Shanghai Restaurant Review: Tube Station

By Cristina Ng, September 4, 2019

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The Place

Betrayal, mistaken identity and evil twins are tropes straight out of your favorite soap opera, but the restaurant world has its intrigue as well. When Tube Station opened this summer in Minhang’s Fengshang Square, the conversation in WeChat pizza groups (that’s a thing) was mostly “oh, that’s far” and “wow those pizzas look huge.” That was until a few former Beijing residents brought up the chain’s connection with one of the capital’s favorite pizza places, Kro’s Nest.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

After looking into the situation, it seems like a classic case of foreigner-meets-Chinese partner. The business seemingly goes well until the two dramatically split, and gossip spreads like wildfire. In this case, we’ve heard people fervently support one side or the other, but with no way to know who the true villain is, we say let’s save the cheese for the pizza.

The Food

While ’za is the main event, there is an extensive list of salads and appetizers on offer. The generously-sized Egg Salad (RMB33) features mayo-dressed hard-boiled eggs with an extra black pepper kick that we enjoyed. Their Cheese Fries (RMB29) and American Spicy Wings (RMB38) would make for suitable eating at a child’s birthday party. The fries stay crisp under a pretty legit nacho sauce due to dredging in flour before hitting the fryer.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

The seemingly endless pizza choices all start with a base made up of yeast, oil and two different kinds of ‘00’ flour (zero doppio flour), which culinary magazine Saveur calls the “Godfather of flours.” There’s a lot of food science involved, but it boils down to the fact that this flour is milled extra thin, allowing for a pizza crust with just the right amount of stretch. You want a thin crust with high walls, and these guys succeed on that count.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

When it comes to toppings, we avoided crazy combinations like Black Pepper Beef (RMB60/small, RMB160/medium, RMB195/large) and Tuna Melt (RMB50/RMB130/RMB180). You can also chow down on basics like Pepperoni (RMB48/RMB125/RMB165) and old school Cheese (RMB48/RMB115/RMB140)

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

The unique story behind the ‘Garbage Pail’ (RMB170/medium, RMB220/large) is enticing; this pie was initially made from the leftovers of other pies, and scooped onto a pizza that customers immediately loved. With pepperoni, salami, beef, ground pork, bacon, onions, ham, green peppers, mushrooms, black olives, spinach, red peppers, yellow peppers, pineapple, feta and mozzarella, you do get a taste of everything. It’s not bad, and we like the fact that it reduces food waste, but we will stick to fewer toppings in the future.

The ‘Tube Station’ Special (RMB55/RMB160/RMB190) is a much more manageable assortment: pepperoni, salami, ground pork, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, black olives and mozzarella. As with all their pies, the base cheese mixture is a pleasing combo of parmesan, asiago and Romano adding flavor to go with that stretchy pull. The tomato sauce does the job but isn’t remarkable. 

Food Verdict: 1.5/3

The Vibe

While Tube Station is an established chain with branches in Beijing, Tianjin and Xi’an, the pizza outlet is moving into turf already staked out by Homeslice and Joe’s. If we are being fair, Tube Station is on a lower level than those two giants, but they win when it comes to value for money. At the moment, they only have a branch in Minhang, which is ideal for the international school crowd. If you don’t fall into that category, keep them on your radar for deliveries come November when they open a downtown location. 

Vibe Verdict: 1.5/2

Total Verdict: 3/5

Price: RMB50-100 per person
Who’s going: international school teachers and students, locals
Good for: huge portions, classroom pizza parties, delivery

Leave Your Review

Have you been to Tube Station? Post your review here for a chance to win a Saucepan voucher.

See a listing for Tube Station. Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews

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