Inside Gordon Ramsay’s First Restaurant in China


When Gordon Ramsay landed in Shanghai on a gray and drizzly day last February, he dispelled the slightest signs of drowsiness with his fiery personality and a generous dose of cool Britannia.

The British celebrity chef was in town to unveil his first venture in China, Gordon Ramsay at The Residence Shanghai, part of Harrods’ first private members‘ club, which officially opened its doors last December in Shanghai.

“It’s a tough one, that one, isn’t it? Because I’m a chef of the people, and it’s my first intimate private club in my portfolio of restaurants,” Ramsay says.

The 48-seat restaurant sits on the second floor of The Cha House, a century-old terracotta mansion that lives at the heart of the busy Chinese metropolis. Eloquently described by Ramsay as “a sleeping beauty,” the mansion’s first floor was first converted to The Harrods Tea Rooms, which opened in 2021. The second floor was introduced as The Residence, the luxury department store’s members-only club on the second floor.

Designed by Social F+B, a hospitality design firm, the location exudes classic Shanghainese glamour with its Art Deco details that seamlessly blend in Harrods’ distinctive brand of opulence.

Inside Harrods' The Residence in Shanghai

Inside Harrods’ The Residence in Shanghai.

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The room is lined with intricate wall panels inspired by Chinese fans, customized golden display cabinets showcasing the club’s collection of rare whisky bottles and cigars, and features private suites equipped with a turntable dining table, which helps ensure a communal social and dining experience.

Inside a private suite at The Residence.

Inside a private suite.

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“Harrods is legendary back home in Knightbridge, and to be given this opportunity to be here, inside this beautiful building, it’s a chef’s dream,” says Ramsay, adding of the famed London department store, “I feel like we’ve lifted that up from Chelsea and planted that inside this residence because it is opulent and beautiful. I can’t wait to cook for you, to create a lot of emotions.”

Ramsay’s menu, which also features a selection of fine wines chosen by master sommelier Lu Yang, currently costs 1,388 renminbi, or $192, to 1,888 renminbi, or $262, and offers around six courses. The restaurant will be available for members who pay an annual membership fee of 150,000 renminbi to 250,000 renminbi.

Gordon Ramsay and Lv Yang at The Residence.

Lu Yang and Gordon Ramsay

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Apart from his signature dishes, most notably beef Wellington, Ramsay’s menu spotlights local produce. This includes the best sea urchin from Dalian province, only the most exquisite Shang-rila truffle and Fujian Yellow Croaker, a tender fish with umami notes. At The Residence, the culinary experience ends on a fresh note with dragon fruit ice cream, a nuanced approach to honor The Year of the Dragon.

A Gordon Ramsay signature dish, the Beef Wellington.

A Gordon Ramsay signature dish, the beef Wellington.

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“It wasn’t about finding the most expensive ingredients for me; it’s about finding the humble ingredients and elevating those into the premier league,” says Ramsay, who a few months ago deployed his team to investigate the most interesting produce that China has to offer.

Despite a hectic schedule, Ramsay also spent some time exploring the local food scene. One evening, after overseeing the restaurant kitchen during strict dinner hours (Ramsay is still fascinated about the fact that the locals love to eat on time) the restless chef sneaked away to visit 12 restaurants in town. confirmed his theory that Shanghai has become “one of the most competitive foodie cities in China,” Ramsay says.

“Shanghai is desperate for luxury. It oozes grace, sophistication and competition is healthy,” he adds. “It’s now in the hands of these young Chinese chefs that have come back with influences around the world, and they are putting Shanghai back on the map.”

Ramsay’s work with Harrods goes back to when he opened his burger joint in the luxury department store more than four years ago, so partnering up with the retailer again was a no-brainer.

But for the store’s managing director Michael Ward, bringing Ramsay to Shanghai was not only “a real coup,” but a move that helps convey an actual Harrods experience on the other side of the world.

“The customers in China are identical to everywhere around the world. They’re very curious. They want the very best. And the great thing is that you’ll find it in Harrods. The people are looking for the exquisite, the rare, and the exclusive at Harrods. They want to differentiate themselves from everyone else. And frankly the only place you can really do that is Harrods,” Ward says.

Ward revealed that the retailer’s ultra-high net worth client base has grown to about 7 percent of overall sales and is expected to accelerate throughout the year. The mainland China clientele accounted for 8 percent of overall sales and will grow at a steady pace of 7 percent in 2024.

“We see The Residence as a way of communicating to our customers in market,” the executive says. “And if you look at what the big luxury brands are, they’re following their customers into the market and this is exactly what Harrods is doing.

“All across the world, wherever you are, that richer customer actually gets richer, whether it’s through recession or anything else. So targeting that rich customer is something that we’ve always done. And we’ve always been very successful at it,” he says of the state of the luxury market.

“The wealth is coming from the East in the future, it’s not coming from the West. So we’ve got to focus all of our attention to make sure we’re relevant to that customer.”

The Residence plans to eventually recruit 250 members. This group of like-minded people — the connectors, the intellectuals, the entrepreneurs — will not only be able to sip on the best wines and spirits served by master blenders, but also enjoy bespoke benefits such as a curated wine cellar and special offers from Halcyon Gallery Shanghai, a Harrods partner.

“What Harrods has and does best is a network of people and brands and sourcing. And so we can use that to our advantage. To find your very detailed passion. It won’t be the same as the person that’s sitting to your left. It might be that we’re going to go and open a silent distillery in Scotland for one individual,” says Sarah Myler, Harrods’ international business development and communications director.

“Yes, there’s a wonderful selfishness that comes to being part of the club; people want to keep it intimate. They want to know that they either bring friends and they’re going to meet friends or they come alone and there’s going to be someone that they know in the club already. So I think that maintaining exclusivity with like-minded people, with those shared passions, be it art or music or business, that takes a lot of time and thinking,” Myler explains.

“It’s not simply the person who is next on the list, it’s the person next on the list who is similar, who is interesting, who wants to share and talk about their passions. So it’s taken us and we’ve deliberately allowed the time and the team the time to make sure that those matchmaking, it’s like dating,” she adds.

“It’s the environment that we create that is more important than actually the initial stages for us in terms of cost and profitability,” Ward stresses.



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