Chef-founder Paul Pairet (pictured) with head chef Greg Robinson
Candle in the wind
A secret location, somewhere in Shanghai
Tell us a story: Founded in 2012 after more than a decade’s gestation, Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet is considered by many to be the most avant-garde restaurant experience in the world. The brainchild of the aforementioned French chef, Ultraviolet is open to just 10 guests per night, who will experience the ultimate in immersive dining in a secret city location.
How it works: The high-tech gastronomic production utilises elements including video, audio, bespoke lighting, piped-in scents and, of course, good old food and drink to stimulate every sense, with each course its own self-contained mini drama. It is also described as ‘a story in 20 courses’.
On the menu: The original ‘UVA’, the subsequent ‘UVB’ and more recently the ‘UVC’ menus rotate on alternate weeks. Both are equally original, unusual and witty, with dishes that are high-concept but, crucially, still delicious. 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. Tomato Mozza And Again is a clever duo of dishes – one savoury, one sweet – which appear to the eye to be identical but taste strikingly different, thereby playing with misperceptions of taste.
What’s the room like? Guests are dropped off by minibus in a dark alley, before being ushered inside through an unmarked door. They find themselves in an all-white, cocoon-like dining space with a single spot-lit table, at which everyone sits together. The room then transforms itself throughout the meal; at one point the walls even slide back to reveal the kitchen at one end. The whole experience, including the warm and personable service, led Ultraviolet to win the Art of Hospitality Award in 2018.
Images: Scott Wright of Limelight Studio