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T8 Restaurant & Bar
Address: Xintiandi North Block, Lane 181 Taicang Lu, near Madang Lu
. 太仓路181号，新天地北里, 近马当路
Tel: 6355 8999
Hours: [Brunch] 11:30am-3:00pm, [Lunch] 11:30am-2:30pm, [Dinner] 6:30pm-11:30pm
Price: [Brunch] 258-498 RMB/person, [Dinner] 500 RMB/person
I was determined to come back to T8 after having a lovely lunch here during Restaurant Week, but of course with the multitude of restaurants in Shanghai, three months has past before I finally made it back here. So here it is, the long awaited post on T8, round deux. Brunch here is a sumptuous affair – 258 RMB for two courses, 328 RMB for three courses, and 498 RMB for four courses, all inclusive of a glass Perrier-Jouet champagne and illy coffee or tea (extra 198 RMB for free flow of champagne). Worth the money? Possibly so.
T8 upstairs lounge
We were exhausted after a morning of non-stop Christmas shopping, and were glad to be led upstairs to the tranquil and spacious lounge where brunch is served. The space is delightful – huge windows let in an abundance of natural light, fresh cherries adorning the tables, and Christmas music floating in the air. We sank into the plush sofa at the innermost corner as the waiter brought two glasses of Perrier-Jouet to our table. A most agreeable start!
A bubbly start
The world through a champagne glass
Our first entree, the crispy skin suckling pig with mojo sauce and cauliflower puree, was exceptional. The skin was roasted crispy while the meat remained supremely tender and juicy. The mojo sauce, with its strong curry flavor, worked well with the pork but overshadowed the cauliflower puree.
Crispy skin suckling pig, mojo sauce, cauliflower puree
Our second entree, the mushroom and Gruyere tart with cauliflower puree and asparagus, was equally appetizing. The buttery flaky crust was stuffed with a hearty Gruyere and mushroom filling and topped with juicy mushroom halves. The cauliflower puree, again, served more of a decorative purpose as it was basically indiscernible next to the other strong flavors.
Mushroom and Gruyere tart, cauliflower puree, asparagus
Main courses were less memorable than the entrees. The pan roasted salmon with steamed mussels and clams was tender and tasty but nothing extraordinary. The Wagyu striploin was a real let down. I ordered it medium rare, but it came out almost well done. The waiter insisted that it was “medium rare” even after I pointed out the fact that there was almost no red left in the meat. The waiter agreed to redo the dish (while still asserting that it was medium rare) but later brought us a more inferior cut that was very sloppily plated. I would’ve sent that plate back again if we had more time…
Pan roasted salmon, steamed mussels and clams, baby fennel, garlic broth, fresh pea emulsion
Wagyu striploin grade 5+, braised eschallots, string mushrooms, edamame, pan juices
Our first dessert was ricotta cheesecake with passion fruit puree, lemon curd ice cream, and ginger bread sable. The presentation was quite extraordinary with lavish pieces of gold flakes. The ricotta cheesecake itself is very light, so the flavor is somewhat overshadowed by the incredibly zesty lemon curd ice cream and passion fruit puree. I’m a big fan of sour flavors so I didn’t mind the tartness at all.
Ricotta cheesecake, passion fruit, lemon curd ice cream, ginger bread sable
Passion fruit puree with gold flakes
The second dessert – banana cake with chocolate mousse, caramelized banana, and banana ice cream – was less tantalizing. The crumbled banana cake presentation was interesting, but the texture was doughy and not particularly pleasing. The banana ice cream tasted artificial and the chocolate mousse too firm. Argh. I knew I should’ve ordered the raspberry souffle with pistachio ice cream instead.
Banana cake, chocolate mousse, caramelized banana, banana ice cream
Banana cake crumbled
T8 coffee is no good, order tea instead
If it seems puzzling that I recommend brunch at T8 even though the food isn’t exactly top-notch, here’s why. Firstly and most importantly, the space is nice, comfortable, and quiet. Also, service needs improvement but is overall satisfactory. Lastly, the food is beautifully presented (for the most part) and really is quite delectable though there’s certainly room for improvement. Just another venue to be added to your list of upscale brunches in Shanghai, along the ranks of Napa, Stiller’s, Jing’an, etc.
Christmas in Xintiandi