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CEN HK Q1 2018

SHANGHAI STAR French

SHANGHAI STAR French chef Pierre Gagnaire, who holds three Michelin stars at his original restaurant in Paris, has opened an elegant new restaurant in the former French Concession neighbourhood of China’s largest city. “Shanghai is fascinating and very gastronomic. I’ve wanted to be there for a while, but I was waiting for the right location and the right cast,” Gagnaire explains. Le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire at the Capella hotel, which occupies a low-rise 1930s villa complex, has chic, Art Deco-inflected décor with French doors opening on to a garden courtyard. The kitchen is helmed by chef Romain Chapel, the son of the late Alain Chapel, who was one of the founders of Nouvelle Cuisine, which modernised French cooking by making it fresher and lighter. Romain, who previously cooked at Gagnaire’s Sketch in London, has a light, sophisticated style that references both his father and Gagnaire, but is entirely his own. Among the dishes not to miss are the elegant ginger-flavoured lobster fricassée with cinnamon-seasoned wheat semolina and diced apples and the lamb crépinettes, a fine patty of minced lamb with grilled cabbage. Superb desserts come by way of pastry chef Clément Ayache – be sure to leave space for the praline profiteroles. pierre-gagnaire.com Clockwise from top left: chefs Javier and Chow; Happy Paradise‘s xinjiang spice roasted aubergine and courgette; treats from a Hong Kong Foodie tour John Javier and May Chow Hong Kong Heat An all-encompassing food experience and a groundbreaking female chef enhance the city’s culinary credentials GOURMET GURUS Hong Kong is one of the world’s most foodobsessed places, with an intriguingly multilayered gastronomic culture that ranges from simple but spectacularly delicious street food to an impressive cluster of some of the globe’s top Michelin-starred restaurants. The best way for a foodlover to begin to take on this banquet of delights is with one of the three excellent Englishlanguage tours offered by Hong Kong Foodie Tours, a group of natives who take a real pleasure in sharing and explaining their city’s indigenous cooking style. The Sham Shui Po tour, for example, includes visits to outof-the-way addresses Le Bar at the Capella exudes old-world glamour Le Comptoir‘s Tarbouriech oysters gaya like Hop Yik Tai to sample local favourites such as rice-flour rolls with homemade peanut sauce, hoisin and chilli jam, and A1 Tofu Company to try the wonderfully refreshing tofu dessert with ginger syrup. hongkongfoodietours.com CHOW’S CHOW “Being a celebrated female chef comes with a sense of social duty,” says May Chow, who was born in Toronto and first discovered her love of cooking while studying for a degree in hotel management at Boston University. “I want to set a strong example for those who follow in my footsteps and increase the world’s awareness of women in the culinary professions,” says Chow, who went on to cook in Los Angeles with James Cameron and then at Alvin Leung’s brilliant Hong Kong restaurant Bo Innovation before PHOTOS CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: © LE COMPTOIR DE PIERRE GAGNAIRE (2), © HAPPY PARADISE, © HONG KONG FOOD TOURS LIMITED (2), © HAPPY PARADISE 36 CENTURION-MAGAZINE.COM FOR HOT TABLES IN MUST-VISIT CITIES, GO TO: CENTURION-MAGAZINE.COM

finding fame with the “bao burgers” she originally sold in local markets. Bao are steamed buns with various fillings – a Chinese comfort-food classic. Chow rethought them through the prism of her knowledge of North American cooking and created the bao burger, which has become a huge hit at her restaurant Little Bao. Last April, with Australian chef John Javier, she opened her latest eatery, Happy Paradise, a comfortfood diner that has since become a sensation with local gourmands for its serious cocktail list and neo-Cantonese dishes like Szechuan chicken wings with daikon and Hokkaido scallops, sugar snaps, peas, broccoli and shrimp paste. The dish not to miss here? Slow-cooked chicken with glutinous rice, a luscious casserole of deboned fowl with Shaoxing rice wine sauce. happyparadise.hk Cobia, lap cheong glaze, purple sweet potato and okinawan spinach from Happy Paradise PHOTOS FROM TOP: © HAPPY PARADISE, NIKKI TO (3); BOOKS: COURTESY OF THE PUBLISHERS Paper Bird‘s fare includes shrimp-brined fried chicken, below Much-travelled cook Anissa Helou shares culinary experiences and time-tested recipes from the Mediterranean, Middle East and beyond. harpercollins.com Digestible Digests Ruth Rogers celebrates three decades of her iconic London restaurant, with memories, unseen photos and a selection of classic Italian dishes. penguin.co.uk The Potts Point-based restaurant keeps the décor simple Ned Brooks, Ben Sears and Eun Hee An More than 400 simple creations fill this comprehensive guide to Nipponese food compiled by acclaimed food writer Nancy Singleton Hachisu. phaidon.com FLYING HIGH IN SYDNEY The capital of New South Wales is mad for Asian food, and the latest address that has Sydneysiders swooning is Paper Bird, a restaurant and bar serving East Asian-inspired dishes in the premises of a former bakery in the city’s Potts Point neighbourhood. If the dining room itself is visually rather plain, the cooking of co-chefs Eun Hee An and Ben Sears is spectacular. Drawing inspiration from the kitchens of China, Korea and Japan, they create contemporary dishes like congee (rice porridge) enriched with milk and garnished with crab and corn; crabmeat bibimbap where the dressed crab tops rice with runny scrambled egg, nori and shaved Brussels sprouts; shrimp-brined fried chicken; and fresh tofu with double-boiled chicken broth and enoki mushrooms. With service directed by co-owner Ned Brooks, the atmosphere here is mellow and relaxed, and there’s an excellent wine list and a fine offer of beers. paperbirdrestaurant.com Scandal and sophisticated lifestyles go hand in hand in Luke Barr’s examination of the first truly modern hotel and restaurant. crownpublishing.com CONTACT CENTURION SERVICE FOR BOOKINGS CENTURION-MAGAZINE.COM 37