Friday, September 30, 2022

Newcomer to Valley Fair: iChina Restaurant Opens with Silicon Valley’s First Virtual-Reality Dining Room

One of the centerpieces of the Valley Fair’s billion-dollar transformation, ichina Destination restaurant to open in Santa Clara today:

Two floors of gorgeous dining space.

A sparkling lounge.

Chandelier-lit toilets.

Four private dining rooms, one of which will immerse guests in a virtual reality experience.

And then there’s the food.

Executive Chef Eddie Lam, who held top positions with Straits Restaurant Group and Crystal Jade at Santana Row in San Francisco, has created a “New American Chinese” menu of modern and fine dining on classic dishes.

The Hong Kong-born and Oakland-born chef reimagines Cantonese-style braised short rib as beef stew en croute. A far-from-traditional hot and sour soup filled with Hokkaido scallops, crab, and snow cloud mushrooms. Braised California Red Abalone is paired with pasture-raised chicken. And broccoli beef is made from American Kobe ribeye.

The shimmering Jiuba Cocktail Lounge serves small plates and craft cocktails nightly at the Valley Fair’s newest restaurant in Santa Clara, IChina. (Photo by Renee Cassia for the IChina/Westfield Valley Fair)

With the introduction of iChina, the Westfield Valley Fair’s restaurant collection, which is built around an open-air plaza, will be half complete. The upscale King’s Fish House last joined the trendy Shake Shack and Salt & Straw, followed by Bamboo Sushi. Nearby, in Bloomingdales, is the recently opened Anki Shaken & Stirred from a restaurant family famous in San Francisco. Next up will be Maestro’s Steakhouse. Closing will take place in 2022 when Eataly unveiled its multi-level Italian food emporium.

But for now all eyes are on iChina, and it can be hard to look away.

The designers – the team at HHD Hong Kong Eastern Holiday International Design – say they drew inspiration from a famous Song Dynasty painting and translated the golds, blues and greens of artist Wang Zimen’s “A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains” into this shimmering space did. Jade, gold and glass elements and Art Deco styling.

The first thing guests will see when they walk in the door is the luxurious Jiuba Cocktail Lounge. The venue, operating in a soft opening mode, serves craft cocktails and small plates such as pork belly momo with Chinese sauerkraut, albacore tuna crudo, and Xinjiang lamb skewers.

Upstairs, four private dining rooms, all with 10-course tasting menus, will offer a variety of experiences:

The traditional round table is meant to evoke a classic Chinese dining room. The open kitchen holds a view of Lam and his chef for guests who want to witness the culinary magic. The Presentation Gallery is equipped for business meetings and presentations.

And the showstopper, 360 Virtual Reality Rooms, features imagery from eight projectors and a sensor-enabled table to create Silicon Valley’s first VR dining experience — and one of the few such restaurant rooms in the world, according to the iChina Group.

Views depend on the dinner served; During a seafood course, for example, the display may have an ocean-themed projection. The minimum amount of food and beverage for a room booking is $4,500.

Nation World News Desk
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