, sorbet and sour juice, was showstoppingly presented, with the light and tart sorbet cutting through the thick cream.
Interestingly, Meneau is known for his signature presentation whereby dish components are arranged according to how they grow. Ingredients that grow beneath the surface are assembled at the bottom of the dish, on top of which go ingredients that grow on the ground, topped by ingredients that grow elevated above the ground. So look out for and admire this small detail when dissecting the painstakingly plated dishes.
The set dinner menu starts at RMB 788, or RMB 1,498 with wine pairing. In homage to the chef, there is an exclusive selection of Burgundy wines, as well as new and old world wines available.
Although the restaurant is still in its early stages, Meneau is contracted to be at the restaurant once a month, so we do not expect the meticulous service standards or innovative offerings to plateau anytime soon and we are excited about the future of this world-class restaurant.