New & Noted: From A Chinese Cookbook
What: A new Chinese dining concept from VOL Group, in partnership with celebrity chef, Jereme Leung
Where: 25/F, Wharf Warehouse. 579 Waima Lu, near Fuxing Dong Lu. Tel: 6339 1188. Web: www.fromachinesecookbook.com
Why: For fine dining inspired by the best tastes and dishes from around China
After closing its previous Chinese concept, Y2C2, at the same location, VOL Group have reworked their Chinese dining concept and have come back stronger than ever with the influence of Jereme Leung. For those who are not familiar with Chef Leung, he was the chief judge on Shanghai Dragon TV’s Master Chef Season Two, and as such, has quite a following in the city. After starting his career in Hong Kong, working around the world, and eventually moving to Mainland China in 2003, he is respected for being an expert in all four schools of Chinese cooking; dim sum, barbecue, wok cooking and knife work. Chef Leung is said to carry his secrets and techniques in a mysterious, wellworn cookbook that he has taken with him as he travelled through China for the past 30 years, which inspired the VOL Group’s restaurant name and choice of dishes from across the country.
With the interior designed by Kookai, the decoration and ambience of the restaurant is sophisticatedchic, but not pretentious, and even though the restaurant is still only in soft opening mode, it was already packed with local diners on our visit. With floor-to-ceiling windows lining one side of the venue, looking out towards Lujiazui, we were immediately impressed upon entrance.
Service was also faultless throughout dinner, with English speaking staff and a foolproof English iPad menu, which is sometime lacking when visiting other high-end Chinese dining locations.
We started our meal with osmanthus, rose petals and slow-cooked lotus root filled with purple rice (RMB 58). It was a fragrantly flavoured dish that didn’t go overboard on sweetness. Next, brought to our table with much panache, was the house specialty, an array of Chinese cold dishes (RMB 478), served on ice included drunken live shrimps in a savoury garlic soy sauce (you can’t get fresher than that), raw roe crab marinated in the chef 's secret recipe (spoiler alert: baijiu – and we loved it), Teochew style chilled flower crab and imported oysters with Oriental inspired sauces.
We then moved on to slow-cooked beef short ribs with a tangy orange marmalade (RMB 368). Beautifully plated, this tender dish stole the show for us. We also sampled the rose apple and pork duo of sweet sour spicy sauce (RMB 88), which was cooked in the Cantonese style, with a crispy batter, and reminded us of a very sophisticated version of sweet and sour pork slung in the West. Next up was the seared highland cold-water bass and pickled vegetables (RMB 188), an unadulterated way to eat the pure fish, which was said to come from Xinjiang. We ended our meal with lemongrass jelly, peach jelly and aloe vera (RMB 38), which played on textures and subtly sweet tastes. The house specialty, black gold egg custard buns (RMB 38) were crafted to perfection and are absolutely not to be missed. Worth a trip down to Cool Docks on their merit alone. Although the price tag may seem a little steep for some dishes, the restaurant is bang for your buck in terms of service standard, location and the wide range of Chinese dishes on offer from around the country. It is convenient to order and a classy venue to sample Chinese food and impress your friends, a date or out-oftown visitors.