French…Burgers?!? TSK, are you sure you know what you’re talking about??
Look. If fries are labelled French fries, why not French burgers? Introducing burgers by French Chef, Michael Wendling.
Because I don’t get many restaurant invitations these days, I decided to invite myself down to Michael Wendling’s CU2+ burger joint a couple of weeks ago, together with my lunch buddy who also happened to be French too.
Ok to be fair, Chef Wendling invited me many months ago, but I have procrastinated until now to visit. So in all fairness, this is still considered an invited tasting. Your moment might vary, but I don’t think it would.
CU2 is the chemical element term for Copper, just like Chef Wendling’s flag ship restaurant next door, Cuivre being Copper in French. The actual restaurant space for CU2+ is actually very small, about 40sqm at best. However, great things come in small packages. CU2+ screams attitude and design from the moment you walk in. On the left wall is a freakin’ awesome epic mural depicting the story of co-owners Michael & Fanny. The furniture is unlike anything you’ve seen in other restaurants in Shanghai. Quirky, and bold. Fold-up wooden cinema-like chairs, denim covered stools. In the end, we decided to sit outside because the weather was lovely. 2 outdoor tables are available. The short tables are custom-made with denim wrapping the sides. Very interesting. 8/10
As this was my first visit and an invited tasting (I am a guest and eat for free) so the service score defaults to 7/10. That said, this isn’t a fine dining establishment, though its decor might pass off as one. That said, I thought the waitress was quite shy and soft spoken.
I had the signature Mike on the Beach — featuring mainly Goat cheese (!) and sun-dried tomatoes.
My lunch companion had the Mike on the bike burger, featuring Brie (!) cheese with a truffle mayo and onion confit.
All burgers were served with a huge australian beef patty done medium rare.
I had a taste of both burgers and was pleasantly surprised.
First of all, these are not American feel-good-junk-food burgers. No bacon and onion rings slathered with bbq sauce and american cheese slices here. If you are looking for that sort of burger, I have to honestly recommend that you go elsewhere.
However, if you are looking for a truly artisanal burger, or wondering how a classically trained French chef would sell burgers, then CU2+ is the place to try.
Simply consider this description, 2 crusty buns holding together a medium rare australian beef patty, sauced with truffle mayo, accented with sweet onion confit and bound together with brie cheese.
When was the last time you had a burger with brie in it? I bet never! (unless you’ve been to CU2+)
The burgers at CU2+ have very bold pairings. The good news is, CU2+ pulled it off.
The burgers here are so epic they have to be unboxed.
Every burger is served in a high quality cardboard box, which shows a picture of a plate when you unfold it. Quite funny, but in the end, I just discarded the box and placed the burger on the box cover instead.
The burgers are quite big at CU2+. They are also very neatly assembled, and photo-ready. Very impressive.
Biting in, a flood of unfamiliar flavours filled my senses. A little gaminess from the goat cheese. Sweet and sour from the sun-dried tomatoes. A whiff of Thai from the basil. Quite a tastebuds explosion. It’s worth noting that both buns were also lightly buttered and toasted on the insides.
The patty was done perfectly medium rare, pink in the middle. Size was also quite generous, about an inch thick. One thing that I didn’t like was that the patty was quite lean, and belongs to the tightly formed variety. One type of beef cut was used for the patty, so it lacked abit of flavour, compared to the patties at some other places that have abit of fat and other flavourful cuts mixed in. I think this could be improved.
Another thing I really like about the burger at CU2+, compared to Beef & Liberty, was that there was no salad getting in my way in the burger. Actually, there were a piece of lettuce in both burgers, but somehow they managed to assemble it such that the lettuce doesn’t get in the way of the burger chomping. You don’t end up with a dangling piece of lettuce, or pull it out accidentally, etc. It just works. 8/10
This was my companion’s burger with the brie cheese and onion confit. As I said before, brie cheese in a burger, never ever before, but it worked. I very much preferred this one to Mikeonthebeach, maybe because I didn’t like the way goat cheese tasted, but also because this one’s pairing was very complex but balanced. The richness of the brie with the sweet onion confit and truffle mayo. Lovely. 8.5/10
Fries don’t usually get their own score, but the ones at CU2+ deserve it, because they are simply the best fries I’ve had in Shanghai so far. They are very close to the best fries I’ve ever had, which are the frites at Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Las Vegas. CU2+ makes their own frites, but sometimes also use sourced fries when it gets too busy. The hand-made fries we had had a full black truffle flavour, and were thin, light and very earth shatteringly crispy on just the outer crust. One you bite in, the potato flesh is soft and warm. They were very light and not grease-laden. Both my companion and I finished all our fries.
I would return just for their fries, and have a side of burger. 9.5/10
In conclusion, CU2+ is really a very unique place to have a very unique burger(s). Most people probably know of their first burger as depicted by McDonalds, I know I am. Eating a burger at CU2+ totally changes the way you think a burger could taste like. Call them gastronomical burgers if you will. They are exactly how a burger would taste like if you imagine a French Chef whipping up a burger. The burgers aren’t cheap, but that’s justified by the quality and quantity of the ingredients. If they improve on the patty, this might just become the best burger place in Shanghai.