When I was still in Montreal, we use to have an annual restaurant week that allowed great restaurants to show off their latest creations to new customers and allowed diners to experience new restaurants that they’ve been meaning to check off their lists, or often never even heard of before.
I was thoroughly enthused when I learned that China had a similar restaurant week (10 days to be precise) organized by Dining City. The deal is each restaurant will setup their own The reservations started just yesterday but already a lot of popular spots were sold out without a few hours. I still managed to snag four reservations to restaurants that peeked my curiosity. Although I have to admit one of these choices was a spur of the moment decision so I may re-evaluate those choices this weekend.
There is no better way to ring in the New Year than to be in the company of dear friends. A catered, free-flow champagne countdown party and a stay at 5-star hotel doesn’t hurt either though. S o with no desire to weather the cold temperatures outdoors, the mobs of people rushing about and the most dreadful taxi graveyard of the year, I made my way to the Shangri-La’ newest Jing-An branch that had a special promo running. The promo included a night’s stay in their deluxe room (we were graciously upgraded to their premier room with city view upon request), free flow champagne & canapés at the 55th Floor Horizon Lounge & buffet breakfast at their Liang Café.
The entrance was grand and bellhops were waiting as one would expect and you just know it was going to be a good night. There were 8 of us in all staying at the hotel, we checked in and some enjoyed the hotels spa & fitness center. We had a sushi dinner at Japanese restaurant at the Kerry Center.
We choose the premier room, which was well appointed with floor to ceiling windows the length of one all where one could stare down into the great metropolis of Shanghai. The bathroom was my favorite part. There shutter door separated bathroom was equipped with a large ceramic bathtub, heated floors (felt amazing! I will definitely consider having it installed the day I buy my own house), rain shower, smart mirror with clock and TV built in. The bed was comfortable, the pillows and duvets all quite satisfactory. The rest of the furnishings in the room felt simple… almost too simple for the Shangri-la but hey, I’m a simple guy so that was fine for me.
At 11 o’clock we went up to the Horizon Lounge and were greeted by the doormen and were given flashing neon bracelets, although they would have been tacky any other day, new years is supposed to be full of flashing lights, so we delightfully put them on. The theme of the party was masquerade, so we were given hats and masks and offered our choice of juice or champagne to start. Our other friends were already there so we joined them inside for a drink and a view from inside the lounge. I have to the view was splendid. We could see the entire city and there were lots of tasty canapés floating around to nibble on while we waited for midnight.
Speaking of midnight is it was here and the countdown started on the dance floor 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014. Confetti was thrown and fireworks started outside while the crown gathered at the windows inside.
As the night got older, the crowd started thinning out, we started exploring the rest of the lounge and found the dining area was open and the selection of deserts & snacks which looked extremely tempting so we got some plates and pulled some seats for a late night sugar binge.
The next day started at 9 for their breakfast buffet and oh my God it was well worth waking up for. It was possibly the best breakfast buffet I’ve been to in Shanghai. Huge assortments of cheeses, fresh baked breads and cereals, cooked meats and fresh fresh. There were also egg, waffle and ice cream stations, I of course made a visit to each one. The omelets were expertly done and the strawberry pancake was generously topped with whipped cream, wild berry and strawberries. Ended things with fruit and ice cream, I had the pistachio and hazelnut flavors. I think the hazelnut was spot on but the pistachio left much to be desired, the flavor just wasn’t pronounced enough.
After taking a nap from the food coma described above, we made it to the pool & spa. We spent some time in the pool, some time relaxing on the chairs beside it and then headed over the steam, sauna and Jacuzzi. All of which looked sparkling new and aesthetically pleasing, but I didn’t spend much time in the steam room because even with just one other person in there it felt crowded … it was tiny. The sauna was nice, not too hot, and certainly not cold and was free of any unpleasant smells.
After out late checkout at four, we went to Ippudo for a late lunch because the place came highly recommended by our Japanese friend who praised their ramen. I had their house ramen, which was very tasty, if a bit on the spicy side. I’d definitely go there again to try the other flavors.
Random Encounters & Awesome Experiences of an Expat in Asia