In a sprawling megalopolis like Shanghai, dining options are obviously plentiful, but in the highly competitive fine dining segment, things could always be cranked up a notch. That’s the objective of the newly opened Lunar in the city’s Taikang Lu area, a dining establishment with an elegant design-led setting to match. As its name already implies, the restaurant takes its name from the Chinese lunar calendar, and aims to elevate Chinese fine dining to new heights with Singaporean chef Johnston Teo‘s culinary talent and expertise. The interior design, created by Shanghai-based practice Sò Studio, is modern and understated in true Scandinavian tradition, featuring an infusion of light wood, stone and a demure sand colour palette one wouldn’t perhaps expect from a place like this.
The establishment measures 260 sqm. (2,799 sq.ft.) spread across two floors and sees traditional elements from Chinese culture embedded in the interior design. Upon entering the premises, guests find themselves in a spacious lobby, situated right next to a plush waiting lounge for drinks prior to heading upstairs for dinner. Inspired by a tea pavilion, the understated setting sees walls clad in terrazzo tiles and wooden flooring as a backdrop for MatzForm furnishings and sleek light fixtures by Herman Miller. A flight of stairs leads to the Lunar‘s dining space featuring a similar minimalist aesthetic. Here, walls are clad in panels of light wood which at the top end connect with a sinuous cornice referencing traditional gardens in the surrounding Jiangnan region and tying in the private dining space along the way.
The flooring of polished concrete tiles is alternated by decorative cutouts filled with pebbles or a large rock as a nod to Zen gardens. A rock is also used as an element for a custom-made shelving unit in the middle of the dining space. Seating is varied, comprising tables and chairs, booths, curved sofas, and a large communal table in the private room, which by the way, can be closed with semi-transparent sliding doors. As said, Lunar is all about fine dining, and chef Teo aims to elevate Chinese cuisine to a higher level with tweaks taken from Western cuisine while also establishing an honest relationship with farmers and suppliers. Top ingredients a carefully sourced from home and abroad, resulting a delicate and beautifully presented dishes which obviously come at a certain price.