It’s not part of my normal, bus-dodging routine to have ladylike lunches at fancy hotels, but sometimes, in the name of patriotism, I have to suffer. Australia has some inspiring talent – take, for example, Pam Easton and Lydia Pearson, fashion designers of international standing who happen to also come from the same tiny speck in the Southern Hemisphere that I do….Brisbane. Their detailed hand-worked garments are works of art, and highly collectible.
This week they are gracing Shanghai in anticipation of next week’s BIG social event, the Melbourne Cup. In case you’re from, like, the rest of the world, the Melbourne Cup is a famous annual horse race, not in Shanghai but several thousand kilometres away in Australia. The cultural significance of this race to Australians is not to be understated, and a few hundred of us will be putting on fancy hats and misbehaving badly next Tuesday in honour of our home country. But more on that next week.
Today we all had a fabulous lunch at the new Langham Hotel in Xintiandi. Despite being only unofficially open they still managed to feed and water seventy or so famished fellow Australians who came along to listen to Easton Pearson speak about their eponymous fashion label, and enjoy a peep at the hotel’s gorgeous new horse-inspired interior. Easton Pearson charmed us all with their down to earth take on the global fashion industry, and their love of Chinese embroideries and textiles.
We were served fillet of salted sea bass with sichuan peppers and tender baby mushrooms , followed by an exquisitely plated dessert – a simple chocolate and walnut brownie, with creme anglaise, a quenelle of caramel ice-cream, and a slender straw of sugar toffee topped with a single flake of gold leaf. If this is their catering menu, I can’t wait to see what their restaurant has to offer when it opens shortly.