Late-night date with Mr & Mrs Bund

(N.B. These photos were taken on my iPhone, I am terribly sorry for the quality; I tried salvaging them in Lightroom and Photoshop, and this was the best I could manage).

There was one restaurant I visited in Shanghai which I conveniently left out of my Shanghai Foodie Guide posts. During our visit, C and I were made to feel like royalty. Everything from the location, to the service, and finally the menu and food itself. This experience remains one of the highlights of my trip and I felt it deserved its very own post.

Paul Pairet is the Head Chef mastermind behind this avant-garde French high dining, right in the middle of Shanghai. Mr & Mrs Bund is displays a relaxed sort of refined elegance and simplicity, and never once compromises its chicness.Even before you enter 18 Zhongshan East 1st Rd as it runs parallel to the river in The Bund waterfront area, you know you are about to go on a special journey. The elevator's interior is clad in a luxurious red velvet, and as you arrive on the 6th level, the doors open you up to a marble landing. The modest plaque accompanying the enormous, dark oak doors on your left is a subtle indication you've made it to the right place.
It's 11:28pm on a Wednesday night - it seems farfetched that they would still be serving dinner at this time of the night.

We push through the heavy front door, which is received on the other end by a dainty little waitress, dressed smart casual in a black blazer and a white shirt, paired with crisp jeans and clean white converse sneakers. She greets us warmly and asks for our reservation, before taking us through the dimly lit dining room, to an oval shaped table which has been especially prepared for our 11:30pm session.
I have no qualms about putting my bag on the plush carpet, I am only worried I may have stepped in something outside and brought it in with me. But before I get the chance, the waitress brings over a miniature chair as if for a little person, and invites me to place my bag onto it. I dare not mention it is only a cheap knock-off from the markets
After a quick run through how the 250RMB 3 course late-night special works (that's $46AUD for three meals at a world-class restaurant), she hands us a large A3 sized menu each, equipped with mini clip on reading lamps, and allows us to ogle and drool over the options.
The waitress returns a few moments later, and we recite our orders to her. She doesn't need to write them down, instead, she keeps her hands firmly behind her back, nods patiently, and then takes our menus away once we have finished, before returning to open up our napkins onto our lap for us.

As midnight approaches, I focus on the room and the large number of people who are still also dining at this time; while also admiring the stunning view of the glittery and colourful lights of Pudong across the river.

The waitress returns with a complimentary pre-appetiser to start the night.
The country terrine is presented in a most rustic, modest, way; packed like canned fish. A bowl of various freshly baked breads accompany the terrine; toasted lightly with a crunchy surface and a warm and soft interior that breaks apart to release a heavenly aroma. Tonight was never meant to be a light meal - and to let such fresh bread and succulent pate go to waste would be a crime. We graze upon the appetiser throughout the night, to provide sufficient time for digestion and maximum consumption.

When the waitress returns, she pulls out a retractable end table which had been stowed away beneath our dining table, and temporarily places her tray with our appetisers onto it. And then, with army-like precision, she dresses our placemats with the appropriate cutlery, and serves us our respective entrees.
C had been dreaming of the delicately smooth and buttery foie gras all day. It has a slight saltiness which compliments the generously thick and fresh sourdough toast accompanying it.
My mushroom truffle salad, on the other hand, is light with strong cheesy moments that leave a lingering aftertaste on my lips and in my mind, even long after I have finished it.
As promptly and efficiently as she had done before, the waitress returns not long after with our mains. C's beef cheeks are opulently perched upon a pillow of creamy potato mash and dressed with a sprinkling of crunchy You Tiao Croutons and finely chopped spring onion, while my lamb shank, is presented to me like an award, supported by generous helpings of rich baba ghanoush and sesame and herb sprinklings.
The meat is so gorgeously tender, it slides off the bone like silk. Each mouthful leaves me wanting more and I am saddened to realise I have reached the end of my dish.

With our bellies pleasantly full, we sit back to relax and reflect upon the fine dining experience and Shanghai in general, before the menus are returned to us so that we can decide on what to have for dessert.

The vanilla dame blanche has a whipped cream, mousse-like texture, and is marbled with a warm chocolate sauce. It goes down a light and sweet treat, and is the ideal cherry on top of a faultless dining experience.

C's 'chocolate very melting', however, places this whole dining experienced into a completely new league. The dark chocolate pudding sits in a blood red pool of raspberry sauce, and it topped with a mini scoop of vanilla ice cream. As you take to the centre of the pudding with the spoon, the molten centre leaks into the coulis, and as the ice cream melts into the luscious soup, you are hit with a delightful variety of sweet and sour notes. It was so outrageously good, it puts my little dame blanche to shame. Suddenly, I am kicking myself for not having ordered one myself!

The smiles cannot be wiped from our faces as we dwell upon this night's feastings. It's close to 2am, but you would be forgiven for thinking it was much earlier, as the city remains buzzing and several stores open.
I couldn't have asked for a better dining partner this night than C, my fellow Aussie, who shared my love for all things fine and decadent.
I still rave about this meal to everyone, and dream to make it back here again some day!

Mr & Mrs Bund,
外滩18号6楼18 Zhongshan East 1st Rd,
Huangpu, Shanghai, China


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