Fine Dining at Satine, Hangzhou’s Premier French Restaurant

Fine Dining at Satine, Hangzhou’s Premier French Restaurant

Have you tried Hangzhou's premier French restaurant yet? For the ultimate, romantic fine French dining experience, Satine will be your top choice.

When you think of high-class, chances are the French contributions to the finer things in life are majorly represented. After all, among the classical composers can be listed Bizet, Debussy, and Rameau; among the famous painters are Renoir, Cezanne and Monet. When it comes to fashion, the French have been leading the way for a long time; think: Chanel, Dior and Cartier. We can thank the French for cosmetics and perfume, as well as many advances in science and let's not forget the invention of photography and the cinema. But if all you can remember about the French is their creation of hundreds of varieties of cheeses or wines, you'll at least be a lot closer to the point of this article. French cuisine has been sought after for a long time, and a true authentic experience is waiting for you at Satine, at the Sheraton Xixi Wetland Park Resort.

Passion and Art

The French are known to be passionate people. It's poured into their food, and touches on everything that they do. I was expecting delicious food, but was blown away by just how good it was. I was treated to a whole body experience, a complete French involvement, and I didn't even need to leave Hangzhou.

As you enter, Satine, the artistic experience is all around you. Love and passion bleed from the walls, seeping through the red and black tones, the leather and marble, all create a wonderfully romantic setting. Every table is set with candles and red roses. You can practically hear the popping of Champaign corks, and see the many eager diamond rings, waiting to be placed upon outstretched hands. While my overactive imagination can sometimes run away from me, I really need not imagine any better restaurant for true romantic fine dining.

The simplicity of the setting, which can conjure up romantic and sexy overtones, is really quite genius. Close to the mid-1800s, the popular dance, the can-can, appeared in France. It was exciting and provocative, although still demure by our standards, with the flashing of many layers of petticoats, giving the illusion of being permitted to see something private. The two private dining rooms, which each seat 10 people, captures this unique piece of French history with the ceiling lights emerging from what looks like layers of petticoats. The walls display the elegant lines that a corseted figure creates. Tastefully brought together, the atmosphere of the restaurant is at once sophisticated and chic, romantic and intimate. The lighting is all Italian crafted, and the plate ware is imported from Germany.

Like many cultures around the world, the French don't believe in rushing your eating experience. The atmosphere you sit in must be pleasing, as you can expect to be there for a while. The restaurant can hold up to 40 people, but the manager pledges to never have a full house. They would rather turn away guests so the people dining can continue their intimate dining experience, with all the high-class service their well-trained waiters can provide.

At the helm of the restaurant is French Chef Alain Rion. He took the time to share some of his philosophies that go into his cooking. The first is that there is nothing fusion about his food. He creates pure, authentic French cuisine. This being the case, he must rely on importing many of his ingredients so they are up to his standards. The next thing he shared is that good cooking is slow and unrushed. “Respect the food,” he said. “Take the time.”

He dislikes the misconception that French food is heavily cooked in butter. He personally strives to make sure it is not over used. He personally visits every table, and helps explain what you are eating. Having trouble understanding an English speaking French man? Not to worry, there are pretty local waitresses ready to translate and explain French cuisine to you.
Passion goes into everything the Chef prepares. “You need to have the passion. The day you stop the passion, you must stop cooking.”

If you are not tasting it, you won't believe it. But when you taste it, immediately you see the difference.” – Eric Gong, Director of Marketing Communications.

The Menu

Most people choose to order a three-course meal. This involves ordering an appetizer off of the hot or cold menu, followed by an entrée, and leaving room for desert. From the cold appetizers we were privileged to try the Salmon “mi cuit”, fennel and annis (90 RMB). This popular staple on the menu is a good choice for anyone who likes salmon. It is slow cooked, chilled quickly and served with caviar topped quail eggs, and a mushroom soup topped with truffles. As someone who is not particularly fond of mushrooms, I found the soup to have a delicious, earthy taste. I believe that if a chef can prepare your least favourite food in such a way that you are ready to ask for seconds, it is a mark of his good skill.

From the hot appetizers we were allowed to try the Goose liver foie gras, ginger bread, figs and monbazillac (140 RMB). This rich dish is a goose liver patty, rolled in ginger bread seasoning and accompanied by pureed sweet figs. The chef also sent to our table the Langoustine ravisles, noilly sauce martini, aub to try. This is a slow cooked lobster dish stuffed in ravioli pasta and bathed in a truffle sauce.

