Townsville, Queensland, Australia
August 30, 2001
Shang Palace restaurants are a feature of Shangri-La hotels so it should not have been a surprise to find that this restaurant was superb. What I had not known before dining there was that the restaurant had just gotten a new chef, a new operations manager and a new style. Chef Ip Chi Kwong has 32 years experience in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia under his hat. He creates Cantonese cuisine with a sparkling fusion of flavours and spices. Operations Manager, David Wong, also brings years of experience to his position and you see it in the friendly warm service from staff and an uncompromised level of service standards.
The restaurant is luxurious in that special Chinese way. The entrance is grand and the thickly-carpeted room is open and bright but oozing with character and opulence. Starched white tablecloths are a fitting base for fine-crafted china, silver cutlery, and smooth ebony chopsticks with silver tips for that extra touch of elegance. We dined with a local food expert so left the ordering to him. We were not disappointed.
A succession of dishes arrived and was quickly devoured. Frankly I didn’t realise I was so hungry but then perhaps I was just greedy to see what was coming next. I particularly enjoyed the steamed spotted garoupa rolls stuffed with a flavourful mixture of Jin Hua ham and bamboo pith. The braised shark’s fin soup with shredded lobster was popular with everyone. I don’t think there was anything we didn’t enjoy.
Frankly, there was no downside to this meal except the price. It is not a place to go every day, but for a special occasion it is perfect. Our meal for four cost RMB1200 (about US$145) including service charge, with green tea but no other drinks. The atmosphere, the service and the food will be long remembered after the price is forgotten. Weeks later, after returning home, we are still talking about our fabulous lunch in Shanghai. When we return, we plan to again eat at the Shangri-La. We say we want to try the Inagiku Japanese restaurant but I suspect we will again end up at the Shang Palace. It’s just that good.
From journal Seeing China's Future