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Classical fare that makes the world go round
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There is still much love in Asia for revolving restaurants. In all honesty, the concept is not bad, quite enjoyable in fact in a city like this, but the novelty has worn off. Enjoying a hearty lunch while the city spins around can definitely be an interesting experience.

Apparently first designed in 1959, the concept affords diners with a rotating view of the surroundings.

From such a vantage point, guests can enjoy their meal without feeling like the view is getting old.

The three most important factors, of course, when deciding where to place such a fancy establishment are location, location and location. No one wants a 360 degree view of wasteland, and having such a place in the far reaches of Pudong can be a waste.

Food is apparently less of a concern as well, as anyone who has been to the Oriental Pearl TV Tower eatery can attest to. It might help if the buffet table was moved onto the moving section too.

The Radisson Hotel Shanghai New World has thankfully got both ingredients right. Set right in the heart of the People's Square, the view, even in the foggy weather the city is currently enjoying, is though-provoking to say the least.

The juxtaposition of less modern (as opposed to old) Shanghai with the postcard-esque modern monstrosities jutting out across the pond lends itself to the sort of conversation people conjure when they try to appear sophisticated.

When dining in a five-star hotel, talk of poverty in Africa or repression in Iran does not sit well.

Radisson's spinning option, Epicure on 45, is now offering a three-course business lunch set for nearby executives to enjoy a leisurely meal break while enjoying a two-hour sightseeing expedition of sorts. As with the a la carte menu, diners can pick from Western, Indian and Japanese, with two choices for each that change every week.

Much like the concept itself, the fare is a throwback to the good old days.

This is international cuisine that the local business crowd will easily recognize and recall from the halcyon days of their youth.

Western audiences will also enjoy the retro food that has since gone the way of the dodo in favor of low-sodium, health-obsessed dishes.

The Western set was adequate and filling. Starting with a cream of vegetable soup, the first course was creamy and well-flavored, if a little salty, sprinkled with a good amount of crunchy croutons.

The grilled seafood skewer was also swimming in beurre blanc.

The white butter sauce was again packed so full of creamy goodness that diners would be tempted to lick their plates. While the pilaf rice was a tad dry, all problems were overcome with a generous splash of sauce.

The seafood skewer was in fact grilled fish on a stick. Not an overly exciting dish, but nothing to complain about either.

With sauce like that, Epicure on 45 could have served luncheon meat and would still come out a winner.

Even dessert came with plenty of sauce. The apple pie was a highlight, with good chunks of fruit and delicate pastry doused in vanilla rum sauce.

At 98 yuan (US$13.50), the deal is a steal.

The Nanjing Road property's executive chef, Karl Beter, hails from Austria and shows his age and experience by not going for the latest fads and trends.

The lunch set clearly shows the focus of the 520-room hotel in providing business solutions and dining options for its target local audience, while at the same time giving overseas visitors an affordable and enjoyable experience.

Address: 88 Nanjing Road
Tel: 021-6359-9999 ext 4210/4212

(Shanghai Daily January 15, 2008)

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