Everything that came out was scrumptious, and by this point I was getting worried that I would not have enough room or appetite for the main course. But as the Sirloin of Wagyu, truffle-crush mashed potato and oxtail jus (460 RMB) and the Lobster Parmentier on Salmon, citrus veal jus (250 RMB) made their way to the table, I realised that the unrushed pace of French cuisine was to allow each course to be appreciated as much as the next. The Sirloin of Wagyu, imported from Australia, with marbling score of 4, was very tender and melted in the mouth. It was simply magnificent and is not to be missed. I suggest rushing there at once to enjoy this dish before it changes; this leads me to tell you about the set up of the menu, which will change every three months.

The goal is to keep the selection of dishes small and desirable. The steak selection will change with each menu (as a special preview, I was told that Kobe beef will be on the next menu). That said, my salmon dish has proven to be so popular that it will remain as a staple item on the menu. The Lobster Parmentier on Salmon is a nice sized piece of salmon, sitting in a tangy veal and lemon sauce. It is surrounded by soft-boiled quail eggs, and topped with a generous portion of mashed potatoes mixed with lobster. The dish is very tangy, and I at first mistook it to be doused in vinegar. The delicious tang gives way to the warmth of the perfectly cooked salmon. As many mouthwatering choices as there are, I am highly tempted to keep returning to just eat this one dish alone.

Throughout our meal we were offered fresh baked bread and butter. It's worth mentioning that the Sheraton sells their homemade fresh bread, chocolates and other baked goods onsite in The Pantry.

We were compelled to try all of their delicious selection of bread, and at risk of loosing room for desert, did manage to try a little bit of each one. Fortunately, we ordered the Warm liquid centered chocolate cake, vanilla ice cream (80 RMB), which requires enough time to be baked. We also tried the Banana carpaccio with passion fruit and ice cream with green pepper (50 RMB). The chocolate cake was mouthwatering, not overly sweet, and the homemade vanilla ice cream was topped with an amazing chocolate rice crisp, which threatened to steal the show. Had I read the menu more closely, I would not have been deceived by the Banana dish with the Vanilla ice-cream look-a-like. While looking like vanilla ice cream (which just goes to show it is made of natural ingredients), this special ice cream is made with green peppers, the sort that could be quite hot if the seeds were left in. It was exquisite. “Everything here is full of surprises, like the pepper ice cream. You can't see it, but when you taste it, you can tell,” added Eric Gong.

The Best Food In China crew gives Satine a glowing recommendation. I'd like to also mention that they have an Oyster bar, which features four sizes of French oyster, as well as a Cheese Trolley with a lovely selection of French cheeses. Of course, wine is quintessentially French, and it deserves to be mentioned that there is a wine to match whatever food you choose.

A Few More Basics

It's a good idea to make a reservation before you arrive to guarantee seating; as mentioned earlier, it is important to the management to safeguard an un-crowded, intimate establishment. The restaurant is currently only open for dinner, although there are future plans to establish a business lunch. The restaurant is closed on Mondays. Last orders with the kitchen should be placed by 22:00. On average, people spend 480 RMB per person before drinks.

Last Words

Fine dining has made its way to Hangzhou in a big way. Satine, the French restaurant offered by Sheraton at the Wetland Park Resort, is the first of its kind to offer authentic French cuisine as a fine dining experience. You must taste and experience it to understand just how good it is. Be warned: once you've tried this ultimate dining experience, you won't be able to look at lesser restaurants the same way ever again.

The Verdict:

Service quality: excellent
Food quality: excellent
Price per head (RMB): 400-500
Environment: excellent

Satine (The Sheraton Hangzhou Wetland Resort)View In Map
Add: 1 Westbrook Resort, Zijingang Road, Hangzhou
地址:杭州市西湖区紫金港路西溪天堂国际旅游综合体1号
Tel: +86 571 8500 2222

This article is brought to you by Best Food in China (www.bestfoodinchina.net). Best Food in China is the first and leading English-medium website featuring reviews on food, cuisine and restaurants in China.

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Keywords: Satine Hangzhou Sheraton Hangzhou Wetland Resort Satine french restaurant Hangzhou

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