Last night Grace and I had dinner at Ultraviolet again – the restaurant that I called ‘an incredible food experience’ and ‘a restaurant that people may travel to Shanghai for, just to try it out’ on this blog after our first visit. It’s extremely hard to get seats and to get them I had to make a reservation exactly 3 months in advance on Ultraviolet’s website. Sometimes a few seats open up at a later time, but the best way is to just check the website regularly and grab seats once a new day is added to the schedule. There are only 10 seats per night at Ultraviolet so you have to be quick once you see available places.
In the Ultraviolet kitchen with Paul Pairet
I won’t describe the whole Ultraviolet experience again, you can read that in the post I wrote last June, but I can tell you that the experience the second time is at least as good as the first time. Because you know where you will go and what will happen you can actually focus more on the food itself, which was again out-of-this-world. Too bad China does not have Michelin stars yet, but if they ever will this will likely be the first 3-star one in mainland China. The first time the experience was sometimes almost overwhelming, meaning that all your senses are so hard at work looking at the video projections, listening to the audio, smelling the fragrances and looking at the wait staff performing, that you focus less on just the food.
Last time we were part of table #7 and last night’s table number was 133. The guests were a very different group than during our first visit. The first time people were there more for professional purposes than too purely relax, therefore it was relatively quiet and people did not talk much during the meal. Last night, however, the group was more of a mixed bunch (among others a VC, a doctor, expats working for multinationals, a student and an American tourist who had read about Ultraviolet in the New York Times and had flown in to try it out. Some had actually read my blog post about Ultraviolet!). We had a lot of fun and were frequently laughing during the dinner, it felt a lot less formal than in June this year.
The 22-course course menu was the same as half a year ago (menu UV A), but we knew that in advance and it did not matter. I was actually looking forward to eating some of the special dishes again, because there is no other place on this planet where you can get them. Fabien and Greg both told me that there will be a new menu (UV B) from late February onwards, they are working hard on that right now. After the second menu is in place they will change from UV A to UV B in weekly or bi-weekly intervals. Eventually there will also a menu UV C and UV D, but I assume that will be at least another 1-2 years from now.
Talking about Ultraviolet’s future plans with Greg Robinson, Ultraviolet’s Head of Research
The staff knew that we were returning guests (it does not happen very often yet, partly because of the difficulty to get seats and partly because of the price) and we were personally welcomed back, which is always a nice gesture. During the gummi bear run (hard to explain…) I was even asked to join the staff to run around the table!
Gummi Bear run at Ultraviolet
What I had not expected is that the staff was still having as much fun as they did 6 months ago. They are not acting but you can see that they truly love their jobs. It must be great to give interesting guests every night the best meal they have ever had in a setting that nobody can really imagine in advance. Ultraviolet is here to stay and we’ll be back as well, thanks to all the staff for another unforgettable evening!
‘Cleaning the dishes’ after another fantastic meal at Ultraviolet