Eastern Culture Shown Through Western Perspective Le Palais Promises Luxury and Fine Cuisine

Le Palais Creates Perfect Experience of the Senses

As Michelin restaurants have become within reach and the idea of “cuisine” has spanned from the exotic to fusion to experimental like culinary art, eating is no longer simply an act to relieve hunger, but to receive enjoyment and satisfaction from the process. Undeniably, if savory food were served on an ordinary and plain plate/dish, the deliciousness is also somehow diminished. Indeed, beyond taste and smell, visual pleasure has also become a major component of modern dining. From the interior décor of a restaurant to the way food is arranged on the plate, they all add to the fullness of the dining experience and help to bring a satisfied smile to the faces of the guests.

West or East? New Visual Sensations at Le Palais

With an exploring mind I step into Le Palais, the Chinese restaurant situated on the 17th floor of Palais de Chine Hotel. The full-length copper mirror in European style at the entrance makes one wonder if it is indeed a Chinese restaurant. Its special design allows guests to check their appearance, echoing the emphasis which ancient Chinese people placed on ceremony and decorum, and whether one’s dress was fitting and appropriate for important occasions. The entrance to Le Palais is an imitation antique door, and on its two sides are small fountains with water streaming from the old gray walls above, resembling decors of ancient Chinese Courts from a Noble House. The lanterns that hang above the reception, however, are not traditional red lanterns that spring to one’s mind, but rather cylindrical lamps fashioned from wire mesh and lit with modern tungsten bulbs, serving as a décor piece that combines eastern and western flavors. The two copper lions sculptured in western style feature less of the prowess typical of Chinese stone lions, and more tameness and royalty, to welcome the arrival of the guests. This type of style mix attempted to interpret Le Palais with what is normally perceived as a “western take on eastern style.” Thus examples of the cultural mix are seen everywhere, giving Easterners a familiar ambience with a foreign twist, and Westerns an Eastern touch that is close to home.

Painted Boats and Weeping Willows—Wonders from the World of Suzhou Riverside Gardens

Traditional Chinese window panes are installed in Le Palais’ semi-enclosed alcoves. When the window frames are pushed out, light seeps through to create a private and hidden ambience for the dining space. When looking at the alcoves from a distance, the rooms resemble painted boats docked at riverside, waiting for visitors to board. Motifs of weeping willows, fauna and flora are painted on a copper mirror placed at the other side of the boat, effusing the relaxing atmosphere of Suzhou, the southern region of Yangtze River. The ancient books and porcelain vases add to the refined and scholarly ambience, making one wonder if you’ll meet a honorable wife holding an umbrella on a boat waiting for her husband just around the corner. The six private dining rooms at La Palais also feature clever designs that combine the East and the West. The hallway walls outside the dining rooms are decorated with coral mirrors, and on the walls are motifs of branches, camellias and corals smoothly painted in rich oil, further highlighted with abstract elements to present lush and changing images in the space. When the projector lights are directed at the coral walls, the painted motifs are reflected on the floor. As guests pass through the hallway, their own shadows become part of the reflected painting, which is thus aptly named “Corals in Light and Shadow”. The dining rooms also enjoy ideal location for enjoying National Day fireworks, making Le Palais Taipei’s most popular restaurant with a view.

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