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Lost Heaven

Aug 27, 2009
by Christopher St Cavish

Area: Bund-ish. This Lost Heaven is off Yan'an Dong Lu, down near the Bund, but not part of Bund Proper. It's not a stately heritage building and there's no views over to Pudong, but it's almost, almost there. The old Bund One, or One on the Bund, or Bund 1, or whatever it was, that housed the now-shuttered De La Coast is about thirty steps east of where this new Lost Heaven is. From a taxi zooming past, you'd see the massive "Ricoh" sign that towers behind the building before you'd see the building. The area is still obstructed by construction, and it's a mess at the moment, but that'll clear up by the end of the year, leaving Lost Heaven a short walk across Yan'an from Three on the Bund, Five on the Bund, and The Westin Bund Center.

What it is: Four floors of Exotic. Lost Heaven's original location on Gaoyou Lu is wildly popular for its super-romance, Exotic Asia vibe and its Golden Triangle food. This location builds on that restaurant/lounge formula -- dim lighting, piquant food, Ethnic Minority Grab Bag decor, cushions, cushions, cushions! It's massive -- 3,000 square meters. The second floor is the same restaurant everyone knows and loves, with its mix of dishes from northern Thailand, Yunnan, and Burma (self-described as "Mountain Mekong" cuisine). There's a few tweaks here and there, in some new dishes on the menu, and an ultra-long communal table. It is, apparently, inspired by the Hani tradition of ever-extended feast tables, and seats up to a hundred people. But, mostly it's the same Lost Heaven. The real difference is that this one is not so tough to get a table at. Yet.

The first-floor interior decor shop sees Lost Heaven branch out into home furnishings. It's a mix of a new, original line and some things brought up from Yunnan. More interesting than Miao throw pillows, though, is their ambitious new lounge and bar. The third floor is split between an expansive wooden terrace and an airy lounge bar. They mentioned to me they want it to feel like a hotel resort, and it does. All that's missing on the terrace is a swimming pool. Everything is scaled large and luxurious. Fourth floor? Just a little hiding place for, oh, another two hundred people or so -- private functions, stockholder conferences, AA meetings. You know, group party stuff.

Atmosphere: Luxurious, escapist, cushy, romantic, Minority slash Buddhist Fantasy. Lost Heaven and its sister restaurant Coconut Paradise specialize in this kind of vibe. You can hardly string up a line of Tibetan prayer flags without hitting some carved teak piece or a silvery antique-looking minority something carried a million miles across an ancient horse trail. Put those things in a spacious and clean wood-floored dining room with burgundy pillows and sultry lighting, and it instantly evokes some serious date atmosphere.

The upstairs lounge is vaguely tribal, with multi-colored triangle trim and three striking portraits of Yi elders who've grown dreads past their feet. Of course, there's Buddhist-ish statuary inset into the walls and royal carved wood chairs. Plus house music. Those minorities -- they love their pumping, glamorous house music.

Damage: Dinner is about the same as the original Lost Heaven -- around 200 rmb per person. Cocktails, including 28 new ones made with Golden Triangle ingredients, start around 50rmb.

Who's Going: This new spot basically functions as an all-in-one date place: contemporary Yunnan and SE Asian dinner, maybe with a bottle of white; a few hours on terrace negotiating a bottle of red; a couple hours in the lounge, or lounging on a day-bed on the terrace, signing the papers and drinking cocktails. It's not the only draw, but it's a good one. It'd also work as a launching pad for people planning a night out on the Bund -- dinner here, a walk over to the Glamour Bar, Lounge 18, Bar Rouge -- and a great place to take visitors staying in the area.
August 26

17 Yan'an Dong Lu, near Sichuan Lu
Map & Details

6330 0967


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