I’ve been meaning to visit Chez Maurice for quite awhile, but the reservation always got procrastinated, until recently, when I finally went over for brunch.
PSA, Chez Maurice is pronounced ‘Shea’-Maurice, not ‘Ch-azz’ Maurice
Chez Maurice is another project by Blue Plate Consulting, headed by Chefs Anna Bautista and Sean Jorgensen. The main direction of the restaurant is a modern steakhouse, specialising in dry-aged beef at affordable prices. At the time of writing, I have yet to sample their steaks, mainly because I have been waiting for their staff to familiarise with the cooking; I have heard multiple reports previously, that unless Chef Anna was in, the steaks would often be cooked very inconsistently.
Anyway, I heard that Chef Anna was in one weekend, to personally cook their new brunch offerings, and thus I booked a table with my friends to try it out.
Chez Maurice is located in the ever charming Former French Concession area of Shanghai, located above the popular live music club, Hey Day. Upon entering the restaurant, I was pleasantly surprised by a modestly sized, but clean and modern dining room.
Whilst the feel was modern, I liked that there were bits and pieces of classical elements; The leather-clad chairs juxtaposed against the thick wooden block tables, and the white wall tiles against the simple white walls adorned with black picture frames. I thought it all worked very nicely.
It was interesting to see all dining ware branded with Chez Maurice, even the wine glasses. 8.5/10
Waiters were courteous and offered water upon being seated. I was not rushed to order while waiting for my friends to arrive, and later on, even though it started getting busy, service was attentive. Orders were taken quickly, food and drinks were served without much wait. 8.5/10
A special brunch menu is available on the weekends, and it contains new brunch selections, along with many of the highlights of the regular menu.
Planche de Charcuterie (138rmb)
Their house-made charcuterie plate. Smoked sausage, duck terrine, pork pate, cooked ham.
The serving size of this was very generous. Various charcuterie laid out on a long wooden board. I particularly enjoyed the smoked sausage and ham, maybe because those were the things I grew up eating more in Singapore.
My Dutch companion agreed that the pate and terrine were a little dense and dry.
That said, everything on the plate felt de rigeur, and didn’t quite make a memorable impression. 7.5/10
Saumon Fumé Maison (78rmb)
House cured salmon, beets, radish, salmon roe, citrus-curry vinaigrette.
I’m a big fan of delicate salmon dishes, and this item caught my eye. On the plate, it was beautiful with various shades of orange, accented by the purple beets.
On the tongue, it was clean and fresh tasting. The salmon were lightly salty and had still retained their original flavours, paired with the occasional burst of umami from the salmon roe, and then cleansed away by the beets, inviting one for a second round. The citrus curry vinaigrette had a nice balance of acidity that paired well with the saltiness of the salmon and roe. This was indeed very appetising. 9/10
Poitrine de Bouef Wagyu Braisé Au Café (98rmb)
Coffee braised beef wagyu brisket, fried egg, ratatouille.
Ok, they had me at Wagyu. It’s a ‘dirty’ trick restaurants use all the time to get diners to choose an item. Slap on truffles, foie gras, wagyu on a dish, and it will sell sell sell!
On paper, the dish looked very exciting. Wagyu beef with notes of coffee, paired with a ratatouille.
I shall go over the highlights first. The ratatouille (not pictured as they were beneath the bread), excellently cooked and seasoned. The flavours of the various vegetables really shone and came together as a whole, unique taste, all that while still being able to discern the individual vegetables.
The sunny side up egg, as you can see, was fried to textbook perfection — yolks cooked through, egg whites all set without any charring or crisp edges. This, by the way, is not easy to replicate consistently in a restaurant, and this egg was probably one of the best looking fried egg I’ve seen in Shanghai in recent memory.
Unfortunately, the wagyu brisket left much to be desired. When one pictures wagyu in their head, one thinks of soft tender beef with beautiful marbling across the meat that dissolve luxuriously in the mouth.
The wagyu brisket we had, was unfortunately, quite dry and chewy on the muscular sections, and had large sections of fat instead of delicate marbling. I understand that this is the characteristic of a brisket cut, but it just left me a bit disappointed on what I had expected from the dish on paper.
Notes of coffee was not apparent either, and whilst the beef brisket slices were large and generous, in the end it felt more like a chore to finish them. Perhaps I would have enjoyed a more classical steak and eggs better. 7/10
Ouefs Benedict Croquette de Crabe & Crevette (98rmb)
Crab & shrimp croquette, poached eggs, salmon roe, choron sauce.
I was told this was excellent, and very filling, perfectly poached eggs against a well formed crab-shrimp-cake. On plating, it looked beautiful as well. 8.5/10
We actually over-ordered, otherwise the bill per head would come down to 120+ rmb, which was a fair price for the quality (wagyu brisket aside). I am looking forward to try more of their dishes, and eventually some of that touted dry-aged beef. I thought it was a shame that refillable coffee was not available for brunch, because the coffee didn’t come cheap at 30rmb per cup.