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[The Brunch List]: April '13

Welcoming spring with chicken n' waffles, modern Mex, inventive Italian breakfasts and an all-day fry-up / hangover remedy on YKL...
Apr 2, 2014 | 13:27 Wed
Our April brunch submissions our in. This month we've a plethora of modern Mex, fried chicken with whiskey back, breakfast Italian style and an all-day fry-up.


Mexo at the Bund

Good for: Bingeing on tacos and margaritas

If you've ever been to a quinceañera, a kind of bat mitzvah for Mexican girls, then the brunch at Mexo at the Bund might feel familiar to you. It's an all-you-can-eat sprawl of the kind of crowd-pleasing dishes that fare reasonably well hanging out under heat lamps and commercial chafing dishes for God knows how many hours.

Under Mexo's heat lamps: molletes (savory bread rolls), tortillas and grilled corn on the cob. In Mexo's chafing dishes: seasoned rice with frijoles charros (pinto beans stewed with bacon or sausage), empanadas, sort-of fancy versions of pork carnitas and beef fajitas, plus lamb and tilapia stewed in some mystery spicy sauce. If you complain about the chewiness of these empanadas, which should have a flaky crust, then you have no one but to blame but yourself for reaching for them in the first place.

It's better to stick with the made-to-order items. There's a station for quesadillas and tacos, which Mexo's kitchen staff will whip up for you on the spot. You can also order huevos rancheros, enchiladas and chilaquiles (tortilla chips tossed in salsa and topped with egg and cheese) directly from the kitchen.

For dessert, there's a small station of salsas, salad and fresh fruit, plus single portion desserts including chocolate mousse, flan and arroz con leche (rice pudding with milk and cinnamon). 165rmb per person for all of that, including free flow of soda, juice, beer and wine. If you want to add bottomless margaritas into the mix, then that'll cost 265rmb per person.

Sat: 11.30am-4pm
For a full brunch listing, click here.

The Public

Good for: Chicken and waffles; late risers

Stretching the definition of brunch, The Public brunch menu offers up classic American bistro fare until 5pm every Saturday and Sunday evening. The main reason to come here is the chicken and waffles, which at 145rmb per order, doesn't come cheap, but could be worth it for those who love the kind of thick-breaded, extra crunchy and really juicy fried chicken that's popular in the States. With the large waffle (which doesn't quite match up in quality), it's a big enough portion that could feed two people with normal-sized appetites.

Elsewhere on the menu, there's bacon and eggs florentine (55rmb); breakfast plates with eggs, toast, bacon and sausage (50rmb); french toast with Bourbon, bananas and walnuts (45rmb) and the Public Pastrami sandwich with a small side of sweet potato fries (70rmb for small, 95rmb for full size). On the lighter side of things is a small selection of soups, salads and omelets.

Drinks are extra, and once those are added to your order, you'll really start to see your tab building up. An Americano here is 35rmb, a Coke is 25rmb, juices start at 40rmb and booze — there's Brooklyn Lager, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale and The Public's take on the Bloody Mary, mimosa and Moscow Mule — ranges from 55rmb to 75rmb each. There's also a long list of "imported artisanal teas" with names like "Organic Green Seduction" and "Mother's Little Helper" that run for 48rmb per pot.

The Public already sees a packed house for brunch — it's a cozy spot with lots of sun and rustic-chic interiors — and trendy types tend to hole up here for hours every weekend, so it's best to book ahead.

Sat–Sun: 11am-5pm
For a full brunch listing, click here.

D.O.C. Gastronomia Italiana

Good For: Low-and-slow-cooked eggs

It's not brunch per se. It's breakfast, so you're going to have to be an early weekend riser — before noon (gasp!) — to get in on this. But it's worth it. Chef Stefano Pacé's cooking up lots of egg-oriented dishes with creative Italian twists. He's all on board with that slow and slow technique that's all the rage with eggs these days — you know, 62.5º C. You can get them with organic corn cakes, baby spinach and red quinoa (85rmb). They do them with green olive tapenade, zucchini pappardelle and lemon currant salad (75rmb). Or there is our favorite, eggs en cocotte. It's just a simple preparation of eggs and creme fraiche in a stoneware bowl with a log cabin stack of buttery toasted brioche sticks for dipping (80rmb). Pacé also does his own variation on the croque monsieur, that classic French brunch sandwich. Instead of white bread he uses pizza dough, and it's stuffed with mortadella, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and eggs. It comes out gently brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with lemon zest and fresh rosemary, which really ties the whole thing together. In addition to mains, you can order from a selection of breakfast pastries (18rmb) like cornetto (that's Italian for croissant).

Sat–Sun: 9am–12pm
For a full listing, click here.


Good For: A fry-up and hangover

D.O.C.'s sister restaurant, Sliders on Yongkang Lu, lies at the opposite end of the spectrum. They offer an all-day breakfast fry-up for 65rmb (add 30rmb for a bloody). The plate features the usual suspects: two slices of toast, beans, bacon, home fries and three eggs sunny-side-up. Is it that good. Meh... not really. The saving grace is the sausage. They're buying it from Amelia. We like Amelia. She does a good job. Still in order to eat Slider's all day fry-up you're going to have to put up with lots of day-drunk laowais and harried waiters who clearly can't stand serving said day-drunk laowais. If you're drunk a long with them, it probably doesn't matter. If not, there there are better fry-ups to be had in town with better atmosphere and service.

Sun: All day
For a full listing, click here