A high-end French rotisserie with game meats on the menu opens in Taikoo Hui. Here's the catch: There's a stripper pole in the center of the room.
The year of chicken might be drawing to a close, but the rotisseries just keep on coming. Possibly the fanciest rotisserie in Shanghai to date, Paris Blanc opened last November in the posh Taikoo Hui, helmed by the people behind Paris Rouge. But where Paris Rouge delights us with fantastic renditions of beef Wellington and pâté en croûte, Paris Blanc fails to live up to the hype.
The restaurant looks promising on the surface. The menu encompasses essentials like chicken and pork, as well as more exotic options like pheasant and rabbit. All of this is cooked in a pair of professional-looking rotisserie ovens standing proudly in the open kitchen.
What comes to the table, however, is a different story. The pheasant (RMB468) arrives sitting on a bed of straw with its head held high, yet we fail to see what it could possibly be proud of. The meat is so tough it is almost inedible, and lacks any trace of the rounded depth we expect from game meat.
The rabbit (RMB268) comes carved into dry, wizened pieces. The sauce underneath adds very little except sweetness, which the rabbit doesn’t need.
That same sauce drags down a roasted pork knuckle (RMB238), which at least has the benefit of being reasonably tender.
There are only two things from our dinner that we might consider ordering again (that is, if we ever stumble into this restaurant again in what would have to be drunken lack of judgment). That would be the steak and a serving of potatoes: A hulking 800g ribeye (RMB768) sports a nice crust over juicy, flavorsome meat. Easier on the pocketbook is the potato gratin (RMB56), pleasantly creamy with a kick of black pepper at the end.
Appetizers see some nice ideas fumbled in execution. An overeager application of tartar sauce drags down chunks of pork feet (RMB98), despite its likable gelatinous texture. Sharp vinegar and pointed mustard punch the lights out of a delicate fish tartare (RMB138). Tender beef tongue (RMB98) is trapped in a jelly that tastes of little else but gelatin.
For dessert, the cheesecake (RMB68) and the chocolate fondant (RMB79) are decent enough, although the latter could have a richer center. At least the two beat the crispy honey peach (RMB72) and the ring-shaped lemon tart (RMB76), both of which are misconceived and bewildering.
The interiors are also mind-boggling, set with different themes. Four huge chandeliers, an array of overstated animal prints, and—wait for it—a stripper pole in the center of the room. Yes, there are nightly performances on that pole. It all gives the impression of a French dining room being invaded by a circus and a nightclub at the same time.
Paris Blanc is a grand-looking restaurant that under-delivers, displaying the form of an upscale French rotisserie but not the sense. If you just want a fancy place to show off and don’t really care about what you put in your mouth, then this would be a nice option. But be careful not to drink too much—there's only one bathroom.
Don't believe us about the stripper pole? Well, you asked for it:
Our Rating: 2/5 Stars
What: Paris Blanc
Address: S113, Taikoo Hui, 789 Nanjing Xi Lu (near Shimen Yi Lu) 南京西路789号兴业太古汇S113 (近石门一路)
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