Newly Opened Haiku in Jinqiao 金桥, Shanghai
Lucky Shanghai-ers, I rarely envy you but when I stepped in to the newly opened Haiku in Jinqiao 金桥, I was so green with envy I practically turned into the Hulk.
Designed by Alan Wong, founder of the Hatsune Restaurant Group in Beijing, the space is stunning. It is unique in its own right, but with the high ceilings and perfect lighting illuminating a soft glow throughout the dining area, it bears the same trademark of Alan’s other restaurants, especially the Hatsune Sanlitun Branch which won “Best Decor” in this year’s Beijinger’s 2012 Reader’s Choice Awards.
Hatsune Sanlitun Branch: CFFC 2011
I’ve always been the type of person who likes to save the best for last.
Maybe it’s just me, but I always like knowing that the best is yet to come and when that moment arrives, I like to savor it and make it last as long as possible.
Back in April, I managed to gorge myself with about 20 gourmet month meals in 30 days. And out of those 20 meals, the general consensus agreed the best value and our overall favorite meal was at Kagen.
Some of the other restaurants may have been newer, trendier, fancier, better customer service, etc., but when it came down to the food quality, quantity and overall dining experience, Kagen blew our expectations.
With the start of November, I was pumped for Gourmet Month all over again.
For the past two summers, Alan will take on 3 interns from UNC (University of North Carolina), who will spend two months in an entrepreneurship program to learn about start-up companies and the F&B industry in China. Through this program, the interns get an inside scoop “behind the scenes” of Alan’s restaurants, from spending time in the kitchen, behind the bar, greeting customers at the reception, and eventually serving tables. And once a week, we all get together to attend Alan’s lectures to raise discussions pertaining to the F&B industry, doing business in China, and also to learn from him and his successful business models and effective management style.
Each of the three interns were posted in different venues, and with each venue, the interns made a strong effort to invest themselves and make the most of this unique opportunity- proactive, motivated, and helpful.
As this was their last week in China, we inadvertently found ourselves on a tour of the Hatsune Empire.
I’ve heard a lot of people make comments about this summer in Beijing. For the few of us remaining who weren’t lucky enough to get away and travel abroad, we’ve been stuck to deal with an absurd amount of rain (I swear it only rained a total of 2 times my first year in Beijing from 2006-2007) and an overall unusually quiet summer. I guess it’s only natural that the year after the epic 2008 Olympics, Beijing’s summer 2009 is bound to seem quiet in comparison without the additional hordes of tourists, athletes, events, games, hype, and Olympic parties.
While it’s no surprise when it’s empty out during Beijing’s bitter cold winter nights, I’d expect a lot more people to spend their summer evenings out dining, drinking, enjoying the summer heat. But people seem just as content going home early to watch a DVD in the summer as they do in winter.
But is it quiet because people compare this summer to last year’s Olympic madness? Or is it quiet because many people have left Beijing for summer vacation? Or is it quiet because people are just waiting for a reason to come out?
1st Stop: Sake Tasting at Morio
Perks from my job: Alan inviting me to tag along with him to a sweet Sake Tasting at Morio (Hotel G). It’s quite perfect timing that the great Taka Yamamoto chose this particular time to host a Sake Tasting at Morio – while Alan and I are in the midst or sorting out all the details for Haiku’s Sake Tasting on August 12!
Alan and I are both a little puzzled upon arrival as we are seated at a 2-person table, expecting that we’d be sitting together with a group in an isolated section for the sake tasting. I guess it was not meant to be a group thing.
Taka was great to introduce some very fine and exclusive sakes for the tasting – we tried 5 different sakes, which were paired with the first 5 courses (7 in total).
Just to give you a taste of what we were served: