CITYLIFE / Bars & Cafes

Buffet benefits from chic redesign
By Aubrey Buckingham (shanghai daily)
Updated: 2006-08-08 13:48


If you are walking on Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall and looking for relief from the heat, Mosaic Restaurant at the Sofitel Hyland Hotel provides a chic and quiet retreat.

The straightforward all-day diner has benefited from a massive refurbishment the hotel has undertaken where its 401 rooms were given a total makeover that was completed at the beginning of the year. More recently, the building's lobby level was given a significant touch-up.

The makeover of the lobby-level Mosaic is more Jennifer Aniston than Angelina Jolie as it is a relaxed, well-lit inviting space that looks good without being overdone.

The choice of designers Hirsch Bedner Associates was an inspired move as the decor provides an ideal contrast between the old and new Shanghai.

The California-based design consultants have tailored a look that suits the hotel's prominent location as the restaurant's modern interior offers a wonderful contrast to the classic shopping street that the building overlooks. One gets to enjoy being right in the middle of almost-old Shanghai without the dinginess that accompanies it.

Sofitel Hyland is focused on being at the forefront of its category. Mosaic Restaurant offers nothing outrageously fancy to knock your socks off, good quality cuisine at reasonable prices.

Its menu features simple ingredients for simple dishes that are healthy and good. Part of this detail can be attributed to Food and Beverage Director Arne Heuwekemeijer.

The charismatic Dutchman brings with him a unique perspective with a depth of experience in Europe and Asia.

Speaking of one of his many food fassions, sushi, he said: "I spent some time finding the right sushi chef and I would say I am satisfied now."

Heuwekemeijer has every reason to be satisfied as the sushi was rolled nicely and the sashimi sliced delicately.

The presentation of the raw fish is nicely balanced with the cold cuts arranged attractively around the counter; a selection featuring a Czech ham, various cheese and fresh garden salad. The seafood corner is better than anything in the immediate area.

The Chinese fare was in fact pretty bland with the fried rice being the main culprit by not interacting with the taste buds. The Western food was a marked improvement with the tender, juicy roast beef being the highlight.

Mosaic is unpretentious and enjoyable for its clean and simple decor with an interesting view from a location that is second to none. The decent food is better than a number of places in Shanghai.

The play on balance is also refreshing - the local elements against the French influence - the contrast between the new interior and old Nanjing Road outside. Mosaic is great value for lunch, a small bubble in the heart of the city to enjoy a relaxing buffet.

Address: Lobby, 505 Nanjing Road E.
Price: Lunch: 138 yuan (US$17.25); Dinner: 188 yuan (all subject to 15 percent service charge)
Tel: 021-63515888 ext 4281