Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Shanghai] The Waldorf Champagne Brunch

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Waldorf Astoria

Add: Waldorf Astoria, Heritage Building, 2 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu / 上海外滩华尔道夫酒店 中山东一路2号
Tel: 6322 9988
Hours: 11am~3pm
Price: 688 RMB + 15% or 888 RMB + 15% (includes free-flow of Veuve Clicquot Champagne and wine)
Visited: May 2012

The recently upgraded Waldorf Champagne Brunch is just about the most lavish (read: expensive) way you can spend a Sunday morning in Shanghai. As with the previous “Waldrof Brunch Tour”, brunchers commence at the Long Bar with flutes of Veuve Cliquot champagne and freshly shucked oysters, then waltz to the Grand Brasserie for its grand buffet and a la carte dishes from the Chef’s Specialties menu. Come hungry, and don’t expect to leave the place until a good 3 hours later.

A few words on Long Bar. The space used to be the gathering place for la crème de la crème of Shanghai back in 1920s, and, interestingly, is also where the first KFC in Shanghai was located. The current decor is all dark leather and dark wood, with an impressive 34-meter-long bar that was reconstructed exactly according to old photographs. Take the time to soak up up the unique charms of this legendary space, but resist the temptation to overdose on oysters – you will need that stomach space for a latter part of the brunch.

Skipping over Peacock Alley, which used to be part of the Waldorf Brunch Tour, we descended to The Grand Brasserie for its buffet of oysters, caviar, clams, roast carvings, dim sum, and other delicious things. It’s easy to get carried away with the parade of food, but keep in mind that brunch includes a la carte orders from the Chef’s Specialties menu, so pace yourself and choose wisely.

Here’s my plate from the buffet. I was trying not to fill myself up before the main dishes came, though it’s quite difficult to resist the fresh seafood section – smoked salmon and scallops carpaccio looked too good to skip, not to mention the caviar…

The number one recommended dish from the appetizer selection is the crab cake “Benedict”: poached egg, mango, sauce choron. A hint of spiciness gently tingled the tongue, making this ensemble especially memorable.

From the main course selection, an particularly enticing choice is pan-seared foie gras, ginger raspberry compote, peanut butter foam. Peanut butter with foie gras?

Risotto primavera, sweet snap peas, lobster and parmesan cheese.

I managed to squeeze in a plate of desserts from the buffet before my actual desserts arrived. New York cheese cake, vanilla macaron, bread pudding, lemon tart, chocolate brownie…each a delight, and quite significantly improved from what I tasted during my last visit almost a year ago.

Here are two desserts from the a la carte menu. First, a “Red Velvet” chocolate chip pancake with whipped cream cheese. What’s special about the red velvet creation at Waldorf is that no food coloring is used – the red is 100% natural from beetroot juice and cocoa – though I personally would’ve liked more sugar in the pancake (or perhaps serve it with syrup?)

Belgian waffle, vanilla ice-cream, “candied” bacon.

Finish with a cup of coffee, or another round of champagne if you so desire.

At 888 RMB + 15% (or 688 RMB without the free flow of champagne), this is one of the most expensive brunches in Shanghai. It is, however, very nicely orchestrated – food and drinks aside, service was silky smooth throughout the meal, with plates cleared away and champagne refilled promptly (probably too promptly for my own good). If you have the money, Waldorf Astoria would certainly be the place to splurge.

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Written by sugarednspiced

May 29th, 2012 at 5:23 pm