A rare culinary gem

(Shanghai Daily)
Updated: 2008-03-10 11:45

If you are already a convert to Paul Pairet's avant-garde fare, you really ought to stop reading here and not spoil the surprise. Long-time fans of Jade on 36 will know part of the fun is in seeing the dishes then tasting the complex flavor combinations for the first time.

Not everyone is a convert, however, to this form of cuisine still holding the world in rapture. A prominent hotelier, who believes that luxury should be experienced as broadly as possible, recently suggested such complicated dishes could be interpreted as a form of food snobbery; on the other hand chef Pairet's tongue-in-cheek approach to his menus can even be considered the perfect foil to know-it-all parvenus.

One often encounters such high-brow antics in classical, usually French, establishments where diners are greeted with a menu that requires a university degree in foreign languages to comprehend. Oftentimes the trick when faced with such incomprehensible gobbledygook is to glance at the Chinese descriptions inside - these are often more specific.

Pairet turns this notion on its head with his menus that are designed to obfuscate and surprise.

His tomato dish, for example, is alluded to as an apple of love (pomadamore) which barely even describes what diners should expect besides a well-prepared tomato something.

What was served on the plate definitely resembled a glazed fruit.

Nothing is that simple, as the glaze was actually black vinegar-infused kappa jelly that locked in the refreshing gazpacho cunningly injected within.

A sheet of crystallized balsamic vinegar and gently toasted pine nuts completed this Spanish salad.

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