Shanghai odyssey

There’s something about modern cities in Asia that I thoroughly enjoy. The infectious energy from the sheer number of people, the tall buildings and this beautiful mesh between traditional architecture, food and lifestyle on one hand and the best of western luxuries, brands, food and drink on the other. Shanghai is no exception and I have explored this massive city carefully over the last three years on three separate occasions. I had gone to present at SIAL, one of Asia’s leading exhibitions on food, wine and spirits.

I flew Business class on my Singapore Airlines flight to Shanghai and I got to say the legendary service of Singapore Airlines is truly flawless. Everything from the seats to the food and wine or tea and coffee list for that matter is exemplary. Drinking Charles Heidsick Champagne followed by a selection of wines like Selbach Riesling, Joseph Drouhin Rully and Chateau Peyrabon to go along with a five course gourmet dinner up in the air is an experience that I will not mind going back to again and again on this airline.

From the airport take the Maglev, the world’s fastest train to the centre of town at speeds over 350 kilometers per hour for the thrill and convenience of it.

 You can’t visit Shanghai and not visit the Bund. The Bund overlooks the River Huangpu in the district of Pudong with its sky kissing futuristic space age like glass buildings including the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the Jin Mao Tower, what the locals refer to as the bottle opener building on one side and old colonial styled buildings on the other. Both sides are equally eye catching in exactly opposite ways. The river itself is full of activity with floating restaurants, cruise and cargo ships; all slowly moving along this ancient river.

 When at the Bund, you have to visit Shanghai’s most famous restaurant called Mr. & Mrs. Bund by Paul Pairet; which does live up to its hype. This restaurant offers incredibly delicious French food, great cocktails and a brilliant wine and spirit list with a view of Pudong to die for. A glass of wine on the terrace here is pure bliss. One floor above on the terrace of the building you have the Bar Rouge which is a must visit for some late night shenanigans.

 In doing my research for this trip I discovered The House of Roosevelt on an Anthony Bourdain show I had seen. I had to visit to see this place for myself. The House of Roosevelt is a majestic colonial style building on the Bund which houses one of the best wine centric restaurants I have ever been to. The Roosevelt family is none other than the family that had two United States Presidents – President Franklin Roosevelt and President Theodore Rooservelt.

This restaurant/wine bar is enormous with private dining spaces and wine cellars on every wall glistening with bottles of wine from every corner of the world. Luckily I walked in on a Wednesday evening where they host their weekly wine tastings. The audience is a mix of expats and local wine enthusiasts and like any wine event the group was friendly. The old world architecture of the room, excellent wine, candles and a view of Pudong made this tasting quite remarkable.

I met by chance Mr. Tse who is Chairman of Roosevelt China Investment Corporation and he invited me to a hidden private cellar that could be accessed only by punching in a code behind a book on a shelf, very James Bond like. The private cellar contains back dated vintages of  some of the most iconic wines from all over the world covering practically every corner of the world. On another floor they have a private members lounge and on the terrace they have an open air bar and serve the entire gamut of wines they serve downstairs.  If you’re into wine don’t miss this place.

 

 

For Food And Wine India By Nikhil Agarwal

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