Although his latest project is located in Singapore, not Shanghai, famed Hong Kong restaurateur Calvin Yeung named his first overseas venture One on the Bund, after Shanghai's legendary riverbank with good reason. The goateed Yeung, who is also a chef and a self-taught interior designer, says that when he first saw the waterfront building that houses his restaurant, "I thought it reminded me of Shanghai." That could be because it's flanked by colonial-era buildings with an upcoming casino resort and new financial hub just meters away.
The 10,000-sq.-ft. (930 sq m) One on the Bund seats 350 diners and is located in Clifford Pier (circa 1933; named after then governor Sir Hugh Clifford) a building that had not been in use since ferry operations to Singapore's Southern Islands relocated in 2006. The installation has been sensitively done: when building the restaurant, the 45-year-old Yeung was required by local authorities to avoid tampering with the beloved colonial structure especially the arched trusses that span almost the entire length of the building.
About a quarter of One on the Bund's menu is composed of seafood dishes, the ingredients sourced and served with great finesse. The emphasis on freshness can be attributed to Yeung's upbringing on the picturesque Hong Kong island of Cheung Chau, which still supports a traditional fishing community. Also available are several signature dishes from his Hong Kong restaurant Shui Hu Ju, known for Chinese cuisine with a modern twist: crispy lamb ribs, clams in white wine and chili padi (a small fiery chili pepper), and young asparagus dipped in white sesame are among them. Admittedly Yeung can be a tad affected when it comes to styling: some dishes arrive served in wooden rice scoops and handwritten menus come on unwieldy hand-carved tablets Yeung picked up from old houses in Shanghai. Remixes of traditional Chinese songs fill the air and Yeung has even decorated the atmospheric restaurant with an opium bed and parts of his personal collection of vintage luggage and contemporary Chinese art. Fortunately the natural light that floods the premises, as well as high ceilings and a color scheme that emphasizes white, keep One on the Bund from looking overwhelming as spaces can sometimes be when crammed with ornately carved Chinese furniture. For information and reservations, call (65) 6221 0004 or visit www.wws.com.hk.