A mind-boggling food adventure with its own unique soundtrack
A visit to Ultraviolet is a surreal experience: part glamorous James Bond lair, part mind-bending psychedelic trip. Guests meet at chef Paul Pairet’s central Shanghai restaurant, Mr & Mrs Bund, to be driven by minibus to a secret location in the city where the entrance, via an industrial lift cage, is revealed. Inside a white room – white walls, a single white table, white chairs for just 10 guests – the ‘immersive’ event begins.
Each dish is eaten to a different soundtrack, while an array of scents waft around the room and the walls and even the tabletop are transformed with films and pictures. So for Fish-No-Chips the music is The Beatles, the table is enrobed in a Union Jack, and rain lashes on vast windows while guests nibble on delectable deep fried caper buds filled with mayonnaise. There’s nothing gimmicky about the flavours, though: Foie Gras Can’t Quit, for example, is a crisp fruit skin cigarette filled with an airy foie gras mousse sitting in an ashtray dotted with black cabbage ash. And it’s as utterly delicious as the high-quality wine (and other beverage) matches throughout. Now the third menu manifestation of this pioneering project, UVC, (as opposed to UVA and UVB) is up and running.
Pairet’s cooking has a delicate touch so, despite the full 20 courses, you’ll leave the table without feeling weighed down. The experience may be avant-garde and inspirational, but above all it’s enormous fun.
Images: Scott Wright, Limelight Studio