Laris Goes Local
Few would argue that taking natives on at their own game can be a mission fraught with peril, but Greek-Australian wonder-chef David Laris has proven himself more than up for the challenge with his latest culinary offering Le Sheng. Deviating from the default contemporary European-inflection of his numerous projects past, Laris instead boldly dishes up classic Shanghainese fare – though he’s quick to point out he is not the man behind the menu. With Anhui native chef Fang Chao installed to create the recipes, and Laris on hand to provide the artistic styling and flair, the result is a sophisticated exercise in what happens when traditional flavour meets uber-now aesthetic.
On the plate, guests can expect favourites such as deliciously flaky xunyu (smoked fish), crabmeat xiao long bao (dumplings), and light-as-air catfish shizhitou (Lion’s head meatball in soup) to start. Dong po style braised pork and marble beef with scallions follows, with all dishes plated and presented as if telling a story – like hairy crabs scuttling after a trail of pomegranate seeds. Similarly, the cocktail list seamlessly blends old and new with a gin, lychee and oolong martini standing tall alongside a premium tea and wine menu. A slick, simple interior of dark wood and seductive low lighting rounds off Laris’ homage to his beloved city, and proves whether foreign or local, it's quality that counts.