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The Food Central

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  • Photos by photocredits
    • ADRESS:
      Anfu Court,
      308 Anfu Lu,
      near Wukang Lu
      安福路308号, 近武康路
    • PHONE:
      3461 9071
    • AREA:
      -
    • METRO:
      15 mins walk from Changshu Rd
    • HOURS:
      Daily, 8am-12am
    • CARDS:
    • PRICE:
      $$$$$
    • WEB:
    • SmartShanghai.com Editor's Description
      From the owners of The Apartment, The Food Central spans two floors on Anfu Lu. The first floor is a retail shop selling salads, sandwiches, and imported food items. Upstairs is a contemporary bistro restaurant featuring various cooking "stations" preparing Asian-themed foods like Cali-style sushi and noodles as well as a selection of thin-crust pizzas.
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  • What the...
    For The Food Central on June 10, 2011
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    ellacee
    Joined Jun 10, 2011
    Is Australian
    Posted 8 Reviews
    What are these guys thinking? You can't be everything to everyone - isnt that lesson 101 in the "setting up a new business handbook"? If you try to cater to everyone, you will fail. I hope these guys can get their menu and act together and turn this newly opened establishment around.
    150RMB - Food court
    For The Food Central on June 22, 2011
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    ShanghaiMinnie
    Joined Dec 27, 2006
    Is 0
    Posted 6 Reviews
    Long story to Short - if you wanna try the meal above 150 ~ 200RMB at the food court, please go ahead! I was disappointed of food & service.

    Pork belly hamburger - I asked hambuger with well-done, but the hamburger was served as medium.

    The french fries served with hamburger - Mcdonald quality fries with some seasonings - I expected Chip, like Australia or UK standard good quality fries. but the fries was like Mcdonald size tiny fries, well the portion of fries was generous - half of plate was with fries. Anyway, I expect too much at the Food court, maybe!

    The bun of Hamburger - it was covered with fully of mayonnaise. Gee, I tasted more mayo than meat. I missed Whopper at Burger King already.

    Salad - the simple healthy salad was not bad, actually. The portion is 2/3 of element fresh, the quality is more and less same. Nothing impressive if I compared other healthy concept restaurant.

    PS: The Chinese waitresses and waiters were very attentive on our table, and served the food nicely. That was nice. BUT when we were about paying, the manager said WAIT - we waited for a while. And when we left the restaurant, the manager said "Bye guys(!)". Well, I wondered if he has experience to work at hospitality industry before. Guys(?)???!!! He is not Chinese. He supposed to know how to call and treat the clients, right? Maybe he wants to be our friends(?), that's why he wanna say VERY friendly way... - guys!!!
    Impossible Mission
    For The Food Central on June 30, 2011
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    globaltraveller
    Joined Oct 15, 2007
    Is World Traveller
    Posted 38 Reviews
    Upon entering The Food Central, I thought I had stumbled upon a new supermarket (there are obviously not enough of these along Anfu Lu) or upon the new Mission Impossible set, with all the food servers and their nifty ear and microphone sets, or perhaps another Shanghai sauna, as there was no AC working on Tuesday evening.

    Once you get over the theatrics and down to the menu choice, which all seem to blend into one another, despite being touted European and pan Asian from the place-mat, whereas the Radar revue says American, perhaps lost in translation from across the pond me thinks.

    Even the young Filipino manager seemed confused when we queried the Chicago-Style Chop Suey and whether the noodles should be hard as nails when served. But apparently they are meant to be hard as nails; since he came back saying that's how it was meant to be served, have they not sampled their own food.

    I must confess I am delighted that the management group from “The Apartment” did not bring the pizza chef over from “The Apartment”, as their attempt there with the biscuit base pizza’s were dreadful, apart from the overabundance of cheese (perhaps the American influence of pizza’s here). Other than that it was palatable, but certainly no way near Anfu Lu’s other Pizza restaurant.

    All in all a mediocre affair I would say, lastly I think the kitchen designers must have used the same firm as the Bistro Burger for the extraction hood design, as they were totally ineffective in extracting, especially when the restaurant’s Air Conditioning is not working, you leave with the fragrant smells of your last supper.

    Best to get rid of the theatrics, and get down to the basics of service and hospitality, alternatively recruit Tom Cruise to the management, otherwise another self-destructing Shanghai restaurant will appear on the horizon.
    Skip brunch
    For The Food Central on July 25, 2011
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    Sconny
    Joined Apr 30, 2010
    Is US
    Posted 7 Reviews
    Went here with a group of friends to try out their brunch menu and my suggestion is to pass on this one. I had their French Toast, which is layered with blueberries, bacon (yes bacon) and has a consistency of bread pudding - very good and that was by far the best dish of the group.

