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Sky-high restaurant no pie in the sky

THE city's latest dining destination has opened with a bang, and already it looks to be a steady draw for food lovers and casual diners alike.

The highly anticipated 100 Century Avenue -- Park Hyatt's "Tavern in the Sky" -- is finally up and running.

Spanning floors 91 through 93 of the 101-story Shanghai World Financial Center, 100 Century Avenue, is a gourmet paradise, offering diners the choicest picks from Chinese, Japanese and Western kitchens.

Taking the Mezza9 concept from the Grand Hyatt Singapore and kicking it up a notch, the restaurant embodies what Shanghai is destined to achieve -- bigger, better and more exciting.

At 100 Century Avenue, the interactive kitchen stations whip up simply the finest local and imported produce the city has to offer.

The shellfish on ice counter offers a seven different types of fresh oysters, from the universally popular Kumamoto variety from California (340 yuan for six) to the more intense Virginica (390 yuan for six) from Washington State. Confused by the options? No sweat, as the informed waitstaff will guide you through the menu.

The cry for quality sushi and sashimi is also now answered, as the Lujiazui property flies in fresh seafood from Tokyo's famed Tsukiji fish market three times a week. Such quality comes at a premium however -- a small platter will set you back 200 clams, but well worth it when sinking your teeth into fat chunks of raw fish dipped in subtle yet punchy wasabi and soy.

The Chinese offerings are more than adequate. The local favorite xiaolongbao, or steamed bun (85 yuan), is stuffed with chunky pork and crab roe, while the dumpling skins are almost perfect except for a slight thickness where the wrappers are pinched close.

The double boiled chicken and mushroom soup (85 yuan) is like manna from heaven during the frosty winter, with the mushrooms lending a delightful sweetness.

While picking and mixing is encouraged, it can be jarring when ordering select dishes. The Cantonese duck (185 yuan), for example, or the spicy Sichuan chicken (160 yuan) while faultless in themselves, may stick out when ordering with other dishes from the other cuisines.

Still, the concept lends itself to the grill, and this is certainly the show-off element. The 250 gram Australian wagyu ribeye (450 yuan) was perfectly cooked in the 800 degrees Celsius Beech char-grilled, right down to the slightly caramelized crust and the rich puddles that oozes from the flavorful meat when sliced apart.

The pudding list is also far from run of the mill. Diners can opt for single serves of creative ice cream sundaes such as the Irish Coffee (vanilla ice cream, espresso coffee and whiskey cream/ 85 yuan) or plump for classic cakes large enough for two to three patrons (although 3 to 4 people sharing may be a little more realistic).

Any review would be incomplete without mentioning the aesthetics of the place, both within and without. First, the view out the 24-meter high floor-to-ceiling windows is undeniably spectacular. On a good night, the restaurant affords a majestic view of Puxi and Pudong in its entire splendor. Just remember to book ahead for a window vista.

The interior is also just as impressive. The Tony Chi designed outlet is in the vein of a modern-Chinese residence, with what the press release describes as "gates, halls and chambers" welcoming guests and the sprawling 2,870 square meter space adorned with gigantic wall murals and dramatic art installations leaving diners in awe.

There's plenty of entertainment too, with the 92 floor split into a Western bar with jazz acts and a local salon, complete with ball room dancing. Both pack personality in spades, and leave guests spoilt for choice to unwind with one of the well-made, creative cocktails.

Address: 100 Century Ave, Pudong

Tel: 6888-1234


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