One Meal to Rule Them All: Shanghai's Newest Brunches Part II

By Sophie Steiner, August 26, 2021

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From snazzy hotel brunches with free flow booze aplenty to dim sum to steak and eggs, brunch is what Shanghai weekends are all about. Here is Part II in our brunch series, with three more of our favorite newly launched ones around town to help you over the hangover hump.

READ MORE: One Meal to Rule Them All: Shanghai's Newest Brunches

Italo Trattoria

Italo has rebranded as Italo Trattoria, your go-to neighborhood Italian joint for back-to-the-basics cooking with a modern thread. A combination of bringing chef Lucky Lasagna on board, revamping the cocktail list, plus upping the service game by welcoming Sebastian Dallee (previously of Heritage by Madison) to the Funka team as group GM has given the entire space a totally new feel, with incredibly delicious Italian food at honest prices. 

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Less than a month ago, Italo Trattoria launched its first brunch menu iteration with an RMB168 per person antipasta buffet – replete with quiche, baked pastries, assorted vegetable dishes (both cooked and raw), sweets, fruit, tarts, skewers and a variety of cold salads and sides – plus one main dish. The buffet options will change regularly, keeping it interesting for repeat guests. 

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Diners can also add on two hours of free flow with summer bellinis (RMB98), cocktails, draft beer, Prosecco and wine (RMB188) or free flow house made sodas (RMB98). The beverage menu offers juices and smoothies, tikicinos (fruit forward coffee frappes), and coffee and tea.

For diners opting for the RMB168 antipasta buffet plus main dish option, here's a few of our favorites from the current summer seasonals. 

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A quintessential brunch bite in one, the Scrambled Eggs sees fluffy whipped eggs piled high atop a charred piece of baguette slathered in both mascarpone cream and a spicy melted 'nduja sausage spread. 

Drizzled with an herbaceous homemade pesto and flecked with chorizo crisps, the stacked open-faced sando is brightened by peppery arugula. Don't be fooled by the modest name, this plate hits all the right notes and then some. 

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Lucky Lasagna deserves any and all awards for his take on Carbonara, a seemingly simple dish that is anything but that when made just right. Springy, al dente spaghetti is swaddled in an indulgent egg and pecornio-based sauce, covered in a generous smattering of caramelized pork jowl slivers, or guanciale

The rendered fat crackles on the edges but explodes when pierced, almost like a thick, just-cooked version of the aptly named pork fat cracklin'. A dusting of ground pepper and parmigiano adorn the top, begging the question, would it be an Italian brunch without pasta? We think not. 

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Stacked layers of rectangular-shaped roasted potatoes are interspersed with Laphroig cream and crunchy shreds of both speck and coppa meat, or dry-cured capicola, as the Patate al Whiskey. Of course the plate sees the addition of more parmigiano, plus a gooey yolk-sporting sunny-side up egg. 

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Whorls of smoked salmon are held in place by a thick coating of stracchino cheese, a soft cow's milk cheese atop the Loaded Schiacciata, an oven-roasted white pizza bread that bubbles and crisps, yet reveals its true self as an elastic, chewy pull of unforgettable carbs. Essentially an Italian answer to New York lox and bagels. 

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There is no shortage of meat on the Lucky Disco Panino, a burger bun encasing roast beef, melted provolone and crisped-up fried pancetta cut into slices like ultra-flavorful bacon. A pop of mustard, a shmear of sundried tomato and sliced cherry tomatoes cut through the meaty goodness.

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The lovechild of a diner favorite and an Italian dessert, the Tiramisu French Toast is two thick cut slabs of cinnamon brioche, piped with cacao-dusted whipped cream and drizzled in an espresso martini butter sauce. A true sugar rush on a plate. 

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A la carte options outside of the regular brunch set include Burrata (RMB88), Oysters (188/6 pieces), Carpaccio di Gamberi (RMB128), Octopus Leg (RMB128) and Beef Tenderloin (RMB228), among other items from the dinner menu.

See a listing for Italo

Something 

Something first soft opened in fall 2020, a brunch café, wine and cocktail lounge and global cuisine-inspired restaurant housed in a naturally lit, florally decorated space on Wukang Lu. Somehow, each concept works both on its own and as a collective – a textbook example of how the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. 

Chef Alexander Bitterling expands upon his ‘destination cuisine’ menu with brunch bites, now available seven days a week. You’ve heard that right, all of Wukang Market and its three restaurants (Something, Mi Mian Hui Xin and Agnes) are finally officially open all week long! 

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Back to the brunch, there are options for brunch fundamentals, like the Smoked Salmon Tartine (RMB108), a thick-cut slab of charred bread topped with soft-whipped scrambled eggs, fresh wedges of avocado, edamame and delicate slices of smoked salmon.

Or, for mixing it up a bit, like the Katsu Sandwich (RMB98), a crispy-battered and fried chicken cutlet surrounded by a luscious egg salad slaw nestled between two pieces of toast and served with homemade pickles. 