    One person ordered waffles and they brough him a muffin. When we told the waitress he ordered the waffles, she pointed to the muffin and said that was a waffle (this was spoken in Chinese). She then got the manager, who (luckily) confirmed that what was served was a muffin, so after explaining that was wrong to begin with, they brought out a real waffle.

    Others tried the French Connection omelette and it was heavy on the truffle oil to the point of overpowering. The one cup of coffee that is included with brunch comes in a big mug...filled half way.

    There are plenty of good brunch options on and around Anfu Lu, so I would suggest trying all of those first before heading here for a mamahuhu experience.
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    kebabman
    Joined Mar 2, 2005
    Is Shanghai
    Posted 5 Reviews
    So I'm a bit of a road warrior... Spending close to 150-200 days on the road a year because of my job. My biggest issue with it? Hotel restaurants. So on one of the rare weekends that I am in Shanghai trying out a new restaurant, I'd like it to be charming. Not resemble the scaled down innards of 2nd-tier Chinese city's 5star hotel lobby bar.

    This place is in serious need of a Gordon Ramsay-style kitchen overhaul. The concept of having the Asian, Western, and Salad sections on the menu - I mean who are you trying to appeal to? Nongmin who set their tables with the spoon, knife and fork on the left, and the chopsticks on the right? Guys if you must know- the kuaizi and spoon belongs at noon, the knife at 3 oclock, and fork on the left. Even the Crowne Plaza Kunshan gets that. Why don't you?!

    On to the food selection. The table to the left of me devoured pizzas and burgers (which looked tasty- but i wasn't in the mood). To my right were 2 couples on a sushi binge. Me? After much deliberating and wanting something unique and inviting- chose to go with the double cut pork and my gf had the ceviche salad.

    The verdict? I know my city and I know my prices. I'm going to go back to Nova for their beef steaks for the equivalent price. And Chicha for their much tastier ceviche. Or maybe Mr Willis just down the road. Or continue to eat at Bella Napoli where I ended up needing to grab a dessert. KFC? nah, pizza hut? probably better value for money than Food Central.

    Their Ricky Gervais-lookalike manager did actually make an attempt at asking how things were. And I did mention that they werent so good. I wish I could've recorded the look of "oh all right" on my iPhone. Perhaps if he tried to do something meaningful to resolve the situation I would've given a less harsh review... to demonstrate that I'm not being an unrealistically negative. But seriously I am not.

    For the purposes of being unbiased and saying something positive, I actually felt bad about almost going mental on the waiter. A veteran that I recognized from Goga and Blue Frog. I was actually praying for the excuse of "meiyou" when I asked for a fapiao to go balistic and refuse to pay. But, they gave me a fapiao from another company (presumably The Apartment) as evidenced by the speed of delivery and the wronger (but higher) amount.

    Lying isn't just an incidental part of the food industry in Shanghai. The first step of any restaurants' business model is finding a way to make their food as cheaply as possible, and the next step is to convince you that step one doesn't exist. I've decided to not even bother going to the new venue given my disappoint with their two projects. I'd be wary of going back is all I'm saying.

    Converted
    For The Food Central on August 8, 2011
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    scottyg
    Joined Dec 6, 2007
    Is 0
    Posted 2 Reviews
    A typhoon was scheduled to hit and we still made it out for brunch. In fact we were walking over to Mr Willis for their excellent pâté and cannelloni when we passed The Food Central. It can be dangerous to get too stuck in one's ways so we went in to try it out.

    The concept is certainly one that you question if they'll pull it off - restaurants doing too many things often just end up doing many mediocre things and rarely excelling. However The Food Central proved to be the exception and not the rule.

    The food came very quickly and was hot, filling and delicious. I had the steak and eggs. The steak in particularly was spot-on medium rare, very tender and a bit of gristle as a good NY steak should. My wife ordered the Swimming to Cambodia which was also very tasty; an omelette filled with prawns, amongst other things. I'd go back just for the roasted new potatoes on the side.

    Perhaps my biggest surprise and strongest memory of the place was the jolly Maitre d' who would come by every few minutes. Big smile and pleasant but non-intrusive chit-chat - it actually made me realise how cold and impersonal service can be in so many places. Only Blue Frog would come close in this respect.

