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Thursday, 28 January 2016

Harbin Part 7: Ice Palace Restaurant, Shangri-la Hotel

Dining in an ice restaurant with temperature below freezing point  is definitely not our idea of a perfect dining atmosphere but that was one of the things we did in Harbin. With a temperature hovering around -5°C, needless to say we had to dine with our thick coats on, hoods and all. The ambiance may have lacked coziness and comfort but it was  a lifetime experience to cherish.
Ice Palace Restaurant is one of the food and beverage outlets in Harbin's Shangri-La Hotel which we happened to stay in while holidaying in Harbin. This restaurant is not listed as one of the food and beverage outlets in the hotel's official website as it is a seasonal restaurant opened only during winter time. 
The restaurant is an annex of the hotel's Shang Palace Restaurant. We had to go through two very thick and heavy doors and a passageway to get to the ice restaurant.
The walls and roof are built from slabs of ice blocks.
The hallway is beautifully lit with Chinese lanterns and the dining rooms and hall adorned with traditional ethnic decors.
Some of the lamps are made of ice with lighting elements embedded inside.
There are four dining rooms and one dining hall in this restaurant.  The rooms are fashioned in the form of nomadic yurts. This photo shows one of the 4 rooms.
This is another dining room. Each room comes with a different decor.
This is the dining hall that can accommodate more patrons.  All in the restaurant can accommodate only 90 so bookings to dine here has to be made in advance.
This restaurant specialized in hot pots (steamboats).
Each patron is given his/her own hot-pot to cook a variety of raw meat, seafood, and vegetables of his choice just like how steamboat is done in other restaurants.
There is nothing special about the food and you can easily get better hot pots somewhere else but the restaurant is so popular you will have to book way in advance to get a place here. I suppose it's just human to want to experience new things in life.
Adjacent to the dining rooms is the Ice Bar.
Alcoholic drinks, hot and cold beverage are available here. The counter, shelves and walls are entirely made of ice.
Even the tables and stools are made of ice. Cushions are laid on the stools so you don't get wet when you sit.

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