A friend once told me that all you need for the perfect evening is a good view and good company to share it with. Sat in The Penthouse on the 38th floor of the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen surrounded by friends, I look out over the city and can’t help but wonder if this is what he meant.
If my friend was right and all you need is a good view and good company, then I’m sure he would love The Penthouse, but that’s not all this bar has to offer.
As I exit the elevator and enter The Penthouse, it becomes clear quite quickly that this is no ordinary bar in a hotel.
The first thing you notice is the view, and what a view it is. From the 38th floor of the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen, visitors at The Penthouse have a stunning night view of the city. Looking out from one side, you can see all across Luohu, and from the other side you can see out over the border into Hong Kong.
The layout and design of the bar opens up naturally, encouraging visitors to enjoy whatever kind of evening they had in mind. The rectangular bar in the middle of the room offers plenty of seating for those who like to mix with the staff and other guests. Walk down from the bar area and you will find it opens into a wider space with larger tables for those coming in with a group. Explore the bar more and you will find cozy corners that are perfect for those on a date.
As I settle into the evening, I get the sense that The Penthouse is focused on doing what it does well. The attention of detail and demand for quality is evident in everything the bar does.
The cocktail menu reads as a who’s who of the best classic and modern concoctions. After I try the Negroni, I would be hard pressed to think of a place off the top of my head that does it better.
Moving on to the spirits selection is like flicking through the greatest hits of Scotch and Japanese whiskey. With around 70 bottles of whiskey it’s plenty and those that they have are the ones worth having. Any bar that has Hibiki 21 Years or Laphroaig 25 Years has a damn good whiskey collection in my book.
When it comes to the music, the playlist has been carefully chosen and the volume has been set just right. It’s like the perfect guest. It keeps the night moving along, but is never too loud or outstays its welcome.
Recently, The Penthouse has been inviting more and more international DJs to perform. The well-balanced mix of pop classics and chill out dance that I hear on the evening I am there creates an atmosphere while guests are still able to relax and talk to one another.
Although The Penthouse is a bar first and foremost, it would be a great disservice not to dedicate some time to describe the dishes that can be ordered from the kitchen. The bar has a teppanyaki station and kitchen that stays open late into the night for whenever you feel peckish.
After trying a Whiskey Sour or two you may feel like ordering the Iberico Belotta Ham. If you are celebrating and have a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin opened, then you might want to add some Irish Oysters draped in Champagne Mignonette and Lemon.
What really impresses about the kitchen at The Penthouse is the creativity in the dishes. The chefs have taken classic items you might expect to find in a bar and reimagined them as something that is fresh and new.
The Tuna Sashimi Tacos combines the best of Japanese and Mexican cuisine, adding the freshest tuna and wasabi mayonnaise to the classic taco shell. The Australian Wagyu Beef and Seared Foie Gras Mini Burgers are quite simply the best sliders I’ve ever had. It is hard going back to regular burgers after you take that first bite and the beef and foie gras melts in your mouth.
They say you should always start as you mean to go on. That could be said to be equally true of a night on the town. In that case, make a statement of intent and start your evening at The Penthouse.
Whether you are showing clients around town and you stop in to share a bottle of single malt or you might just want a place to relax over a glass of red and take in the view. You may be out with friends to celebrate a birthday and you want to start the night somewhere memorable over a couple of bottles of prosecco.
Whatever the occasion, start your night in style at The Penthouse and, if the mood takes you, you may find you end it there too.
Address: 38th Floor, Grand Hyatt Shenzhen, 1881 Bao’an Nan Road, Luohu, Shenzhen (中国深圳市罗湖区宝安南路1881号, 深圳君悦酒店38层)
So there you are. Sat out on the decking, laid back on the cushioned sofa. In your hand rests a tumbler of single malt. It’s a Macallan and you slip it slow out of appreciation to the 25 years it took to make. On the table before you is a platter of Gorgonzola and Gouda, but you reach forward for a slice of cured Iberian Ham. A firework goes off and you look out over OCT Harbour. From your front row seat of the lake, you have one of the best views in the area of the firework show happening across the water.
Soak it all in, because Unicorn Bar offers an experience that is almost as rare as its namesake.
