The idea of a crossover masterpiece, which has evolved into a new way of branding, is catching on globally. Luxury fashion industry has been at the forefront of this trend, and is now extending its territory into the catering services. Thomas’ Cafe in London (Burberry), Blue Box Caféin New York ( Tiffany & Co. ) and Pasticceria Marchesi in Milan (Prada) are succesful examples worlwide of this kind of engagement. As the philosophy and aesthetics of luxury fashion brands find their way into food and beverage, people are offered an access to an enriching and refreshing dining experience.
The trend is a blooming reality in the burgeoning Greater China too, and several personalized luxury venues are expanding their fingerprints: here are the best "branded" places worthy of visiting.
Mercedes Benz in Shanghai
Mercedes Benz, division of German company Daimler AG, is a luxury automobile brand. Under the frame of Mercedes Me, the automaker has launched a series of unique lifestyle experiences since 2014, offering accessible social interactions.
Following Hamburg, Milan, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Munich and Beijing, Mercedes me Store opened in Shanghai in April, 2018. The store is multifunctional, offering dining, retailing and test-driving experiences.
There are two stylish restaurants in the store. M. E. is a chic western restaurant led by Singaporean chef Vincent Wong who is specialized in Italian and French cooking techniques. The veteran chef stuns diners with his spectacular cooking philosophy, trying to give a touch of playfulness and fashion to simple dishes. For example, he can serve a common watermelon transformed in a Japanese sashimi - after slow-cooking - with so deep an attention on details that the watermelon’s edible-sliced skin resembles ginger slices usually served beside sashimi.
“It is hard to define my dishes, as they are open-minded, boundless, limitless, with a touch of surrealism” Wong says. Dining to the feast of surrealism, the restaurant sets up a fabulous outdoor dining area with laid-back atmosphere and a panoramic view.
Mercedes me Store
N103, 558 East Zhongshan No. 2 Road, Bund Finance Center, Shanghai
Vivienne Westwood in Shanghai
The premium punk-wave British fashion brand Vivienne Westwood made its crossover café foray into Shanghai in 2015.
The café is located in the Vivienne Westwood store in an artistic shopping mall in the city. Inheriting the classic English tea culture, the exquisite café is merged with tea essence. The café is divided into two areas: one side is decorated in the style of fashion show backstage, and the other one is an elegant tea room inspired by the museum of The Wallace Collection in London.
It is noteworthy that there is a 13-hour clock on the wall engraved with “ Worlds End ”, Vivienne Westwood’s original store name which symbolizes that the lively spirits will never die. And the brand logo is everywhere from teaware, coffee cups, cakes, and latte drawing.
Vivienne Westwood Café
2/F, 300 Central Huaihai Road, K11 Art Mall, Shanghai
Ralph Lauren in Hong Kong
The American fashion brand Ralph Lauren has stepped further in dining experiences with its Ralph’s coffee & bar in London, The Polo bar in New York, RL Grill in Chicago, Ralph’s in Paris, and Ralph’s Coffee in Hong Kong in 2018.
Ralph’s Coffee is the group’s first crossover in Asia. Next to the Ralph Lauren store, it offers convenient and friendly coffee break. Designed in green, white and geometrical patterns, it is chic enough to cheer you up.
At Ralph’s Coffee you can find blends of Ralph’s Roast, Decaf, Espresso made with organic beans from Asia Pacific, South America and Africa. There is also a good selection of healthy food, sandwiches and cakes. Moreover, some of the dessert recipes came from the founder Ralph Lauren’s wife.
Giorgio Armani has pioneered the luxury fashion blooming in dining scenes for more than 20 years. Joint venture with the local-prestigious restaurant group Aquafrom 2015, the Italian-Japanese restaurant Armani/Aqua lays its foundation in Hong Kong.
Italian and Japanese cuisines live together in the menu, but Armani/Aqua has its defined soul. The restaurant provides authentic Italian dishes and creative Japanese dishes while leaving the trendy concept of fusion behind.
Armani/Prive, the nightclub inside Armani/Aqua, is the fourth after Milan, Tokyo and Dubai ones. With fabulous music ensured, it is a perfect choice for an after-dinner drink. And the 500-square meter-terrace on top offers an exclusive view of the city center.
204-205, 2/F, Chater House, 8 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong
Lamborghini in Suzhou
The Italian luxury group Tonino Lamborghini, licensing Join.In Hospitality Management Co, has launched Tonino Lamborghini Hotel & Resorts in China a few years ago, offering a chance to experience the exclusive charm of Italian luxury, French elegance and Chinese classic aesthetics.
The hotel in Suzhou, East China’s Jiangsu province, is one of the most classic one. It engages all the senses with its classic garden-style architectures of the region mixed with modern design while offering an astonishing range of experience with its libraries of books, music, movies, wines and liqueurs, cigars and chocolates for pleasures.
The two French restaurants present spirit of elegance. The one AL FRESCO features casual sharing, and the other one LE LAC, with a particular design of water table and brilliant lake view, will indulge you with a wonderful fine dining experience in the ancient Suzhou’s wonderland.
Dal is one of those recipes that goes all the way back to the Indus Valley Civilisation. Unlike dishes such as biryani, brought to India by the Moghuls, it is one of those foods that has always been there. It is therefore a building block of Indian culture.