    So all in all we left with a very good impression. Only hiccup was when a waiter accidentally poured some water into my ginger ale, but he offered to replace it and besides I'd nearly finished it so no biggie. The fapiaos of differing values and date, while not ideal, I suppose is just one of those things that you get at new venues, and at least it's better than the 'I'll send it in the mail' you also can get. Anyway if the welcome is always so pleasant and the other dishes as well-prepared, I think we'd be truly spoilt for choice when brunching down on Anfu Lu.
    Bleh...
    For The Food Central on August 30, 2011
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    tabc
    Joined Apr 8, 2011
    Is English
    Posted 19 Reviews
    Yet again a new F&B concept opens up in Shanghai, and although i try not to be sucked into the usual branding / marketing splurge of F&B concepts, i was walking by on a Sunday and decided i might as well have a go.
    The place is bizarre to say the least. I don't mean the very average 'wagas' clone bakery downstairs, but the restaurant which is above the bakery.
    To get there you have to walk through the frankly non-descript bakery and up some extremely steep stairs, although inconvenient to ascend, it is rather funny watching girls in high heels have such a ludicrously hard time trying to navigate each step, i certainly giggled at my girlfriends strenuous attempts.

    Anyway, when you finally get up there, its another very average fusion brightly coloured restaurant. The staff are impolite & don't bother to greet you, let alone give you eye contact, and so we had to find a table by ourselves. Finally, some waiter comes drifting over, looks stoned to be honest, because he walks into our table - doesn't bother to apologize. Gives us the menus and then as an afterthought waddles off to get the brunch ones as well.

    At a casual glance the menu is certainly over priced for what it is offering, and when it comes down to brunch if i remember correctly it was 60 rmb for a croissant and a soft drink...come on really! Amazing temerity to offer this at this price. Anyway I went for the brunch option of the hangover cure for 75 RMB. Standard Full English breakfast. The quality was very average and your choice of drink with it is coffee or bizarrely ginger ale/coke/sprite; no juice.

    On top of all this at 1.30pm on a Sunday afternoon, you have blaring dance/techno music being played, and im pretty sure most people are indeed recovering from a night out or wanting a lazy Sunday and so really don't want to have their meal thumped along with some tossy Chinese mix of techno...it really was too much for me. I ate my food as fast as i could, paid and ran away with my girlfriend in tow, although not running down the stairs mind.

    If you're wanting brunch on Anfu lu go to Amokka...its hands down better than The Food central, nicer staff, nicer decor, nicer food & nicer chairs.
    The worst brunch in town....!
    For The Food Central on October 10, 2011
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    Altfield
    Joined Apr 15, 2011
    Is French
    Posted 2 Reviews
    I've been to their brunch on a Saturday morning.
    I wanted to go for something safe and quite common = French Toats.

    It was the worst French toasts I ever taste in my life !!!!

    It was a mix between a pudding and something else disgusting.

    I hardly find any bread in my french bread which is totally surprising , they also add some onion and sweet cream which was terrible all together!!!!

    I really wonder where do they find their cook . It was highly disappoitning and disgusting!

    Will never never never go back !
    Nice place
    For The Food Central on October 28, 2011
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    froggy081280
    Joined May 13, 2011
    Is French
    Posted 2 Reviews
    To be honnest i walked there with some mixte feeling as i saw the online comments, but also friends recomanded me the place , so i went there to make my own judgement

    and i have to admit that i don t regret it for many points, the quality of the food, the service and the price / quality / quantity ratio

    i had the sausages pizza with some Spicy tuna and the fries as the GM suggest to us in a very friendly & profesional way

    i like the pizza comming with some nice salad on the top, the spicy tuna is also very tastefull and you can see that they are using good fish and the fries was also very surprising in therms of quantity and tasting, come with some seasoning who make them delicious :)

    the design is also very nice , only the bathroom need to work on it to avoid the bad smell.

    will definitly come back to try the brunch that the staff present to us

    well done
    Left a bad taste in my mouth
    For The Food Central on October 26, 2011
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    albertlin9
    Joined Nov 16, 2008
    Is US
    Posted 6 Reviews
    While the concept is rather interesting, an upscale food court where you can order anything from Chinese, Japanese and Western food, while it gives a diversity of dining choices, it's lacking in service and food.

    Service is lacking on all aspects. Sometimes nobody picks up the phone the whole morning (on a Saturday), reservations don't get honored, they sit your party of 4 at an 8 person table telling you that you'll have to "share" your table with others and on my last visit, the manager told us that if we weren't going to order any other items (just an hour into our Sunday brunch), we would have to sit at the bar so they could use our seats to accommodate larger groups.

