My quest for the ultimate Shanghai brunch guide ensues. This time, we arrived at Table No. 1 by Jason Atherton. This would be my second time having brunch here.
I remembered my first time (last summer) to be a little mediocre. Let’s see how the brunch offerings fared this time.
Housed on the Cool Docks of the Shanghai Bund, Table No. 1 can be a bit of a challenge to locate. The actual restaurant is housed on the ground floor of a refurnished docks warehouse, now a boutique hotel.
Entering the restaurant, you will find a spacious, modern industrial designed decor. Think grey tones, vintage furniture juxtaposed against brick floors with metal and wooden elements intertwined with each other.
Tables are generously spaced apart with comfortable designer chairs and homely leather cushioned couches.
In the day, natural daylight flood the entire restaurant. In cooler months, one can opt to sit in the outdoor backyard, although during our visit, we felt you could literally cook a rack of meat by just leaving it there for a few hours. All in all, it was a beautifully designed space which any restaurateur probably could not ask for more. 9/10
As this was a hosted tasting, courtesy of City Weekend, an unbiased score of 7.5 is awarded. That said, there was always enough servers tending to customers. There was never a moment where we were waiting to be attended to. As expected from a restaurant of this calibre, servers spoke politely and were knowledgable.
The brunch menu at Table No. 1 was kept at a modest size, something I often appreciate because that meant more effort would be put into making each item shine. A total of 17 dishes are offered, with some add-ons available. Dishes are meant to be shared, which I believe is always the best way to eat.
Dishes are ordered a la carte, with no set offered.
Eggs Benedict (RMB118)
The classic eggs benedict at Table No. 1 come with a twist, in the form of beef tongue and soft, silky parma ham. The poached eggs were perfectly cooked, with the yolk just slightly runny.
The true ingenuity of the dish laid in the combination of salty cured parma ham and beef tongue, married together with a perfectly balanced hollandaise sauce. Where the parma ham imparted a rush of saltiness, the beef tongue gave out a rich beefy flavour, which was suppressed by the slightly lemony and eggy taste of the hollandaise. 9/10
Chef’s Choice (RMB128)
The Chef’s Choice benedict consisted of glazed wagyu brisket, house bacon and pickled lime.
I tend to roll my eyes when wagyu is labelled on dishes that don’t showcase the quality of the meat. It meant that one probably would not know if the same component was replaced with any other non-wagyu beef. Unfortunately, such was the case with the Chef’s Choice benedict.
The wagyu brisket came in the form of diced cubes that had been marinated and cooked to death with a bbq/coffee glaze. While the flavours were tasty, the choice of preparation killed off any chance of tasting the tenderness and marbled fats (if any) of the meat.
House cured bacon is commendable, however I felt the ones at Table No. 1 were a little chewy for my liking. Perhaps it is a matter of personal taste, but I either like my bacon earth shattering crispy like a biscuit, or slightly limp with crisped edges. Why I like the latter is because you will get a small explosion of fats in the mouth when you bite into the un-rendered fatty portion of the bacon.
That said, the presentation and portions of the Chef’s Choice was noteworthy, the poached eggs and hollandaise sauce, cooked again to textbook perfection. This gets a 7/10
BBQ Pork Shoulder with Chipotle Slaw (RMB128)
Foregoing the steak and eggs (which I’ve had before), we opted for the more curious looking BBQ pork shoulder, because steak is boring unless it’s a Mayura station wagyu tomahawk.
To our surprise, the dish arrived simply as a open-faced pulled pork sandwich. Actually, it was more of a slice of toast with pulled pork on top. It was a little underwhelming, considering the dish was sitting beside a steak on the menu, we were certainly expecting a more hefty dish.
Thankfully, the pulled pork was tender, sweet and smokey. It’s flavours certainly helped to justify the price tag by a little.
The coleslaw on the other hand, was a little unexpectedly savoury, with a hint of heat from the advertised chipotle pepper. I felt that a more classic (sweet, tart) coleslaw would have helped offset the richness of the meat, and created a better overall balance. 8/10
French Toast with Orange Marmalade (RMB58)
Any brunch place with French toast on the menu, I have to order, because it is part of my mission to find the best french toast in Shanghai. So far, the winner is still at Mr & Mrs Bund.
When the French toast at Table No. 1 arrived, we were genuinely startled.
Where other French toasts had crisp caramelised crusts, this one, seemingly had none. Neither did it have the bells and whistles that many other French toasts had.
Instead, looked more like 2 big slices of cake, slathered all over with orange marmalade.
Upon tasting, we were surprised to learn that the french toast did in fact had a crisp eggy crust! The interior was soft and fuffy, with the edges slightly moist from the egg wash. This turned out to be an exceptionally traditional-tasting French toast, made simply with bread and egg wash (I think).
The orange marmalade was mildly sweet, and paired beautifully with the bread. The clotted cream helped balance off the dessert with it’s creaminess.
How to make this dish better? I’ve mentioned this many times. I don’t understand why so few restaurants are serving French toast with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream. The temperature contrast would elevate this dessert to it’s otherwise 8.5/10 score.
Thus concluded our brunch session at Table No. 1. We were bursting at the seams. Read on for the verdict and score below. Coming up next, another video feature and review of Brunch at The Commune Social.