Going up in flames is part of the fun

 

Royal Club Lounge, where breakfast is served under a soaring ceiling
Flambé by an expert
789 Nanjing Road, Le Royal Méridien Shanghai’s elegant aerie, floats above the city

Going Up In Flames Is Part Of The Fun

Favola is Le Royal Méridien Shanghai’s Italian restaurant, though the word ‘restaurant’ hardly seems fair as a term for a place where the city’s Italian expatriate community gathers on Friday nights to grab a bite of the most authentic cucina italiana in the city.  With a spacious bar area, tables for seated dining, and a living room complete with fireplace, Favola is more of a home for Italian-food lovers than a restaurant.   The Friday night Incontro has been a Shanghai gathering for the Young And Beautiful since its inception two years ago, though of course the Unyoung And Dressed Up are also most certainly welcome to enjoy the food, the wine, and the ambience.

A craving for that one perfect pizza, weeks unsatisfied at home, was finally banished by an exquisite gorgonzola creation with a superb crust serving as the foundation for the intense flavours it supported.  A simple pizza, but a masterpiece, one followed by the lowest calorie option on the requisite dessert menu, pears poached in red wine and topped with rosemary sorbet—no skimping on the satisfaction, though. 

The food and setting are not the only extraordinary aspects of Favola.  How Le Royal Méridien Shanghai manages to find such an array of goodlooking staff, all with smiles that light up the room, is a secret worth keeping from its competitors.  Charming Dutchman Erik Theeuwes, a majordomo of goodwill, spends his entire night ensuring all of Favola’s patrons are not just happy, but completely, blissfully content.  For the non-Italian speakers among us, favola means ‘fable’, as in ‘fabulous’.  How appropriate. 

The same goes for Le Royal Méridien’s dining experiences at Allure, home to chef Michael Wendling and his vast talents for making French Mediterranean cuisine a star in China.  Allure is a casual French restaurant; forget the haughtiness that can be associated with French eateries, just sit back and enjoy the taste sensations as they come to the table.  In addition to its usual dishes, Allure often runs special themes to further enhance its menu options.  The current theme, flambé, saw the lovely Ms. Cervera setting alight a select cut of aged beef doused in cognac.  Crêpes Suzette, of course, is the classic flambé dessert—who could resist a double flaming?

After-dinner digesting can be done in the surrounds of the sublime 789 Nanjing Road, Le Royal Méridien’s skyhigh lounge where the lights of the city spread out in all directions, glimmering like jewels against black velvet.  789 is one of Shanghai’s most glamorous spaces; not overdone, but rather with quiet sophistication, it does not try to be more than it is because it is already very impressive.  Sink into a deep armchair and enjoy the views with the cocktails; you have reached the height of Shanghai chic—literally.
 
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: R.L.B

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