Shanghai Restaurant Week is an event held twice a year by the good folks at Dining City. For one week, one gets to enjoy set lunches and dinners are some of the most exquisite restaurants in Shanghai, for a fraction of their usual price.
For this reason, it is best to visit the finer dining restaurants during Restaurant Week. For this season, I chose 3 restaurants, 2 of which I knew were already highly regarded, and took a gamble on the other.
For this post, we will be reviewing Pelhams at Warldorf Astoria along The Bund.
Pelhams is a restaurant serving French cuisine. Located at the prime location of No. 2 at The Bund, it is no wonder that their usual prices are also ‘heavenly’. For restaurant week, the 3 course lunch set could be had for only ¥178 per person.
I picked the pan-seared scallops for starters, black truffle morel mushroom risotto for mains and the chocolate cake for desserts.
My Partner had the asparagus soup for starters, pan-seared sea bass for mains and a ‘fruity soup’ for desserts.
The meal started with complimentary bread, and ended with complimentary petit fours.
Now on with the dishes.
The pan-seared scallops at Pelhams are without a doubt, the current best that I have eaten in my life. Perfectly seared, the scallops had a slight caramelized crust but was tender when cut. The consistency of the meat was sublime: tender with a slight resistance to chew. The accompanying greens and sauces provided a pleasant contrast between sour and the umami from the scallops, and also a contrast between textures of the crunchy greens versus the delicacy of the scallop flesh. Superb.
My companion’s asparagus soup was a little watery, not your typical cream of asparagus, which was what it looked like. Asparagus flavours were there, along with some morsels of fiberous asparagus. Sadly, a stark difference from the scallops.
Then came my risotto. Beautifully presented, with a slice of parmesan on top. Flavor-wise, was a little lacking. While the risotto was perfectly executed – al dente style, I couldn’t taste much truffle flavor despite the litter of black truffle around the dish. To put this in perspective, one black truffle xiao long bao at Din Tai Feng had more flavor than this entire bowl of risotto. Neither did I taste much mushroom flavor from the morels, which was a pity. Now don’t take me wrong, the flavours of both truffle and morel mushrooms are there, but just a little too subtle for a risotto, in my opinion.
My companion’s sea bass was beautiful, both in presentation and taste. The colorful dots of sauces looked like candy at first glance. The bass was tender and broke apart delicately with a gentle prod of the fork. The skin was crisp and well seasoned. This would have been perfect if paired with the scallops as starters. Alas, neither of us had the correct pairing.
My chocolate cake dessert was again, beautifully presented. The raspberry ice cream balanced with the bigger dark chocolate nicely. I wasn’t a big fan of the cherries. Still, a very exquisite looking and tasting dessert.
My companion’s fruit dessert was colorful, but I felt a little messy in presentation. It was a tad too sour overall, too many sour fruits and not enough sweet elements to balance it up. There were oranges, raspberries, a dried pineapple slice, dragon-fruit, all of which were resting in a passion fruit puree.
The manager then presented us each with a trio of petit fours (pictured at the top of the post), which I thought was a very nice touch and made the visit even more memorable.
In conclusion, it was a very pleasant lunch, some hits and misses but the quality is definitely there. I would like to return on special occasions for that special meal. Otherwise , their ala carte menu is unfortunately out of my usual budget.
Total bill for 2:
¥356 (without drinks) (Shanghai restaurant week promotion)