Shanghai has a fast-growing scene of fine dining restaurants and one of the earliest ones to open up was Jean Georges. Now already open for ten years, it is the local branch of celebrated Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who runs his flagship restaurant in New York and now has over twenty venues worldwide.
Set in a former warehouse along the Bund, the restaurant shares its kitchen with Nougatine, a more accessible and less formal venue which takes up the first part of the floor. Towards the back, guests of Jean Georges are seated with a view on the famous collection of Shanghai skyscrapers. The dining room itself is rather dark and traditional with fancy white linen resembling the old French grandeur in China’s biggest trading city.
Nowadays the kitchen in Shanghai is run by Executive Chef Paul Eschbach who has grown through the ranks inside Jean Georges’ restaurant empire. Having started in New York back in 2002, Chef Eschbach previously was the Executive Sous Chef in the flagship restaurant before taking the lead in Shanghai in September 2013. To keep in touch with the team, Chef Patron Jean Georges still travels to China at least once a year and only for special events.
The kitchen style in Shanghai is similar to the one in New York, meaning a predominantly French cuisine with a lot of Asian influences and seasonal ingredients to guarantee a maximum of freshness. Some of the dishes are even exactly the same as in New York, such as the egg and caviar, the tuna ribbon or the signature chocolate cake. The reason behind this is to keep the Jean Georges experience similar all around the world. Chef Eschbach creates other recipes, but before they are served they are personally tasted and approved by the Founding Chef in New York.
Wines are available from all around the world with of course the biggest emphasis remaining on the French motherland. To keep a certain level of exclusivity and attractiveness towards upscale Chinese customers, the cellar boasts an impressive selection of rare Bordeaux and Champagne vintages in addition to more easy drinking varieties.
All things considered, Jean Georges in Shanghai is a highly reliable venue to enjoy French cuisine with an Asian twist. Though it may not be groundbreaking, it still delivers one of the best gourmet cuisines in town.
Written by Sebastiaan