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[The Brunch List]: March '17

Going with a loose beer theme this month. Here's what a few beer spots around town are serving for brunch.
Last updated: 2017-03-06

The Brunch List is our monthly column pinpointing great (and not so great) brunch spots around town. Everything below is all you need to know about where to get leisurely weekend eats.


Beer was foremost in my mind for this month's brunches roundup. Food, more of a bonus. Here's what a few beer destinations in Shanghai are serving by way of brunch.

(Before you ask, Goose Island's brunch doesn't launch until next month and, hey, I thought I'd spare you yet another article about Boxing Cat so we've given them a miss this time around.)

1. World of Beer

Good for: A cost-effective beer-soaked brunch mercifully bereft of their live band.
Available: Saturdays and Sundays, 11am to 3pm. (No reservations necessary.)
Prices: "Bottomless Booze Brunch" is 168rmb, which gets you a main course from their brunch list and unlimited beer and beer-ish drinks from a selection of 6 or 7 items.

There's no sniffing at World of Beer's selection. With over 300 bottles from around the world and 30 beers on tap, you've gotta respect the Tampa, Florida chain's dedication. For the brunch deal, you're looking at this menu...

...and dropping 168rmb for free-flow beer on a few options culled from their drafts list. It's not a bad deal. You can do some damage if you're keen on getting your money's worth. Four hours of beer with a gastro plate to sop up some of the liquid. We got the chicken and waffles because it's the new thing to do in Shanghai.

Chicken & Waffles Sandwich - 58rmb

The menu is really overselling this thing:

"Beer-brined and lightly breaded chicken breast topped with bacon & onion jam served between fresh baked Belgian beer-infused waffles, topped with powdered sugar & warm maple-bourbon syrup on the side for dipping. Served with tater tots. Try it with a Porter."

Holy shit, World of Beer, calm down already. Calm. Down. This description, it's like some fedora goon's Master's thesis or something.

But, yeah, the chicken was really good. The waffles were a little dry and a little flakey. But the tater tots really brought it all home. At all the most important phases in your life they serve tater tots: high school cafeteria; prison; old folks home; your funeral.

"I have measured my life in tater tots." - T.S. Eliot

2. Shanghai Brewery (Donghu Lu)

Good for: Cheap craft pints; unchallenging food; a patio; space on Donghu Lu when everywhere else is full.
Available: Saturdays and Sundays, 11am to 3pm. (No reservations necessary.)
Prices: 25rmb craft beer pints; 35rmb cocktails with the purchase of a main item from their brunch menu (60-95rmb).

Spring had sprung last weekend on Donghu Lu, with patios for every single venue from the Fumin Lu intersection right on down to Shanghai Brewery at Donghu and Huaihai full of insufferable expats with insufferable sunglasses and insufferable baby carriages. Shanghai Brewery's patio was full too but there was ample seating inside. If the trendy Italian, Mexican, and boutique diner menus of the area are just too damn confounding for you, Shanghai Brewery is offering the most straightforward brunch menu in existence and cheap pints of their own beer to match. Textbook brunch looks like this:

Went with the salmon and poached egg. And then sat listening to the Black Eyed Peas for 35-45 minutes waiting for it.

Salmon & Poached Egg 82rmb

Where is the love, salmon & poached egg thing? Where is the love? 82rmb. Eight. Two. RMB. No home fries or cup of fruit or arugula salad or... fuggin' something?

Still the BEP positivism wore off on me. The Strawberry and Lime Cider is really good at Shanghai Brewery.

3. The MEAT (Kerry Center)

Good for: Luxury hotel service and a few options for unlimited craft beer with your expensive hotel brunch.
Available: Saturday and Sunday 11.30am to 3pm. (No reservations required.)
Prices: 350rmb plus service fee (408rmb total) for access to a seafood, cold cut, salads, cheese, soup and desert buffet, plus one main course ordered a la carte. Free-flow drinks included are coffee, tea, juice bar, a selection of two from their craft beer list, red and white wine. 228rmb for kids.

Rolled down on The Brew in the Kerry Hotel in the Pudong hinterlands to try their brunch, just trying to see this damn beer theme through to the bitter end, but it turns out they don't really have one. You have to go to The Meat upstairs, which is doing a luxury hotel-style buffet-plus-a la carte sort of deal for a small fortune. The deal is 408rmb, total, after taxes, for access to a seafood, salads, cheese, soup and desert buffet, plus a fancy main dish on top. These are the a la carte mains you can choose from.

I got the Salmon thing.

King smoked salmon, arugula salad & honey mustard

Some stuff is expensive and some stuff is expensive and worth it. Food was excellent. Service was excellent. To the point where I could have taken my pants off and just walked around the dining hall double-fisting blue cheese from the cheese station and a waiter would have followed three paces behind me, head bowed, reverently offering me another brick of cheese on a cloth napkin. The beer on offer is two wooden kegs of their IPA and their Pils, and you can have as much of that as you like. I stuck to their Sangria, the most delicious Sangria I've ever had, chugging massive quantities of the stuff before someone came over and informed me that it was actually 100% non-alcoholic grape juice. Ouch. I wasted so much time with it. So then it was just coasting the rest of the afternoon out drinking white wine, which is better than beer anyways, and spilling it all over the complimentary Shanghai Daily they gave me.

Turns out that paper is 50% Sudokou these days. Huh.

Option B to save a bit more: Every Sunday at The Brew is happy hour prices and they've got an all-day pub grub menu as well. More options for beer on that end.