Once upon a time.. I ate at The Shanghai Tavern

Sep 05, 2019

In December 2018, I visited The Shanghai Tavern at the Edition Hotel, Shanghai for brunch. The Shanghai Tavern was helmed by one of my all-time favorite chefs – Scott Melvin, and this restaurant was top on my list upon coming back to Shanghai.

Unfortunately, seems like the restaurant was buried under a pile of corporate bureaucracy, and many things about it were just, not right.

I felt that the food at The Shanghai Tavern then, wasn’t Scott’s best; A far cry from his creations at The Commune Social. Here are the highlights, hits and misses.

Weekend brunch starts at any 2 courses for ¥258 per and 3 courses at ¥298 per person.

Crab on toast

A complimentary amuse bouche, very signature of Scott Melvin’s style. That is, good strong flavors from the crab that are balanced with saltiness and acidity, and contrasted with crunch from the celery. A refreshing burst in the mouth, creating an illusion of a great meal ahead.

Eggs Royale

The poached eggs were perfectly cooked, paired with delicately smoked salmon and fresh hollandaise sauce. This was a simple classical dish that was well executed.

Another simple but well prepared dish. Lovely flavours of corn throughout the omelette. Nothing to fault.

Traditional Pork Pie

After speaking with Scott, I confirmed that this was more of a personal taste thing. I didn’t like it because I wasn’t accustom to eating a cold porky pie with crumbly pastry that was dry on the outside but wet and almost raw-tasting inside. That said I take his word for the authenticity of this pie, and I’m sure people who grew up eating this would love it.

Crab Risotto with Pink Grapefruit

Risotto is one of my favorite things to order, but it was certainly a little unusual to see it on a brunch menu. The crab risotto was nicely executed, though the pairing of charred grapefruit didn’t work as well as one would think. The two flavors were quite disconnected from each other.

Smoked Eel Risotto with Bone Marrow

The smoked eel risotto fared slightly better, in that there was a good smokiness throughout the dish, and the bites were accentuated with a luxurious burst of umami from the bone marrow. It did get cloying and I grew tired of eating it quickly.

The Tavern Mac and Cheese with Braised Beef.

This was a hearty portion, albeit, with the ¥98 supplement, it had better be. As you would expect, this was a very rich and savory dish, from the braised fatty cut of beef to the cheese sauced penne pasta. Another item that I personally felt was too rich for brunch, though I’m sure there are many who would wolf this up in a heartbeat without a complaint.

Desserts came in the form of cakes and stuff from a trolley. They were decent, though for my lack of a sweet tooth, nothing I would shout about.

Conclusion

To be fair, this was experienced back in December 2018, 9 months ago from this time of writing (I took notes).

Hopefully the offerings at The Shanghai Tavern is much more palatable now, but if this were 9 months ago, I probably wouldn’t return for the fare.