Effli

Table No 1 by Jason Atherton – The Waterhouse – Shanghai

In Shanghai & Hangzhou on April 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm

My family and I sat in the car for quite a time before we reached the boutique hotel named “The Waterhouse”.  Its distinct orange neon sign, hoisted on some elegant cement, shone through the relatively quiet streets.  I had been here once before and was anticipating a good night to come.  Table No 1 was a restaurant that emphasized sharing; you sat at a long communal table with other guests and you shared what you ordered with your party.  To start of the dinner, a glass of Riesling was ordered, and it had an excellent taste.

 

Our Table

Riesling

For starters, we ordered three dishes: razor clam with chorizo, crab risotto with crab bisque, and a tuna tartar.  All of them were delightful – the crab risotto wasn’t too heavy but had a clear taste of crab and was placed in a light pool of crab bisque.   The tuna tartar had a cool, sour taste that had a tint of sweetness to it.  The razor clam is a perfect fusion of east and west – absolutely scrumptious, colorful and unforgettable.  And, if I were to choose only one appetizer, I would go for the razor clams.

The appetizers were shared – and enjoyed – by all.

 

 

Tuna Tartar

Razor Clams with Chorizo

Crab Risotto in Crab Bisque

The main courses did not disappoint, even after such brilliantly crafted starters.  Again we ordered three dishes.  We had an aged sirloin, beef cheek accompanied with snails in bone marrow, and a sole with squid ink and risotto.

The steak was not your regular slab of meat.  The tender beef had been cut into strips, and each strip was placed alongside baby spring onions.

Aged Sirloin

Beef cheek was quite good, but normal.  The mashed potatoes and snails in bone marrow that went with it were very fulfilling.

Snails in Bone Marrow, Mashed Potatoes

My favorite main course was the sole with squid ink and risotto.  A lot of people, when coming to restaurants such as this, would ignore the choices of fish.  This one is really quite special and worth trying.  The sole had the right lightness to it, and the risotto wasn’t too heavy.  They certainly went well together; the squid ink and spring vegetables atop a spoon of sole and risotto was delectable.

Sole on Squid Ink Risotto

And the last course of our meal: the dessert!  I say this with such exclamation because the dessert served at Table No 1 is something to be exclaimed about!  As if the earlier part of the meal hadn’t been good enough, the desserts came in, dishes of unique flavor – delicacies that should be savored every bite of the way.  We had even thought about not eating dessert.  Dinner had been entirely satisfying and filling.  But then we knew the experience wouldn’t be the same without desserts, so we decided, this time, to order only two: a warm chocolate cake with blood orange tea and white chocolate and a lime and pinenut parfait (with coconut meringue).

The warm chocolate cake spilled with melted chocolate (as it should have).  But what made this dish interesting was the blood orange tea that surrounded the cake.  It was like a warm orange juice infused with herbs and served in a glass teapot.  Often warm chocolate cake is eaten with ice cream, but the blood orange tea served the purpose of ice cream and more.

Hot Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate and Blood Orange Tea

The other dessert, the lime and pinenut parfait had a very cooling feel.  The pinenuts gave it a bit of a crunchy texture, while the coconut meringue and the parfait itself was smooth and a little bit cold (in a good way).  This dish was inspiring and one of my favorites.

Lime and Pinenut Parfait, with Coconut Meringue

Jason Atherton’s (and Scott Melvin’s, the Head Chef) dishes are interesting and just plain yummy all in one.  Sometimes restaurants that try to “modernize” their dishes lose sense of what simply tastes good, a factor that is clearly of paramount importance.  My experience, with my family, at Table No 1 is entirely a positive one; Table No 1 is definitely a restaurant we will come back to (hopefully soon) in the future.

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  1. The chocolate looks delicious, and the steak seems very delectable. I hope to try it one day.

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