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The menu is heavy on the seafood-forward selections, like the Baked Crab Omelette (RMB118) that sees a fluffy frittata-like omelette cooked in a cast-iron skillet, garnished with avocado, lettuce, a creamy crab salad and speckled with salted egg yolk crumbles.

The fresh Seafood Salad (RMB98) sees a heaping plate of garden greens, pickled radish, golden beetroot slices and diced octopus and shrimp all drizzled with a tangy Bloody Mary dressing. And, for the carnivores, there’s also Black Angust Steak & Eggs (RMB168) and the Classic Burger (RMB88)

DSC08373.jpgKingfish Crudo (RMB98), Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

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For the sweet-toothers out there, the Tropical Lychee (RMB58) is a refreshing blend of lychee sorbet sitting on a bed of jasmine tea-infused tapioca, mijiu fermented rice and basil-syrup cooked water chestnuts, garlanded with fresh micro-basil. 

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Or, for the traditionalists that just prefer some straight up chocolate, the Mocha Deluxe (RMB88) beyond delivers. A soft mousse-esque dark chocolate ice cream quenelle anchors the plate, with jags of pecan meringue, pecan white chocolate and nut butter cake cubes, oxidized pear and dollops of mocha cream encircling it. 

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Is it really brunch without booze? Something agrees that the answer to that is a clear "no," which is why they offer both regular and brunch cocktails. Our favorite is an even more savory spin on a timeless Bloody Mary, the Cheese & Mary (RMB88). Decorated with a sliver of parmesan cheese and a pickled pepper, we approve of counting this drink as an appetizer. 

The majority of the dinner menu is also available during brunch/lunch hours, so if you’ve got a hankering for Beef Tartare, Black Angus Shortrib or Crispy Asparagus, Something’s got you covered. 

See a listing for Something

Mikkeller Xintiandi

The Danish brewery and beer brand Mikkeller made its way to China last year, with its first location off Yanping Lu. Riding on the taproom’s success, Mikkeller – led in China by Martin Aamodt (previously of InfernoRoxie and Stone Brewing) – opened a second spot, Mikkeller Xintiandi, in the old El Luchador space.

Split across two levels, the beer bar features Danish comfort food for brunch, lunch and dinner, along with spirits, wine and champagne. 

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Chef Ramon Verano (previously of Tomatito) took over the kitchen reigns about two months back and has kicked the menu up a notch, and just this week launched a stellar new brunch offering. Get it while it’s hot!

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The brunch menu is all about comfort eats, and Chicken & Waffles (RMB68) is just that. A half circle of plush waffle is adorned with both a perfectly sunny-side-up egg and a fried-to-a-crisp chicken thigh. The boneless meat is first brined, then bathed in buttermilk before being battered in a blend of flour, semolina, cumin and chili powder, among other spices.

If you're really feeling the brunch spirit, you can also order your chicken and waffles as a stacked sandwich, where the waffle wedges become the bun, and an added layer of crunch is served in the form of crispy bacon for RMB75. 

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Like something out of the bowels of an American state fair comes a Frankenstein of a burger specifically for those just low key looking to consume a week’s worth of calories in one sitting. The MacPappi Burger (RMB120) sees a double Australian beef patty cheeseburger topped with a mound of tangy BBQ sauce-smothered shredded beef short rib, crowned with a heaping scoop of creamy AF macaroni and cheese that creates an avalanche of gooey goodness down the plate.

We are talking gluttony at its finest here, straight down the gullet. 

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For a Middle Eastern spin on the typical Avocado Toast (RMB78), a garnish of dukkah – mixed nuts, herbs and coriander and cumin seeds – is sprinkled on top of feta and olive oil mashed avocado. Two poached eggs form the middle layer, with a fresh sprouts salad bringing a summery brightness to the plate. 

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A riff on a Mackers Breakfast Muffin (RMB75), the Mikkeller version is just a wee bit more upscale, with two homemade pork breakfast sausages, melted cheese, crisp Danish Crown imported bacon and a fried egg all held together by a plush, biscuit bun. Exactly what you want out of breakfast, lunch or brunch, this Breakfast Sandwich says it all in the most humble of ways. 

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The classic Steak & Eggs (RMB165) is served atop crispy fries with a 300-gram portion of Uruguayan Wagyu beef cooked medium rare and a double hit of diner-style fried eggs. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 

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Two thick-cut brioche slices are diagonally sliced, battered and fried as the French Toast (RMB48), embellished with a scoop of Cornish clotted cream, mixed berries and a drizzle of maple syrup. 

Other delectable fare spans Beetroot Tartine, Pancakes Stack, Eggs and Toast with Foie Gras, Oreo Waffles with Ice Cream, and some smaller brunch bites that you can mix and match in sets of three for RMB98, like Breakfast Fries, Bacon Mac & Cheese and Figs & Halloumi.

See a listing for Mikkeller Xintiandi

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