    Food on the other hand is hit-or-miss. Fried things are their strong suit. Onion rings come in a huge Cheesecake Factory-like heap. Burgers are acceptable but nothing wow and the much talked about Asian-American sweet and sour pork is just plain mediocre.

    With so many good places within walking distance, competition is up, and The Food Central is falling miserably short.
    Not as bad as I thought...
    For The Food Central on November 17, 2011
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    Shahla
    Joined Oct 20, 2007
    Is New Zealander
    Posted 2 Reviews
    After reading a lot of reviews I was very reluctant to try this place out as it wasn't recommended by a lot of readers. We went there for dinner last night because it was about to rain and it was close to the supermarket...very cautiously I must add.

    I was very surprized by the good service, promptness of food, and shockingly great quality meal we had. We ordered a pizza and Eel Roll and they were both exceptional. For a restaurant that had been shat on a lot I was very impressed and needed to give it props for the effort they put in last night.

    Agreed that the price was a little bit on the high side, BUT the amount of food we got for that was very well portioned. The manager/head waiter sent us a free dessert at the end (Apple Crumble)...a great end to our meal. We had a great evening and will definitely be back.
    Not Bad
    For The Food Central on January 2, 2012
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    thc23
    Joined Jan 2, 2012
    Is Irish
    Posted 15 Reviews
    I'm not sure why there's so many negative reviews. 10 of us went for lunch on New Years Day. Apart from my wife ordering tea and waiting 15 minutes before canceling it and ordering a coffee, which took 15 minutes to arrive, the food was very good.

    The only downside is the price of dishes is too high, there are plenty of placers with nicer food for much better prices.

    That said it's worth a try, but not somewhere I'd choose to go regularly.
    Could be better?
    For The Food Central on February 12, 2012
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    sarahombz
    Joined Dec 3, 2010
    Is USA
    Posted 8 Reviews
    The food central its a Ok place. The ambiance and the hole Idea of the place is verry exciting.. but the smells are too much!
    My complaint is that they specialize in different types of foods but Theres NOT one dish that I can say is AMAZING..? is just so so.. the sushi is not really good , the pizza is ok... and the chinese is a little bit disappointing.. but its such a big shame because the place looks great!

    Brunch Disappointment Central
    For The Food Central on March 26, 2012
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    LadyMac
    Joined Nov 25, 2010
    Is English
    Posted 5 Reviews
    On a beautiful sunny Saturday (after months of rain) my friend and I were delighted to bag a curbside table in the sun and to order a promising sounding brunch from the menu. We'd been meaning to try this place out for a while, and we were totally disappointed. The brunch elements are super-stingy in portion-size, but even worse have clearly been pre-prepared and sitting around for a while. My friend's little dish of hummus was already starting to form a slight crust on it, and my toasted "dark rye" bread was dumped on top of my brunch, & looked like a piece of ready sliced wheat bread, and had clearly been toasted earlier in the day. Worse was to come. The two very perfect looking poached eggs were also stone cold - not just on the inside, on the outside too. I don't know how long they'd been sitting around, they didn't seem rubbery to be fair, but who wants to eat cold poached eggs?
    The service was ok except the system seemed to be that 1 waitress worked the outside tables while two other staff members worked inside. It was a hot day, everyone was outside except for one table of people inside. Our poor waitress tried her hardest and did a pretty good job, but was run ragged, while the other two just stood inside doing nothing and blanked our frantic waves for service. I'm a fan of the Apartment, feel neutral about Geisha, but expected better from this crowd. Overall, definitely won't be coming back.
    Awful behaviour!!
    For The Food Central on April 4, 2012
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    SSJses
    Joined Apr 4, 2012
    Is German
    Posted 2 Reviews
    I go here fairly often, and went in for lunch over the holiday, I like the place, atmosphere and food (pizzas are great).. but you know how some things can just rub you the wrong way... The (clearly arrogant) foreigner manager (?) did a slow, and very loud sarcastic clap after a poor server dropped something near the bar in front of customers!!.. It was embarrassing not just for them but for me and everyone who was sitting nearby. I saw another table wide eyed, clearly not knowing if they should laugh or be appalled. What awful behaviour!!
    I live in the area and there are lots of options on Anfu lu, so they clearly should be more careful to maintain an environment people want to be in because other options are only 10 feet away.
    Airline Eggs:(
    For The Food Central on April 11, 2012
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    ShangBlues
    Joined Mar 29, 2012
    Is Canada
    Posted 6 Reviews
    I’d heard about Food Central and the concept sounded intriguing, so I decided to drop in there for brunch with a couple of friends, the service staff were friendly and the place has quite a good vibe about it. We all ordered egg dishes and had a few beers – incidentally there is a limited selection of beers… the poached eggs were ok, but they did something weird with the scrambled eggs – I’d probably describe them as “airline style” due to the rubbery texture and lack of taste...

