Commune Social’s New Menu is What Fall Dreams Are Made Of

By Sophie Steiner, November 4, 2020

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As the brain child of acclaimed chef Jason Atherton, neighborhood modern tapas restaurant Commune Social makes fine dining accessible, affordable and – most importantly – fun. With an open-air patio that gets just the right amount of shade from the nearby buildings without the street noise, you can easily spend a few hours here without realizing how quickly time has passed.  

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The newly available fall menu, designed by Spanish chef Sergio Moreno, really wowed us with its whimsical dishes and creative twists on classics that are even better when paired with their fall-spiced cocktails.

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No matter the time of day, do yourself a favor and start your meal off with a glass of Mulled Wine (RMB68). A boozy alternative to the overly sweet versions found elsewhere, red wine and brandy form the base, accented by vanilla, apple juice and honey and seasoned with all the best fall spices – cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange peel, cranberry and rosemary. 

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A classic negroni takes on edible form in the Foie Gras Panna Cotta with Negroni Jelly (RMB98), a texture playground of a dish that brings together luscious foie gras mousse, earthy toasted almonds, dots of herb oil and bright orange gems of negroni jelly, a citrus burst on the front end and rounded bitterness on the back of the palate. 

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The mousse is best scooped up by the fresh-baked breads they are currently playing around with, our favorite of which is the chewy, gluten-free tapioca flour-based rolls seasoned with thyme and oregano. The expert level balance of textures and tastes that runs through every plate at Commune Social finds no exception here. 

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Nothing screams fall more than pumpkin (read a full list of pumpkin dishes across the city here), so it’s only fitting that a dish that cannot be skipped is the Roasted Pumpkin (RMB68). The Sichuan pepper vinaigrette lends citrus notes with a hint of that signature tingling spice that pairs so well with the creamy burrata and the pumpkin's natural sweetness. A blend of mixed seeds and crispy pistachios tie all those earthy fall flavors together. 

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The Brussel Sprouts (RMB58) are making a comeback this year and are better than before – we didn’t think it was possible either. A favorite for vegetarians and meat eaters alike, the shatteringly crisp Brussel sprout leaves flake apart individually so each bite is filled with that satisfying crunch. Perched atop cubed sweet potato and a tangy parmesan foam, the sprouts are sprinkled with tart dried cherries and crushed walnuts. 

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Smoky like an autumn campfire, the Roasted Octopus (RMB108) is all about the aromatics. Eggplant is served three ways – charred, miso-marinated + smoked and fried to really showcase this everyday ingredient’s wide breadth. The octopus is sous vide for five hours at 77 degrees before being grilled – a true star of the dish that is best consumed smothered in the tahini mint vinaigrette. 

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As you move deeper into the menu, skip the everyday apple cider and go straight for the Apple Brandy (RMB88) – a not-so-sweet tipple that blends together Calvados, averna, brown spiced cordial, and lemon and apple juice, all topped with a spiced apple crisp – fall in a glass.

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Like your mom’s winter stew, the Iberian Pork Cheek (RMB108) is what you want to curl up on the couch with after a long day. Melt-in-your-mouth chunks of tender pork are mixed with creamy polenta. To cut through the dish’s richness, escabeche grapes are pickled and then grilled, a necessary pop of tart sweetness.

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Commune Socials offers up some of the best desserts in Shanghai and the newest addition, the Dark Chocolate Mousse (RMB65), is a chocoholics fantasy. Served with moist olive oil cake, coconut sorbet and a tart yet fruity blood orange jam, we realized rich dark cocoa and orange is the pairing we’ve been waiting all year for. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The seasonal menu just hit the restaurant last week and should be available until the end of the year, but don’t procrastinate – you’ll want to hit this up more than once. 


See a listing for Commune Social

[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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