Unicorn Bar can be discovered in the gift that keeps on giving that is OCT Harbour. Walk from the nearby Shenzhen subway station through the cocktail bars and fine dining restaurants towards the bar and you can take in the evening atmosphere. Somewhere a band is playing Hey Jude while somewhere else there is someone playing a Sam Smith song on saxophone. Continue on your way, however, down to the private waterfront to find Unicorn Bar.
The bar has a quite striking architectural design and its something that hits you from the moment you step inside. Think traditional men’s club mixed with a pop art exhibition. But it works. On one side you have a long whiskey bar behind which are private rooms while on the other side are white statues of unicorns lit up with purple lighting. The décor comes together to meet on the decking. The long deck offers comfort and privacy with plenty of cozy seating areas that look out over the water.
At its core, Unicorn Bar is a whiskey bar and it certainly has the collection to match it. From your Highlands to your Lowlands, Unicorn Bar has got just what the doctor ordered. Some highlights of the collection include Yamazaki 25 Years, Talisker 30 Years, and a personal favorite in the Ardbeg 23 Years.
But Unicorn Bar likes to get creative with the drinks too and they’ve got a cocktail menu that is as innovative as the whiskey collection is extensive. There’s the unashamedly flashy Smoky Mojito. While it leaves its mark with its presentation, when you take that first sip you realize there’s substance there as well as style. My personal favorite was the Sangria. Using only the finest ingredients and the freshest fruits, it’s rare to find a Sangria that is so refreshing, so smooth, and so deceptive its potency. Why try something new when they are making the classics this good?
After a couple of drinks, it’s time for something to eat. Unicorn Bar has a carefully chosen pick of snacks that pair perfectly with a Balvenie 30 Years or a Singapore Sling. The highlight is undoubtedly the Iberian Ham, which is imported from Spain, cured for 48 months, and sliced in front of your eyes. The Cheese Platter, which boasts a board of half a dozen different cheeses, and the Fruit Platter, which arrives smoking from the dry ice it is presented on, complete what makes a perfect table of finger foods.
If you are looking for a greater degree of privacy or just somewhere to talk business then you can look at taking one of the three private rooms available. They are only open to VIP members, a membership card that requires a deposit of RMB50,000.
For those not quite ready to become a VIP, there is always the decking and its view. And what a view it is. Arguably, what makes Unicorn Bar stand out above the other bars and restaurants in the area is its location. From the decking, customers can look out across the entire lake with a totally unobstructed view. Perfect for viewing the daily firework display at 8:30 pm.
When it comes to somewhere to drink, few places are as relaxing, offer as much privacy, or have such a view. Unicorns were meant to be mythical. It turns out they are real. They are just extremely rare. Make sure to come pay a visit to Unicorn Bar and savor the experience.
Address: 1 North District, OCT Harbour Shopping Center, 8 Baishi Road East, Nanshan, Shenzhen (深圳市南山区白石路东8号欢乐海岸购物中心北区1栋)
When done well, nothing quite compares to Italian food. It could be Black Squid Ink Risotto at a Michelin-starred restaurant in a luxury five-star hotel in Milan. It may be a plate of Linguine Pasta with Seafood at a tiny family-run restaurant in a small town in Abruzzo tucked away off the street. It might even be at a friend’s apartment in Rome who has prepared a home-cooked classic Mushroom Lasagna with Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese.
Like a glass of Barolo or a bottle of Ferrari Brut, once you have tried Italian food as it was truly meant to be, it’s hard to go back to the way you knew it before. What a delight it is then, to have found Oggi Enoteca.
I must admit, I was excited to hear that the Oggi group was opening a new restaurant in Shenzhen. Oggi opened its first branch in Guangzhou in 2005. Over a decade later, the Italian brand has opened another four restaurants in Guangzhou and one other in Shekou. Each branch represents a different aspect of Italian culture and cuisine, but they have all become synonymous with quality in the dining scene of Southern China.
Their restaurants are the places to be seen and the guest list on any given night can be like a who’s who of some of the most famous people in the city. The likes of World Cup winning football coaches Marcelo Lippi and Luiz Felipe Scolari, Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey, and world-renowned pianist Maksim Mrvica are all counted amongst Oggi’s guests.
