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19 February 2014 – Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil opened the city’s first luxury pan-Asian restaurant this week, fronted by celebrity chef Ken Hom.

Named MEE, the phonetic spelling of a female name meaning ‘beauty’ in Korean, the 92-seat restaurant is located adjacent to the iconic hotel’s swimming pool and joins Belmond Copacabana Palace’s two other acclaimed dining options, Hotel Cipriani Restaurant which serves Italian cuisine and international eatery Pérgula.

Following a six-month remodel, the 190m2 space features contemporary Asian-inspired décor with Chinese teahouse-style booths and eastern portraits by Bangkok-based artist Christian Develter. Walls are painted in Chinese sang-de-boeuf porcelain red and wooden dividers in the style of Asian screens create an intimate feel. The oriental ambience is complemented by Shanghai lounge music selected by Ken Hom and a signature room aroma with hints of lily and ginger.

MEE’s exotic menu will take diners on a gastronomic journey through Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Vietnam, China and Japan. The restaurant’s chefs perfected their Asian culinary techniques in Bangkok prior to the opening and will prepare an innovative menu of specialities including ‘Spicy Thai Salad’ and ‘Vietnamese Salt and Pepper Crab’ in the restaurant’s wok area, separated from the dining room by a dramatic glass panel.

A dedicated sushi bar will serve a range of sushi and ‘SashiMEE’ – 10 of the chef’s signature fish dishes including eel, scallops and Kobe beef – with a special soy sauce, and guests can sit at a long bar and watch as sushi is prepared for an interactive dining experience.

To accompany the inventive cuisine, a sake stewardess will be on hand to pair each dish with over 25 varieties imported from Japan. Sake tastings will also be available. An extensive drinks menu includes 18 cocktail creations, three of which are designed to convey the spirit of MEE – mango, vodka and spices; fig with chamomile and gin; and duck-infused Bloody Mary. Guests will also be invited to select their favourite flavour of tea, which is made to their personal taste and served at the end of the meal.

Based both in France and Thailand, celebrated BBC TV chef Ken Hom has starred in a number of prime-time series and written over 30 cookery books. He commented: “I am delighted to be bringing authentic pan-Asian cuisine to Rio de Janeiro. MEE’s innovative menu will use the freshest, finest ingredients to give guests a true taste of eastern gastronomy”. The restaurant’s Executive Chef, Rafael Hidaka, is of Japanese descent and has previously worked at acclaimed Sao Paolo restaurants Kinoshita and Osaka.

The opening of Belmond Copacabana Palace’s new restaurant follows the completion of a meticulous $20 million refurbishment at the end of 2012. The hotel’s General Manager, Andrea Natal, said: “MEE is the latest in a series of investments that have further strengthened Copacabana Palace’s status as one of South America’s finest hotels. With a creative menu and exclusive service, the restaurant is sure to become a favourite dining spot for guests and locals alike.”

MEE be will open for lunch from 12:00 – 17:00, Friday to Sunday and dinner from 19:00 – 00:00, Sunday to Thursday and 19:00 – 01:00 on Friday and Saturday. Prices at Belmond Copacabana Palace start from £408 per night, including taxes, based on two sharing a Superior City View Room with breakfast. For further information or to make a booking, please call the UK Reservations team on 0845 077 2222 or visit www.copacabanapalace.com.

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For further information and images, please contact Emily Wilson or Kathy Rowsome at Belmond on 020 3117 1376 emily.wilson@belmond.com or kathy.rowsome@belmond.com.

About Belmond
Owned and operated by Orient-Express Hotels Ltd., Belmond is a global collection of exceptional hotel and luxury travel adventures in some of the world’s most inspiring and enriching destinations. Established over 30 years ago with the acquisition of Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice, its unique and distinctive portfolio now embraces 45 hotel, rail and river cruise experiences in many of the world’s most celebrated destinations. From city landmarks to intimate resorts, the collection includes Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, St Petersburg; Belmond Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro; Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya; and Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara. Belmond also encompasses safaris, six luxury tourist trains including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and three river cruises. Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. also operates ‘21’, one of New York’s most storied restaurants. BELMOND.COM

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