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[Radar]: Fount

Yet another addition to Surpass Court, this brand new sushi bar is a posh, post-industrial playground for Shanghai's well-heeled.
2011-01-06 15:50:44
Area: Recent Radars have been batting us back and forth like a tennis ball between Shanghai’s two latest lifestyle hubs. This week, the ball is back in Surpass Court. Fount can be found in one of the larger spaces in the compound, just behind Fulton Place, four floors down from The Roof, and just across the court from Lola and Brownstone.

What it is: An ambitious upscale Japanese restaurant, and since one of the investors is an undisclosed Chinese A-list celebrity, we’re going to go out on a limb here and say this place is something of a vanity project, too. Fount bills itself as “French-style Japanese”. Truth be told, we're not exactly sure what exactly is so "French" about it. It's Japanese through and through, if you ask us.

Fount’s chef boasts stints at Nobu’s pastry shop and The InterContinental Hotel in Tokyo. Those are both pretty prestigious notches to have in one’s belt, so this should tell you something about his standards of quality. And because of this, the menu seldom stays the same. It all depends on freshness and availability.

On offer is a wide variety of sushi and sashimi. There are, of course, your obligatory salmons, shrimps, and sea urchins. And then there are more aristocratic options like lobster, pomfret, toro, and halibut. Traditional dishes such as Tajima steak (wagyu beef), miso cod and stewed pork belly also feature prominently on the menu. Then, to pique the interest of well-heeled locals (clearly Fount’s target market) they offer steamed eggs with Abalone and Shark’s fin. No surprises here.

What really stands out at this place, however, are the desserts. The chef is clearly keen to showcase the skills he picked up at Nobu with treats like green tea pudding and handmade Japanese-style ice cream. Try a few of his creations with one of their dessert sampler plates.

Atmosphere: Let’s call it post industrial chic – cold and austere with lots of exposed concrete and dark timbers. It looks a bit like a construction site – a spotless, immaculate, hot, trendy construction site. The restaurant comprises three main spaces: an outdoor patio, a lounge (which is ideal for intermittent smoke breaks), and then the main dining room which sidles up to a garden of water features.

Damage: Sushi prices run a wide gamut, sushi portions (two pieces each) start around 30rmb, which is fairly standard. But you can easily pad that check with an order of toro for 225rmb. Wines are 400rmb and up. If you avoid the luxury items like toro and shark’s fin (which you should avoid on general principle anyway), this place isn’t really any more expensive than any other decent sushi joint.

Who's going: Conspicuous consumers. Is there any other kind in Shanghai?