4 Fresh Fall Menus to Warm Your Shanghai Soul

By Sophie Steiner, November 13, 2020

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It’s that time again – another round of fall menu favorites coming at you, this time with pumpkin heavy dishes from neighborhood café Egg, modern fusion Southeast Asian sharing plates at Portman’s, upscale dim sum in the lux Middle House at Sui Tang Li and sophisticated French bistro Oxalis’ seasonal lunch specials. From casual to lavish, we’ve got you covered on all things autumn. 


Bright and airy during the day, this little café is owned by Camden Hauge and has a menu of brunch-oriented dishes like avocado toast, rice waffles, buckwheat pancakes and funky fusion benedicts. Much of the food includes eggs, but an egg can also be added to any dish for an extra RMB8.

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For fall, Egg is pumping out all things pumpkin, like their Pumpkin Pie Porridge (RMB60) that makes you want to curl up on the couch with while wearing fuzzy socks and a sweatshirt (read a full list of pumpkin dishes across the city here). From a base of roasted pumpkin, coconut milk, puffed quinoa, and buckwheat to toppings like holiday spices, apple slices, miso-maple granola, pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut and maple syrup, this is a bowl of porridge Goldilocks would be all over. Not to mention, Egg’s also got super thick, creamy PSLs on offer, with an optional shot of pumpkin liqueur add-on for an extra RMB20. 

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For when the weather outside says soup, but you’re craving a salad, the Warm Veggie Hotpot Salad (RMB65) is the way to go. An overflowing plate of lotus root, pumpkin, bean sprouts, mixed mushrooms, tofu and all the greens are coated in a chili-sesame sauce and seasoned with Sichuan peppercorn, to replicate that signature hotpot flavor, but in veg form. 

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Other noteworthy seasonal options include Salmon + Sweet Potato Hash (RMB75), Chicken + Biscuits (RMB75) and Greens + Grains Bowl (RMB75), an updated twist on one of the original Egg brunch favorites. 


Portman’s in the Portman Ritz-Carlton has completely overhauled their menu and launched an entirely new concept as of September. Pulling on his Singaporean roots, head chef Xian has created an authentic Southeast Asian-inspired menu. Think Thai, Indonesian, Singaporean, and Malaysian fusion (heavy on the latter two), using the freshest produce, high quality proteins and loads of unique spices to create flavor-bursting dishes.  

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The signature dish is worth coming for alone – a Singapore Chili Crab (RMB408) smothered in tangy chili and tomato egg sauce and served with golden fried mantou. It rivals the best of the best in Singapore, without the headache of a flight (and COVID test and quarantine).

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The Australian Sambal King Prawns (RMB198) are tossed in a thick chili sambal sauce with the perfect balance of sour and spice. Meaty with that tender snap, these prawns are the epitome of indulgence.

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Missing our favorite Singaporean street food, we were amazed to find a legitimate replacement in the Seafood Char Kway Tiao (RMB68) – exactly like the charred flat rice noodles found in the famous Singaporean hawker centers, these are stir fried with the necessary sweet blood sausage, fish cakes, prawns, egg, crunchy bean sprouts and loads of shrimp paste, chili and dark soy. These are even better as leftovers the next day. 

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Other notable mentions include the Australian Beef Short Ribs Rendang (RMB230), the Durian Overload Dessert (RMB88) and the Pandan Mousse Dome (RMB88). 

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Sui Tang Li

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

After receiving a Michelin Plate award just last month, Sui Tang Li is now on even more people’s radar. This Chinese restaurant, with a name inspired by the meaning happy, free and relaxed, serves dishes that are ideal for sharing and presented in style. Chef Tony Ye, who has more than 20 years’ of experience, delivers the best of artisan dim sum and has curated a menu composed of creative and contemporary dishes influenced by Shanghainese, Sichuan and Cantonese regional cuisines. 

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The fall menu is full of warming dishes to keep your qi balanced. From peppery soups, like the Spicy Tongue Top, Frog Legs, and Bolete Soup (RMB228) – with its use of Sichuan peppercorns, tender cooked beef tongue, and meaty frog legs – to the Cold Soba Noodle (RMB128), mixed tableside with shredded chicken, porcini and a slippery peanut sauce, each dish is expertly seasoned and, well, balanced.

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For the seafood lovers, the Sea Red Salmon Cooked Two Ways (RMB588) comes with two identical fish, prepared in opposing cooking styles. The first is elegantly steamed with soy sauce, while the second is baked with ginger and covered in chopped chilis – both delicious in their own ways. For a third fish preparation, the Jasmine Tea Smoked Pomfret (RMB138) is sweet and tangy, a creative play on Shanghainese smoked fish. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Other must-orders include the the Braised Beef Short Rib (RMB358) with beef tendon and beef puffs, 5J Ham Xiaolongbao (RMB128) and the Fresh Avocado and Crab Meat with Caviar (RMB288). Make sure to preorder that last one at least one day in advance for private dining in the upstairs space. 

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Chef Jonas Noël, the chef at Oxalis when it was located in the Waterhouse, has carried over his recipe for success to its new location in a sunny space in the mall next to the Natural History Museum in Jing’an. Using carefully sourced ingredients for a sophisticated approach to French bistro cuisine, this iteration is all about approachable yet unique dishes that reflect classical French, Nordic and Asian influences. 

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The new fall Lunch Menu (RMB198 for 3 courses or RMB258 for 4 courses) is chock full of seasonal ingredient favorites, like the Butternut Squash Soup with parmesan shortbread, homemade ricotta, nutmeg and hazelnuts – a sweeter, creamier alternative to the more common pumpkin soup. 

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The Milk Fed Dutch Veal tartar is drenched in tuna sauce – a French twist on the Italian tuna tonnato that we can really get behind – and then topped with frisée salad, briny bottarga, lemon skin and dried capers. 

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On the Chef’s Lunch Menu (RMB388 for 3 courses), the Australian Octopus Leg is lightly sautéed and served in a thick, black squid ink and sea bream sauce, mixed with spicy toasted almonds, earthy fennel, and topped with a crunchy cracker crisp and fresh basil. 

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The Scallops are pan seared and served with an umami-rich broth made from mussel stock and shitake mushrooms. The Japanese sansho pepper, a cousin to the Sichuan peppercorn, is sprinkled across the top, adding notes of citrus and a hint of numbing spice. 

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As a French bistro, it’s not surprising that dessert is a big deal here. The Piedmont Hazelnut Souffle (RMB88) is topped with hazelnut praline and served with yuzu and French fig sorbet, a fall flavor twist on the regular year-round menu Grand Marnier Souffle (RMB88), served with yogurt ice cream drizzled in lemon olive oil. The Exotic Fruits Pavlova (RMB78) should also not be missed. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Other seasonal favorites are the Foie Gras Terrine, Atlantic Halibut and Cabosse 72% Dark Chocolate Tart. 

Check out other Fall Seasonal Menus here and here

[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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