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July 11, 2010

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Sensual food in pavilion's rooftop diner

THE Expo Shanghai has a rule about all pavilions, except for the permanent China Pavilion, that they be no more than four floors and 20 meters high for easier dismantling.

Few pavilions use their top floors which are often reserved for staff offices or VIP lounges. The France Pavilion restaurant "6 Sense" is one of the few rooftop diners in the Expo.

The name of the restaurant is in line with the France Pavilion concept whose theme is the "Sensual City" and provides opportunities to see, smell, taste, hear and touch the glamor and romance of France.

A small section of the kitchen, behind a transparent glass wall, is part of the exhibition on the second floor. Visitors can get a sense of how the much celebrated French cuisine is prepared.

The restaurant has a separate entrance for visitors wanting to dine on the dishes.

With a seating capacity around 300, it is divided into indoor and outdoor sections, with the 160-seat patio preferred by customers. The rooftop terrace provides a great view of stunning Expo pavilions, the Huangpu River, and the Lupu Bridge, and is a special place when all the night lights are on.

The view is a splendid compliment to the sophisticated taste and elegant presentation of a three-course set menu provided by star-rated Michelin twin chefs from Montpellier, Jacques and Laurent Pourcel.

"We have designed the menu to provide traditional French tastes. It has been quite difficult, considering all the restrictions on food and delivery and the large flow of customers," Jacques said.

"In order to achieve the quality and authenticity of the dishes, we have fixed on a basic 15 products to shape our menu," he said.

"These are the products that we could be sure of the quality, freshness and quantity."

He added that he would have preferred to buy directly from markets on the street if permitted. The chef will do so for Maison Pourcel, a French restaurant opening soon in the former French Concession area.

He has already visited nearby markets a few times and is satisfied with the quality of products.

As for "6 Sense," the brothers have managed to design the menu with hallmark products of French culinary arts, such as cheese, wine, foie gras and duck.

In building the menu, they also considered that "most visitors won't have the time and patience to appreciate a full French course, as they will just want to enjoy quick and good food before moving to the next pavilion," said Jacques.

The set menu costs 398 yuan (US$59) and includes a starter, main course and dessert. It provides three options for each course and they vary slightly every day.

One can also choose to have the set with a glass of wine, soft drink or coffee, for an additional 100 yuan.

Jacques especially recommends the France Pavilion Dessert, frequently available in the options.

It is a green tea mocha and chocolate ice cream cake in the shape of the France Pavilion.

Other frequent options include Compression of Maine Lobster with Duck, Ham and Melon, Sea Bass with Lemon Confit, Sea Scallops Carpaccio with a Warm Clementine Vinaigrette and Baby Leek Salad.


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