It has been around a year since Simonetta Garelli took residence at Giovanni’s, the Sheraton’s crown jewel. Now that the buzz has died down a little, we went to see if Italian fine dining is still up on the 27th floor of this Hongqiao five star hotel.
Between the vista and the sophisticated menu, time could easily slip by as we soak up the view in deliberation. Bringing a basket of freshly baked bread the waiter seems familiar with our hesitation. He offers that white asparagus is in season and the chef has created number of dishes centred on this theme.
We begin with white asparagus, scallops, parma-ham and black truffle dressing (¥125), the asparagus adding perfectly to the complex and rich tones brought by the truffle oil. A spinach, ricotta and parma-ham ravioli (¥125) was absolutely flawless with both the spinach and the pasta cooked until exactly the right second to release that perfect ensemble of flavour and texture.
With good Italian food, timing is key. The impeccable service left us long enough to catch our breath and savour the restaurant’s exclusive atmosphere before the second course arrives. Seabass with fennel and shitake mushrooms (¥185) is a rich ensemble of the fennel’s coarse texture, mushroom’s mature flavour and sea bass’ succulence that puts Shanghai’s river offerings to shame. Veal roll with white asparagus (¥210) was neither beautifully presented nor complex in flavour but offered the veal in all its tenderness.
I must admit a penchant for ravioli, but the Nutella, mascarpone cheese and caramelized asparagus ravioli (¥75) was pure heaven, each pouch bursting with liquid chocolate in pasta’s answer to the fondant. As the final bites are upon us Garelli circles the floor with a beaming, knowing smile. We are beaming back.