In UpperHills, Oggi has found the perfect place to open their latest restaurant. Boasting some of the most exclusive fashion brands and the world’s first ever Muji hotel, the newly opened complex is fast becoming one of the hippest areas in town.
The layout and furniture are exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Oggi name. From the simple and clean modern seating to the touch of quality you can feel when you take your seat or run your hand across the table top. The lighting is set perfectly to a warm glow. The music is at a volume where it can be enjoyed without it impeding on the conversation. Oh, it’s Andrea Bocelli, in case you were curious.
What is most striking about the restaurant is the wine collection located on the second-floor balcony. Accessed by a spiral staircase, those who ascend the steps are rewarded with one of the finest selections of wines this side of Tuscany. For Oggi Enoteca, which Enoteca translates as Wine Shop, wine is at the heart of their concept for the restaurant.
In fact, speak to the staff and they will be on hand to recommend a bottle of wine that pairs perfectly with any of the dishes. Speaking of which…
The food menu is like a tour of Italy. Reading through the dishes you get a real sense of the history and the culture of the country. Unsure of which part of the Beautiful Country to visit, we ask the manager, Alessandro Petrini to be our guide and to select some dishes for us.
There are several famous quotes included in Oggi’s menu. From Irish poets to Italian proverbs, they are full of wit and no small amount of wisdom. One in particular reads, “You don’t age while seated for a meal”.
As the chef prepares our dishes, we have fascinating chat with Alessandro. We talk about Italian politics, football, and everything in between. And true to the quote in the menu, by the time our meal arrives, I do not feel I aged one bit. It’s a welcome reminder that a good conversation can be as nourishing as a Calzone Folded Pizza or a Seafood Stew from Tuscany.
Another quote from the menu reads, ‘One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one hasn’t eaten well’. After the meal we were about to enjoy, we would have no problem doing any of the aforementioned.
The starting courses set the bar high. Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Avocado and Quinoa Salad arrive alongside Seared Tuna peppered in Pistachio Crust with Sweet Peppers Cream and Sicilian Caponata. The salad is rich with hearty and fresh ingredients, but it is the tuna dish that really captures the imagination with its mix of European and Middle Eastern flavors.
The starters leave us wanting more, and thankfully, more dishes promptly arrive. A risotto, a dish that is hard to find in China the way it is intended, and a ravioli, a dish I struggle to find in China at all. The Radicchio Risotto is a piece of art in balancing the bitter Italian chicory and the bite of the gorgonzola. While the black colored ravioli catches the eye, it is the inspired filling of poached salmon and mascarpone cheese that stays with you long after your last bite.
There is still more to come, however, as the Pan-Fried Sea Bass Fillet and the Roasted Rack Of Lamb appears. The Sea Bass comes with roasted potatoes and a sauce of made from capers, olives, and oregano. The pan-fried fish is locally caught, but tasting it you would be forgiven to feel you were in a restaurant on the Amalfi Coast. The Rack Of Lamb is served with a puffy potato sufflè and a Montepulciano red wine reduction. Farmed in New Zealand, it is truly a superior cut of meat.
All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately, that includes a meal at Oggi Enoteca. Yet it’s no time to despair because before we leave there is still the desserts to sample. The selection proves to be inspired as the rest of the courses. The Fresh Strawberry Tiramisu is recommended for two, but you would be forgiven if you wanted to order one of these all for yourself. The Hot Chocolate Cake is served with Vanilla Ice Cream, providing the kind of contrast that all fine desserts have.
After I take my last spoonful of tiramisu, I am left with an unfamiliar feeling. My heart and stomach could not be more content, but as I cast a glance at the menu on the table, I see so many more dishes I still wish to try. And as I leave, I’m already planning my next visit.
Oggi Enoteca truly is a tour of Italy and its rich and beautiful cuisine. One evening you come and through the Radicchio Risotto take a trip through Northern Italy. Come for lunch and explore Sicily by sampling the Seared Tuna with Pistachio Crust or the Melanzane alla Parmigiana.
So, what are you waiting for? Begin your tour of Italy today with Oggi Enoteca.