The top two/three floors of the Julu 758 complex behind More Than Eat is dedicated to a upscale brewbar, sporting an "automatic beer dispenser" (essentially a glass tap tower), gastropub grub and a generously sized roof terrace. The owner is an Anhui-based brewery that does hit-or-miss adventurous takes on craft beers.
Friday night meet up with an old friend from down south, along with my regular dining partner, as the weather was pleasant we all decided to meet up at the rooftop terrace of Dream Brewers at 758 Julu Lu, and what an experience it became.
As it’s a brewhouse, started with a selection of their 330ml IPA’s, and ordered a glass of Laughing Bird Chardonnay for our friend, whilst going over the menu.
We chose the following dishes:
Pork Trotters Carpaccio: Deboned pig’s trotter which is pressed into a cylindrical shape, or forced back into the skin and poached, somewhat like a terrine. Must say this was the most standout out dish of the entire meal, and something not seen before in Shanghai.
Deep-Fried Crab Cake: That in effect was oversized and over deep-fried, extremely salty dry crab cake, why not make then smaller and offer, say three and more delicate and pan-fry instead.
Baked Snails Pie: The snails must have been Greek in origin, as they were a little shy and were somewhat spartan in number, meaning there weren’t that many to be found under the rectangular puff pastry case, which had green drips everywhere.
Char-Grilled Ibrico Pork Rib: which I believe should have been spelt as Ibérico!! this dish was dry and tough.
Hand-Cut French Fries: more like machine cut and frozen jobbies.
Roasted Red Beetroot: nice touch with the pumpkin seeds, but just dam salty.
Baked Creamy Spinach: nothing creamy about this dish.
All three of the side orders were extremely small portions both the Roasted Red Beetroot and Baked Creamy Spinach were over seasoned, well just too much salt.
All of the dishes were decorated in green, or some form of green drizzle…Was this an attack underway of Soylent Green.
Must say that the selection of beers on offer were interesting, slightly different from the plethora of recently opened brewpubs around Shanghai.
The Laughing Bird Chardonnay: a merge pour for the price. I looked up the description of what the wine should have been, as taken from their website: This fresh Australian white has a ripe lemon hue with green apple and lemon rind aromas. Ripe peach and melon flavours mingle with a richly textured creaminess on the palate, leading to a fresh finish, the wine smelled like cheap nail varnish remover, my guest left most of it.
I understand the main restaurant is on the floor below, which results in a disconnect with what is prepared upstairs on the terrace grill area, lengthy wait times for dishes, the waiters were mostly sullen no coordination, the foreign chap who was orchestrating the grill, avec baseball cap, was not conducting too well.
I can put up, to a degree with children running around a restaurant as this is Asia, where parents have very little control or just don’t care, but to allow a poodle to run around a restaurant is off-putting and where I draw the line, and no it was not a guide dog, or to be more PC an “All-Seeing Eye Dog” what were they thinking, both the owners and the establishment for allowing this.
As the night wore on, despite sitting directly opposite the bar, it was as if we were in a blind spot, cluttered by dirty plates, our glasses empty and with the pumping up of the music Gangnam style was becoming deafening, we decided to call it a night and pay, sorry we don’t take credit cards, only WeChat / Alipay, fortunately, I had enough of the readies, to pay in cash.
I enjoyed myself in the company of two lovely ladies, it was Friday night after all, but I ask myself why I bother trying these new places that everyone raves about through months of social media froth, upon reflection I wished I had stayed at home and entertained there instead.
Summer is right around the corner, and nothing beats the Shanghai heat like sipping on some cold beers on a sweet rooftop deck. Sitting within blocks of some of the best bars with outdoor spaces in Shanghai, Dream Brewers enters the mix with one of the best rooftops in the city.
We went on a sunny Saturday around 1 pm for a late lunch and there was a private event on the 3rdfloor, so we were directed to go straight to the 4thfloor rooftop deck. There was a bartender and a waiter, a cool fire pit, a soundtrack mainly of 70's and 80's hits, random dog statues, and lots of empty seats. Actually, they were all empty seats as we were the only customers there.
Beers were good, 40 rmb for 300 mL. Not cheap, but they were very cold which is not always the case in Shanghai and they tasted like craft beers. They had a deal for 20 RMB beers at their pop-up truck at the entrance of the complex which is a great deal and also a good place to people watch.
The Dreamer hot dog tasted more like a bratwurst on a huge bun. Hopefully when Costco opens later this year, Shanghai will finally get a legit American-style hot dog. Until then, this isn’t bad. There was nothing mini about the Mini Burger. This is where the chef got really creative. It had a layer of beef tongue, and some sort of guacamole sauce along with standard burger toppings. I applaud the creative courage and it actually wasn’t too bad, but not good enough to order again. On the other hand, the fish and chips were good enough to order again.
Overall, Dream Brewers is good enough food, better beer, and an awesome deck.
Kid friendliness: There is an elevator straight to both floors but the only bathroom is on the 3rd floor. The waiter was super friendly and the dog statues were fun.
Known as one of Shanghai’s top breweries this popular spot also offers an ambitious fusion dinner menu. Located in the Julu complex, Dream Brewers occupies 2 floors, formal dining (Level 3) and a rooftop bar (Level 4).
We were pretty hungry so decided to go straight to the restaurant. Dimly lit with simple concrete interiors topped with 90s slow jams, think Atomic Kitten, Mariah etc. The mood was set for a cute date night.
Overall the menu is pretty heavy on red meat and seafood dishes, so not a great spread if you’re vegetarian. We grazed on a bread and cheese platter to start. Not bad, but not memorable. Next up a scallop ceviche, beautifully presented (see photo) and served with a seaweed type cracker – yum! Which is where they should have left it. Unfortunately the ceviche was heavily garnished with a rose flavoured jelly - let’s just say Ottolenghi would not be impressed. Final dish was a cuttlefish tagliatelle. Now here I was expecting a plate of tagliatelle pasta with cuttlefish IN it, but in fact the cuttlefish itself had been ‘tagliatelled’ (I don’t know – is that a thing?). Drenched in a basic buttery sauce with a few herbs, this was pretty uninspiring given the price. Come 9pm the tables are decked with large neon bulbs and the tempo starts to pick up. The rooftop bar has a great vibe. We didn’t spend much time here, but I liked the modern design of the booths looking out across the Shanghai skyline, a nice place for Friday drinks over summer.
At the end of this experience I think I was just left a little confused. The quasi-italian inspired restaurant is yet to fall in sync with its humming rooftop bar and extensive craft beer list. A few tweaks to the menu and the place will certainly have potential.
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