Hotel Claris pays homage to the gastronomic legacy of Mr. KaoAuthor: Derby Hotels Collection
Barcelona, February 2016. - The president of Derby Hotels Collection, Jordi Clos, and Josep Maria Kao, head chef of the restaurant Shanghai, are launching Mr. Kao, the new gastronomic offering of the Hotel Claris, and Barcelona’s first Dim Sum Club to be located in a luxury five-star hotel.
The Clos family, lovers of Asian food, and the Kaos, owners of the restaurants Shangai and Kao Dim Sum, have joined forces to create a unique concept for the city, based on and inspired by the golden age of Shanghai’s private clubs where the best of Chinese cuisine was tasted in ‘small mouthfuls’ (Dim Sum). In fact, the Clos family have wanted to open an Asian restaurant for the last eight years and finally, a year ago, they got together with the Kaos to open this establishment in the Hotel Claris.
Mr. Kao is the Kao family’s third project, following on from Shanghai and Kao Dim Sum, and will be run by Meilan and Nayan Kao, the daughters of Josep Maria Kao, representing the third generation of the family.
The name chosen pays homage to their grandfather, Kao Tze Chien, who ran the city’s first Chinese restaurant. ‘Señor Kao’ was the name he was popularly known by amongst the market traders of Santa Caterina and this is what his granddaughters wanted to use for the new restaurant in the Hotel Claris. Apart from the name, the granddaughters have also recovered their grandfather’s recipes for dishes that they spent years enjoying at home and which they now want to share in the new restaurant.
The concept behind Mr. Kao is a fusion of Kao Dim Sum and the most successful dishes from the Shanghai restaurant; a cuisine that combines quality and technique in the preparation of each and every dish. Classic dishes from Chinese gastronomy are combined with Mediterranean ingredients and local produce for a new way of interpreting the culinary legacy of ‘Señor Kao’.
Fusion of Oriental and Mediterranean cuisines
One of the main delights of this new space are the Dim Sum, Chinese-style tapas, whether crispy, boiled, grilled or steamed. The wide range on offer includes Vietnamese spring rolls with fresh mint and French lettuce; monkfish tail wrapped in kataifi pastry; pig’s trotter ‘jiaozi’, inspired by local Catalan cuisine; grilled beef ‘jiaozi’ with a truffle compote; ‘siu mai’ dumplings with prawns, wild mushrooms and fish with trout caviar; and ‘har gow’ with prawns and water chestnuts, a very popular dish in Asian cuisine.
Diners can also enjoy a variety of cold dishes such as lychees with ham, an innovative and original take on the classic melon with ham and an example of the fusion between Mediterranean and Chinese cuisines; or the ‘thousand-year’ egg, a Chinese delicacy made by preserving a duck, chicken or quail’s egg in quicklime, clay, ash and a variety of minerals over a period of several weeks, which is served as an appetiser marinated in ginger, carrot, sesame oil and soy sauce.
Mr. Kao also features some of the chef’s classic dishes which can also be sampled in small portions such as a duck bikini toasted sandwich, classic Peking duck or noodles with vegetables, rosiñols (wild mushrooms), poached egg and fresh truffle.
The menu is carefully paired with a list of more than 60 wines and sparkling wines, selected by Lluís Kao, the restaurant’s sommelier. There is also an original menu of cocktails such as the Mr. Kao, made with vodka, lime juice, berries, mint leaves and ginger; or the Geisha Martini, with vodka, lychee liqueur, lime juice and blackcurrant syrup.
Mr. Kao is also open for afternoon teas so guests can enjoy taking tea accompanied by typical Chinese pastries in a relaxed and elegant atmosphere.
Exclusive ambience inspired by Shanghai’s exclusive clubs
Mr. Kao is located on the ground floor of the Hotel Claris, just a few short metres from Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia. The decor, designed by Jordi Clos Jr., echoes everything that appears on the exclusive menu.
The renovated premises, with two distinctive areas split over two floors, is inspired by the golden age of Shanghai, with screens and subdued lighting. The furniture, exclusively designed for the restaurant, is a mixture of colonial and modern styles, in keeping with the decoration of the Hotel Claris. Some features, such as the lamps and seats have been carefully chosen by the designer at auctions throughout the entire world.
Adding to the ambience is soft music inspired by the fashionable haunts of London and Shanghai, which adapts to the rhythm of the restaurant at all times during the course of the day. The perfect setting in which to enjoy a unique and different menu.