    Very average food and over priced – yet another poor local attempt at a western style restaurant in Shanghai?!?!
    On second thoughts....
    For The Food Central on April 17, 2012
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    Shahla
    Joined Oct 20, 2007
    Is New Zealander
    Posted 2 Reviews
    This is my second review for this place...the first time I wrote a review for The Food Central was because I thought they got a lot of slack when in fact we had a great experience...last night however...was a let down!

    We arrived for dinner last night and were quite excited to see that they had branched out on a lot more options on the menu. I decided to go for the sliders with choices of (fries, salad, or house sides). I chose a house side (mashed potatoes). The waitress seemed confused and wasn't sure if they could do it. Considering that it was already in the menu I was first put off by her having to go to the kitchen to ask about something that was already clearly stated in the menu (and she should have been trained). She came back and said it was okay (shock). After this I already had a bad feeling about the rest of the night...

    My food arrived and I asked for gravy for my mashed potatoes...the waitress looked confused and brought back some sort of cream. I also asked for ketchup. I told them the cream was wrong and we wanted gravy...still nothing. I gave up.

    After the meal we order an apple crumble which is always a great delight and we always order it when we come...it normally comes with some a creamy pudding to pour over the crumble. The one we received this time was a lot of apple and barely any crumble. We poured the pudding on top and weird lumps came out.

    There were only 2 other tables when we were there, and around 3-4 staff on the floor and we could still barely get any attention. Kitchen staff kept coming in and out of the kitchen and they were noisy throughout our dinner and yelling across the room when they needed something. I don't think there was a manager there last night at all.

    Not the best experience for a dinner that average costs over RMB 250 for 2 people (without drinks)...
    First Experience
    For The Food Central on July 23, 2012
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    yichiban
    Joined Sep 15, 2011
    Is USA
    Posted 1 Reviews
    I've heard for a long time from my roommate how the food central has great food but never got around to paying a visit. Finally yesterday my boyfriend and I decided to go for a nice brunch. The restaurant is situated on the quiet and quaint Anfu Rd. When we arrived we were seated in the cafe on the first floor since we did not make a reservation ( which we will make sure to do next time since upstairs is quite nice). Between the two of us, we shared a German farmer's breakfast, classic english and a ham & cheese waffle. Washed it all down with some delicious freshly blended juice which came with the breakfast sets. The food was very good and we were especially impressed by the waffle which tasted somehow like peanut butter (YUM). It was a great start to a beautiful sunday and we will definitely be back to try out everything else on the menu.

    Big improvements!
    For The Food Central on August 5, 2012
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    hmarie
    Joined Feb 13, 2012
    Is Belgian
    Posted 1 Reviews
    I had been to The Food Central a few times for brunch, mostly because I loved their little terrace on the second floor. I didn't think the food was that special and the brunch deal wasn't great. That was about 2 or 3 months ago.
    I decided to give it another try though yesterday. I went back for brunch with a friend and I noticed a few changes: there's now a hot beverage or a fresh juice included in the brunch deal and there was a lot more food on my plate, they also changed their menu which is a lot clearer now. I had the European brunch #4 and it was very satisfyinig.
    After our brunch the manager came to ask for our feedback, which was very attentive and professional of him.
    Don't know about the lunch and dinner options though as I haven't been there at those times yet.
    All in all a good experience for a casual brunch.
    Good food- understaffed
    For The Food Central on October 15, 2012
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    sos1213
    Joined Jan 4, 2010
    Is American
    Posted 2 Reviews
    This is the second time we have been to the Food Central for brunch and on both times the food was solid (and the brunch a very good) but the service lacking. Everyone is very friendly and helpful...once you get their attention. However the amount of time it took to get menus after sitting down, to order after getting menus, and to get the check after finishing was quite long. I have been here for a while now and have learned to be patient with service but I expected a bit more. I can not stress how friendly everyone is but for Sunday brunch it might be worthwhile adding some extra hands.
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