|11:30am - 10pm|
|1/ F, InterContinental Century City|
|028 8534 9999 - 3521|
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Pete Sweeney (more chengdu)|
Before I went to Ponti's, I'd started to forget what European-style fine dining was like. It's hard to pull off here. It's not that you can't train Sichuan’s chefs to cook European food, but the service etiquette and customs are profoundly different, and given the high turnover rates of wait staff, you have to keep retraining your servers as to why you present the cork to the customer, why you have to bring courses out consecutively and dishes simultaneously etc. A certain western chain in town, for example, has now taken to cooking dishes one by one, and serving them family style, as if you could share a burger with chopsticks.
Ponti's, on the other hand, has managed to train and retain a Chinese staff that has clearly been honed in the fine points of classic Western service. They serve the appetizers together, wait until you're done eating them, then fire the main courses. They light your cigarettes. "This is the first time in China somebody has asked me how my meal was," said my date was flabbergasted. While I don't think you should pre-chill white wine glasses in the freezer, that's the default way they serve it here, so request a regular glass if you prefer. All this, it should be noted, comes with a very American 15% service charge.
The food matches the service. This isn't your standard Americanized pasta and pizza place (although they have both, but the pasta is made fresh!). The appetizers and main courses vary between traditional and adventurous, but the menu isn't too distracted. Notable dishes included the cheese plate selection, the Caesar salad, simple but excellent. As far as main courses are concerned, they offer lobster with cream caviar, lamb loin with zucchini tempura, and a varying allotment of specials.
Notable pastas included the foie gras ravioli in vermouth sauce with black truffles and the black ink fettucine with shellfish.