THE new Kathleen's Waitan Restaurant and Cocktails brings offers what it calls "authentic world cuisine" atop a mysterious former opium warehouse on the Bund.
The restaurant with a terrace is in a four-story building on top of the former Sassoon warehouse at the mouth of Huangpu River. According to Kathleen Lau, the restaurant founder, the warehouse was used since 1906 by the family of tycoon Victor Sassoon to store opium. The main building is now rented for office use.
Lau says she hopes to express her "interpretation of the city, international and multicultural, modern and nostalgic, through food and the whole dining experience."
Stepping off the elevators on the fourth floor, visitors see a modern interpretation of a traditional Chinese lattice work screen. The restaurant with French windows and luminous glass wall panels affords a view of the Bund and the skyline of Pudong.
Visitors can enjoy the view from a 3.6-meter-long bar or be seated on a terrace overlooking the river. Guests order from a global menu of cocktails, wines, Champagne, sake and soju, a Korean vodka-like rice liquor.
The table settings and serving style are Western, but the menu is multicultural and also includes Japanese sushi and sashimi, American grilled steaks, Mediterranean soup, Italian pasta and risotto, Cantonese salad, among many other dishes. Mexican jalapeno peppers are used to season the kingfish. Argentine chorizo pork sausage is used to make lentil soup. Shanghai cabbage is served with lobster.
Ingredients are both sourced locally and imported from America, Australia and Europe. Beef comes from Australia and fish from the North Atlantic.
Tender and juicy wagyu beef is aged for 300 days to concentrate the flavor. Butter-braised lobster is served with Arborio risotto, black trumpet mushrooms and brassica. Passion fruit sauce is drizzled over the dish, bringing out the lobster's sweetness.
Appetizers include tempera prawn rolls containing crunchy prawn and cucumber and rolled in sesame seeds. Desserts include chocolate lava cake with a crisp crust and hot "molten" chocolate inside.