Opened almost a decade ago, The PuLi Hotel was Shanghai’s first urban resort. Located close to Nanjing road - the city’s main shopping drag - the property is today, among a multitude of luxury accommodation brands that have set up in the dynamic metropolis over the past ten years. That, along with the arrival of a host of international celebrity chefs including Jean Georges and Jason Atherton, means competition to stand out in the culinary crowd is at an all time high.
In answer to dwindling diners, the hotel’s once staid restaurant, Jing’An, has now been given a much-needed refresh by Australian firm Layan - the property’s original designers - that has transformed the dark, dated interiors into a sleek destination. Now called Phénix, the eatery has been divided into two dining rooms, split in the middle by a bar area, which smartly creates a sense of arrival. Taking inspiration from the nearby former French settlement, the design firm has included low-key references to the Art Deco period in Paris, with the understated use of materials such as mother of pearl and rose gold which - lining the rattan covered tables - adds a sense of glamour while staying close to the hotel’s Asian heritage. A ‘cabinet de curiosite’ meanwhile, showcases an eclectic collection of objects that add a touch of eccentricity to the polished space.
The newly devised menu by chef Michael Wilson is modern French. Expect to find comforting classics from roast and confit of duck to steak frites, with the odd Mitteleuropean dish thrown in for good measure. We suggest the expertly presented heirloom tomatoes to start, followed by the whole baby turbot meunière, which coated with seaweed butter and local spices, is once again a subtle reminder of the hotel’s Asian roots.