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.
Scott Melvin is the resident Head Chef of Table No.1, and a key lieutenant to British celeb chef Jason Atherton. Usually holed up in his kitchen, he has wracked his brains to share a few of the eats he loves in this city. In his words...
"When asked to do this, it really hit home that I have so much to discover in Shanghai. One year has passed (mostly behind a stove at my kitchen) and I've not yet even scratched the surface of places to see and eat, flavors to discover, textures to taste... I’ve "got to get out more” as they say. Nevertheless, here’s a few I enjoy...
Naan Bread at Kebabs on the Grille
"Indian food at its best. As I'm like most British blokes who has had their fair share of beer and curry, it’s great to find something in The Cool Docks that takes me back to those long, hard days of large consumption and living hard!!!! Although not a lot has changed, really. This is not to disminish the experience, as it adds a warmth and homey feeling to the whole meal. But the food here really repesents a small portion of good Indian cooking . The selection of naan breads is a must. Don’t forget the beer!"
Sunday Morning Breakfast at Kommune
"Breakfast on Sunday morning or very late afternoon when I usually arise from my beauty sleep! And do i need it!! In the UK after my 14 plus-hour working days, I always went for a full English, cup of tea and the daily news paper on my day off. It is still no exception now, I love a good cooked breakfast and here is were I get it. Cool surroundings, relaxed atmosphere, a bucket-sized cup of coffee and then you can do a bit of tourist shopping in the area, buying a lot of stuff you don’t need. Day off sorted."
Brunch at Jade on 36
"If I’m not having a lazy Sunday at the Kommune, I'll head to Jade. Fabrice does wonders at their brunch and the selection is endless. I’ve looked at doing brunch in our restaurant, but after eating here I dont think I could compete!! Everything is done to top standards, from the moment you walk into the restaurant, they make you feel special. The standard of the food, quality, quantity and the presentation is second to none. Don't be frightened away because you think it'll be all white table cloths and chandeliers -- stuffy and a bit boring. No way! Fabrice is having a party in the kitchen and you’re invited! Get out of your seat and jimmy on up to the kitchen, pick your main course (again great choice and everything done to the highest standard, can’t recall now what I had but I think by that time the complimentary Champagne was kicking in). So yeah, join in to the chefs little dance if you like.... Have fun and that’s what I like, a great meal, great sevice, and many smiles... Check out the fish and shellfish selection!"
Pretty Much Everything at Purple Onion
"You need to be trained with ordinance survey skills to find this place the first time you get down there, but it’s well worth the search. This is my favourite western restaurant in Shanghai, no doubt about it. The food is fantastic and I always find the service very friendly and accommodating. I think I’ve ordered or tried nearly everything on the menu and I always end up staying for many hours. When there is some sun coming our way, the intimate courtyard is a cool area to meet friends or just you and the better half (the love of my life adores this place even more than I) I find a connection with Onion and our restaurant which is about sharing and tasting many dishes in an informal way but the food is done to the highest standards. You can have as many dishes you want or you can have a pizza, I like that freedom. As a chef who has worked in Michelin-starred outlets, I'm not one for eating in them, as it's all 10 course tasteng menus, chefs choice menus. I believe the diner should be in charge and tell me how he or she wants to eat and that’s what I get here. Check out everything - I always get bread, anchovies and order a pizza to start things off, then i normaly go all out, not had a bad dish there yet."
The Roast Duck at Lao Beijing
"I mention this as a memorable meal when I first arrived in Shanghai, all fresh-eyed and a virgin to the ways of the duck! I've never tried so many combinations of duck in one sitting, but it wasn't an over kill. It was using an ingredient and using every part of it, no wastage! I always strive as a chef to get as much out of an ingredient as possible, but this was a good lesson taught... From the duck soup, to duck tongues and then eating the brains straight out of the head I couldn’t get enough! When the family visits Shanghai, this place is top of the list."