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Fine dining takes off

By Matt Hodges | Shanghai Star | Updated: 2014-07-03 11:19

Fine dining takes off

CULINARY CLONING: Executive Chef Weimar Gomez practices his plate-balancing skills. [Photo provided to Shanghai Star]

Fine dining takes off

New look cafe zen brings out inner child

Fine dining takes off

A bite of your own

Is it cheap? Not unless you drive the kind of Italian sports car that can slide under buses. Is it worth it? That depends on demand. At 8,888 yuan ($1,430) per person, those who opted for the seven-course meal prepared by the Four Seasons Executive Chef Weimar Gomez (he’s Colombian not German) spent one-third on the food and the rest on try-and-top-this WeChat posts.

During our media preview on Friday it felt like we had traveled up through the haze to Selfie City. For the first 20 minutes forget about meaningful conversation. Looking down is also a bad idea.

Rainer Stampfer, the hotel’s general manager, compared the experience in terms of price and exclusivity to Ultraviolet, a 10-seat multi-sensory dining experience held at a secret location in Shanghai by Mr & Mrs Bund chef Paul Pairet. But you don’t need an X-shaped seatbelt for that.

So how does it feel to float through the heart of Shanghai’s financial district on a crane-suspended table at 50m, sipping Champagne and eating crabmeat tiramisu with peach chutney along with 21 other passengers? How’s the in-flight service? Can you dip your eyes and still keep the contents of your stomach in place?

What if you need the toilet midway through the two-hour dinner? Or should you opt for the cheaper four-course lunch or afternoon tea? Prices last week started at 1,888 yuan per rally-car bucket seat. Black leather, naturally.

Answers: It feels great, and surprisingly normal surprisingly quickly. The ascent is so smooth that you barely notice it; the table rotates laterally a little in the wind but there’s no tilting.

The food was five-star, and 2012 China champion sommelier Ying Guo made sure we paired the correct wine. And yes, they would happily make the 90-second descent for restroom breaks upon request.

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