Second Helpings: Jean-Georges
What: The celebrated, celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first signature restaurant outside New York
Where: Three On The Bund. 4/F, 3 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Guangdong Lu. Tel: 6321 7733. Web: www.threeonthebund.com
Why: For fantastically lit food photos
Jean-Georges, the celebrity-chef helmed, Bund-side fine dining establishment, has been popular ever since its 2004 arrival in the city. Late last year, many were surprised to hear that the restaurant would be closing its doors for six months to undergo a complete renovation However, it is a testament to how well the brand and collaborative partner, Three On The Bund, understand their guests, and the competition in the city.
One of the comments that Three On The Bund’s outgoing Director of Marketing, Pascal Ballot, made about the post-renovation interior design of the restaurant was that many customers complained it was too dark to take food photos. It seems, in this day and age, this is now a legitimate concern for venues wishing to attract customers and gain traction online.
As such, we were not surprised to encounter a bright, white and open space when we visited after the reopening last month. Although still reflecting the building’s art deco history with careful restoration of the original plaster mouldings and cornices, design firm, Neri & Hu, have added a series of modern brass columns with mirrors and gradient glass to define separate spaces, such as the lounge bar and show kitchen. The open and flowing design also gives the impression of being slightly more welcoming than the previous gentleman’s club aesthetics.
In terms of cuisine, the menu continues to represent Jean-Georges’ passion for using Asian flavourings and unexpected combinations to create modern French dishes. Every dish offers an exquisite combination of high quality ingredients and perfectly balance flavours. Our highlights included the starters of toasted egg yolk with caviar and herbs, classic sea urchin on black bread with Jalapeño and Yuzu, a rich and creamy foie gras topped with strawberry granola, aged balsamic and basil as well as diver scallops accompanied by caramelised cauliflower with a caper-raisin emulsion. Jean-Georges’ iconic egg caviar from New York is also available, and the warm eggy centre, topped with spiked cream and roe is exceptional and not to be missed. For mains, the roasted black cod was beautifully served on a jade emulsion with celtuce and tasted extremely fresh and clean. The caramelised beef tenderloin with spinach, consommé and Gruyere crepes along with the fusion black pepper crab dumplings and sugar snap peas were also remarkable. To finished the meal, the restaurant’s chocolate dessert tasting is an indulgent treat combining a range of their chocolate themed desserts on a large plate.
The restaurant offers a three-course prix-fixe menu (RMB 689) and two seven-course tasting menus (RMB 1,298 or RMB 1,498): a Jean-Georges’ tasting menu presenting the chef’s signature dishes, and a seasonal tasting menu featuring fresh seasonal ingredients. Jean-Georges also houses over 700 old and new world labels emphasising French and American wines available by the glass or bottle. A wine pairing tasting menu is also an option (RMB 988).