Industry Nights is a semi-regular column featuring the haunts of chefs, restaurant owners, F&B managers, and other marginally sane people with good eating recommendations.
Michael Wendling and Fanny Cervera started out in Shanghai six years ago at the French bistro Allure in Le Royal Meridien Hotel. But last summer they blazed their own trail with Cuivre. Don't trouble yourself with proper pronunciation on the name. Just know they their escargot with bacon and tomato rocks. We got Michael and Fanny to put their heads together for some tips on luxe brunches, street snacks, strong beer and good Italian eats.."
"We both agree that the brunch at Jade on 36 is the best in Shanghai. Yes, it is one of the most expensive around town, but if you are looking for great quality of food and top product, you will find it there. They offer you a nice selection of starters, but the best of the best is when you go into the kitchen to pick up your main course. Chef Franck-Elie welcomes you with a big smile and offers you half a grilled Boston lobster, a super tender braised veal shank and stunning truffle risotto. Also, what’s great there is that you are not surrounded by hundreds of hungry people converging on the seafood table rummaging through king crab, sushi and caviar. It's just a nice getaway for us to relax and enjoy a wonderful fine brunch with friends. Simply love it!"
--Fanny & Michael
"Nolita, Nolita, Nolita… I love this this restaurant! I'm not sure if it’s because Domenico always welcomes me with the magnum of Belvedere in his hands, ready to poor me a shot. Oh...wait. That's how he greets me at Bar Rouge. Never mind. Thank God he doesn't do the same thing with grappa at his restaurant. Anyway, that's all just to say that this place is exactly like Domenico! It’s all about warm welcomes and great food. When you go, don’t miss the tonno alla siciliana, burrata cheese marinated with tiger prawn or the tagliolini with truffle. Simply a fabulous Italian restaurant!"
"I know we're supposed to talk about restaurants for this column, but one place that I like to go for a drink when I'm able to get out of the restaurant is Cafe des Stagiaires. Why? Because it feels like home. It's a small, cozy, easy-going place. The team of trainees (Valentin, Augustin and Stephane) who are there for the moment welcome you like you are a part of the family. Most importantly, their happy hour is one of the best in town. Just beware of their beer, especially the La Chouffe. High-gravity. Deliciously dangerous. What's more, you can have small snacks all day, from pain au chocolat at breakfast to pizza during the day. My favorite: the four cheese pizza."
"Even though I always forget how to pronounce the name of this tasty fried soup dumpling, it's my favorite Shanghai street snack. Like most of the people who try it for the first time, I scalded my tongue. That made it particularly hard to work in a kitchen when I had to try dishes all day long. I've been here at least twice a week for almost six years now. They have several shops around town, but my favorite, by far, is the one on Huanghe Lu. Totally worth queueing up outside the door, even in the coldest winter months."
"When I arrived in Shanghai almost six years ago, I was not a fan of boiled meats and vegetables. But now I must have hot pot every winter.
My favorite one used to be Little Sheep. But two weeks ago, a friend brought me to a VIP hot pot restaurant located down a small lane right next to The Camel.
As soon as I walked in, I knew that it was no ordinary place. Nice decor, tables set neatly with glassware, silverware and china. Oh, and here is a first, a clean restroom! Two waitresses looked after us, bringing us soup in a shiny silver pot, quality lamb and beef, even homemade soy sauce. I'll warn you: It's not cheap. We paid close to 300rmb per person. But still. Wow! Totally worth it!"