Dine in secluded style

Updated: 2007-05-09 08:17

What makes Cupola Shanghai's most exclusive restaurant? Perhaps it's the 1500rmb minimum spend (excluding drinks) per person, or the fact it only has one table for 'intimate dining.' It could also be the choice of food from four different menus, or the 180 degree view of the Bund.

For Cupola is not just the restaurant's name, but the building's architectural style. A cupola is a "small dome on a circular or polygonal base crowning a roof or turret." (There's a little information to impress your date with, if they aren't already bowled off their feet from the rest of the evening.)

To dine with your other half, whether it be their birthday, that once-in-a-life-time plunge into (hopefully) "happily ever after" or just because you like the best and splurging is not an alien concept to you, dining at Cupola at Three on the Bund is the epitome of eating out (in Shanghai).

Dining at Cupola is a journey and starts before you even enter the door. The luxurious service begins when you're sent the 5 menus available from the 4 restaurants at Three on the Bund: Laris, Jean Georges, Whampoa Club and New Heights. Little touches such as the Chef's Suggestions add value to the whole experience.

Calibrating and selecting the menu on offer is no easy task, at least not for a dining-ignorant idiot like me. For me, the process can be described as akin to planning a hen night (that's hen not Hien). To further confuse us men of the world, extras on offer such as music, flowers and gifts may make your evening all the more memorable but make the task all the more difficult. (But it's worth the hassle - the end result was worth it *wink*.)

The scenario: having looked forward to this dining experience all week, I enjoyed being greeted as if I were royalty, sashaying haughtily through the crowd as they checked me out, moving up the staircase to my chamber (although I couldn't quite muster the royal wave). Your jacket's then taken off by your very own butler; you're seated in your very very secluded dining room over looking the picture-perfect Bund; you're listening to your own selection of music (you can bring your own iPod); you're given a dry martini to set the dining ball rolling. Beautiful. A word of advice in any case - go fresh, get sloshed later. It's too tasteful (and expensive) an occasion to arrive haggard or unprepared to eat and drink yourself silly.

Having never tried anything from Laris before, this was our chance to see how the other half lived in Shanghai. Our set course consisted of some of the most well know ingredients and delicacies in the world. In no particular order and including my ignorance of fine dining, here is a sample of some of the gastronomic delights which my date and I were lucky enough to try:



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Eating out: Dine in secluded style
Bars&Cafes: Balance casual and cool
Weekend&Holiday: Sue to sing for a generation
Shopping: White hot
What's on: The 'new' New York City