Parents came to visit over the holidays. There is literally nothing to do in Shanghai except brunch. It's true. Be proud, Shanghai. Here's the ones that came recommended by ephemeral, amorphous orgins. Just... "heard they were good".
1. The Bull & Claw
Warm waffles with maple syrup and honeycomb cream
People say this is The Best Brunch in Town. People who care about their brunches really care about this one. Who are these people? British bros with families. It's a lot of British bros with families. And the errant German bro or two. I think something appeals to the archetypal bro figure about getting a cow and lobster simultaneously on a plate at the end of the working week -- really validates one's bro life choices.
Pretty nice space with outdoor seating and important leather seating inside. It's biggish but still pretty cozy and comfortable.
The menu is split up into three courses with the first course being an involved drink -- you're supposed to get the Bloody Mary's and / or Caesar, with the options for Mimosa and smoothies and juices for a lighter touch. Then the second course is lighter fruits, granola, and waffles, with the main course being a few eggs-based dishes (standard breakie, a few eggs benedicts, a poached egg with beef dish, and some outliers -- a Turkish Menemen, a Lobster Club Sandwich, and "The Pancake Tower").
B & C Bloody Mary
Lobster Club Sandwich - Add 90rmb
Eh... a little disappointing. Best to worst: The waffles were incredible. Fluffy, airy, delicious things, with excellent maple syrup and topped with honeycomb. Right on. The Blood Mary was pretty good and nicely balanced. But the Eggs Benedict and the Lobster Club seemed a little forlorn and... I don't know... inadequate. Especially, when you have to tag on an extra 90rmb on top of the set courses price to get a lobster sandwich.
It ain't bad but it didn't really make my monocle zing out of my eye socket. Brunch: You gotta make monocles zing. That's just how it's done.
Poached eggs with seared tuna, asparagus, piquillo pepper, spiced tomato vinaigrette
Funky Italian people hang out at Funkadeli. I bike by this place a lot in the evening -- it's located at the G Spot of the universe at Fumin and Changle -- and it's always spilling out onto their patio onto the street. Lots of clinking wine glasses and people throwing their heads back cackling. It cleans up alright in the day time actually. Indoor and a bit of outdoor seating on that patio. Crowd is sexy, upwardly mobile, streamlined expats back for Round 2 on the spritz free-flow or, alternatively, getting something light and Mediterranean before working on eliptical atonement at Z&B Fitness.
The "Funka Brunch" has been going all summer long, and is a product of Shanghai-famous Austin Hu, of recent standout Diner, another really popular brunch spot these days. On the menu is a few poached and scrambled eggs bases, a few power bowls and salads, a few pastas, some seafoods, and healthier sides. All coming at you with a nice, light, and yes, "funky" Euro sort of flair. Good amount of options for vegetarians, and nice array of healthful stuff and, conversely, stuff that sounds like it might taste good.
Power grains with poached egg, avocado, mixed grains and nuts, tomato, cucumber, red wine vinagarette
Roasted Argentine prawn with avocado relish
There's a lot of options for versatility when mixing and matching the mains and sides. And you're getting that for a pretty good price. Also, free-flow spritzes: always welcome. They do most excellent spritzes at Funkadeli. So prices are good, it's an alright place, great free-flow booze options with great drunkenness potential, but the food was a little hit and miss. The poached eggs were great but the power grains salad was a little bland and the Argentine prawn was also a bit tasteless.
Would go back, keeping it simple with their interesting eggs dishes, and to get drunk like an important and respected lover on their spritzes.
3. Bread Etc. (Nanjing Lu)
There's gotta be more bakeries in Shanghai than there are in Paris these days. This past summer saw at least 6 open in a single week, one of those being the very unpretentious and straightforward Xiangyang Lu operation, Bread Etc. Pretty bland name. But I guess you don't need to be too flashy when you're dealing in good value. Some of my friends go to it 3 or 4 times a week for breakfast. The operation has recently expanded northwards into Jing'an on Nanjing Lu. Went and checkout out that one.
The space is a bit awkward, jammed in that alley off Nanjing Lu but they've got a bit of outdoor seating and more on the second floor. Warm French bakeries vibes pervade.
Energy Breakfast - eggs of your choice, rye flower bread, quinoa salad, mini cups mix (avocado blend, red beans, sesame paste, dry fruits, fresh fruit, granola yogurt) - 98rmb
Super good deal. Super great deal! A full healthful rustic breakfast brunch thing for 98rmb. With a great coffee and a juice. Yeah man. Recommended. The quinoa salad was nice and flavorful, and filled me with enough self-righteousness and satisfaction to keep me going well into the next week. Plus just a lot of other straightforward little staples. Omelette. Some Nordic-whatever granola action. Little avocado thing because it's mandated by law that everything has to involve avocados somehow. Thumbs up. Nice environment too... Definitely would go back.