2 New Brunches: Zup Pizza Bar & PHÉNIX at The PuLi Hotel and Spa

By Sophie Steiner, May 6, 2023

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Zup Pizza Bar 

While pizza is the name of the game at Shanghai’s favorite tavern-style pizza joint Zup, brunch is no afterthought, with sweet and savory western brunch classics. And – of course – breakfast pizzas. 

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After a soft launch a few weeks ago, the brunch menu is now fully up and running, featuring classics like the B-Fast Sammie (RMB79) featuring plush scrambled eggs, housemade sausage patty loaded with fresh herbs, whipped edamame for that silky mouthfeel, an acidic pop from roughly chopped giardiniera, and melted American cheese – because hell yeah, melty cheese FTW! – all atop a baked-fresh-daily milk bun.

Bonus: there’s a side of extra crispy smashed potatoes.

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Salmon is cured for 36 hours in a sea salt, sugar, dill and vodka blend before being cold smoked for an hour and sliced atop the Smoked Salmon Potato Latkes (RMB108).

The base is an amalgamation of shoestring potatoes, onions and a whole-lotta scallions, fried to a rosti-like crisp, resulting in a cross between a potato latke and a Shanghainese scallion oil pancake.

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Finished with a fat dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkling of red onion, capers and dill, it’s a bite worth getting out of bed for.

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Crunchy yet airy buttermilk waffles are fluffy, and dribbled with a sticky banana foster sauce – cinnamon, butter and rum – plus scorched bananas, roasted pecans and a tower of whipped cream as the Ms. Foster (RMB88).

You can swap out for fresh berry compote instead if you so choose – but c’mon, buttery, sugary bananas... you can’t get more sweet eats comfort than that.

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The Country Potatoes (RMB88) see crispy AF potatoes – ones that are first par-boiled then tossed around to form a starchy slurry of sorts that results in a crackly coating yet creamy interior when twice fried.

They are then mixed with house sausage, a trio of red, yellow and green bell peppers sauteed with onions, a poached egg, sour cream, pico de gallo, salsa verde and cilantro for a Tex-Mex style plate that’s ideal for sharing. 

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The coveted spot as Shanghai’s favorite burger remains under much contention, but add Zup’s Double Smash Burger (RMB88) to the list of contenders.

A US Prime double-patty meat ‘hash brown’ is layered with gooey American cheese, bread and butter pickles and special sauce mounted on a homemade milk bun.

But take note: it’s only available in limited quantities on Wednesdays or on weekends for brunch, so plan your weekly meat consumption schedule accordingly.

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Obviously, Zup is offering a standout take on a brunch pizza, and the Rise N’ Shine (RMB128) has us counting down the hours until the weekend begins (even more so than usual).

The real expertise comes in with their (should be) patented Two-Step Egg Process: It’s All About the Swirl. Instead of the conventional “crack an egg on the pie” method, Zup is getting real technical with it so everyone gets a taste of that egg action. 

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They start with an egg swirl pre-bake; when that is 90% cooked, they perform a second egg-swirl on top and pop it back in the oven for just 15 seconds.

The residual heat cooks the egg just the way we like – nice and gooey, so each bite results in a duo of egg textures.

All that – coupled with house breakfast sausage, mashed potatoes, scallions, salsa verde and a house ranch drizzle – make for the most epic breakfast pizza in town.

DSC08540.jpgClam Bam Thank U Maam! (RMB138)) Dongbei little neck clams, roasted garlic, Parmigiano Reggiano, parsley, lemon, Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

High-grade Japanese matcha powder is blended into mascarpone – the creamy whip that holds together lady fingers soaked in a rum and Kahlua – as the Italy-meets-Japan hybrid sweet treat, Matchamisu (RMB48).

The usually saccharine mouthful is tamed by an earthy dusting of bitter matcha. 

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The regular full menu is also available during brunch as well for those not in the breakfast-y spirit. But honestly, you’re missing out by passing up on these weekend-only showstoppers. 

Zup Pizza Bar, 2/F, 291 Fumin Lu, by Donghu Lu 地址  富民路291号2楼,近东湖路.


PHÉNIX

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Brunch at the Puli’s PHÉNIX goes for RMB688, which includes: free flow small plates – of which there are nine to choose from; assorted breads and pastries; a middle course; a main course; a dessert trolley; and an option to add on three cheese selections from the handcrafted walnut wood table for a supplementary RMB100 per guest.

Let’s take a look at each of these brunch sections in more detail.

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Free flow small plates are light, refreshing, and seafood-leaning, with offerings like lime and olive oil-steamed Tiger Prawns, sprinkled with broccoli top ruffage, steeped in a Spanish almond soup-inspired dressing, made from homemade pecan milk. 

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Sliced “Ikejime” Fujian Hamachi is bathed in a Peruvian-style tiger’s milk and dill oil sauce, accented by a lashing of avocado crema and herbaceous kefir lime leaf shavings. 

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Pleats of pudgy Hokkaido Scallops are perfumed by Balinese vanilla essence, finished with fermented tree tomato sauce, chopped endive and fresh coriander. 

DSC09495.jpgVitello Tonnato – capers, croutons, Comte cheese, Image by Sophie Steiner/That’s

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A signature street snack from Cote de Azure’s Nice, the thin Pissaldière onion tart is topped with white anchovies and Coquillo Niçoise olives – soft, with a buttery finish.

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Plump truffled Burrata is flecked with greenery – chives, marjoram and wild rucola.

When pierced, it oozes open, revealing its stretchy stracciatella insides – pulled shreds of mozzarella soaked in heavy cream – the choicest part of the “Queen of Italian Cheeses.” 

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Asparagus Soup, Image by Sophie Steiner/That’s

Moving onto the middle course, diners can pick amongst selections like...

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Norwegian Langoustine, brushed with langoustine oil and egg yolk, before being poached in butter. Prepared separately, the claw meat is grilled over lychee wood, and finished with grated macadamia nuts. 

Alternating puddles of zippy goji gooseberry sauce and herbaceous lettuce, capers and fresh herb reduction add earth tone hues and spring flavors.

Note: this dish will be available after May 6 as an a la carte item, not included in the brunch set.

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A confit organic Egg Yolk is adorned with a luscious sheathing of Japanese sea urchin, while a velvety base of potato and mascarpone cheese is spiced with Sarawak pepper – bold in flavor, blossoming into woody notes of fresh fruit, citrus and cacao.

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Shandong Squid is grilled over lychee wood fire with lime zest, interspersed with chubby, whorled chitarra gnocchi, dollops of homemade artichoke hollandaise and parsley foam. 

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Tart green grapes, soft turnips, and purple perilla surround Dalian Turbot, enhanced with a fish head jus – made from the fish's bones, vegetables, French white wine and dry Italian vermouth. 

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Jiangsu Suckling Pig is marinated in paprika, sugar, and salt, then slow-cooked for 36 hours, resulting in a glassy shell of crisp skin that encases pleated, fat-laden flesh below.

The pork is presented alongside a Jerusalem artichoke purée, mustard seed pickles, an apicius sauce (of honey, vinegar, soy sauce, pork jus and spices reduced into a thick glaze), and grilled shansu – or bird’s nest fern – with crunchy leaves and an okra-like sticky stem. 

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The famed cheese trolley has made its way onto PHÉNIX’s brunch, lunch and dinner menu, with an expansive spread of more than 15 imported cheeses.

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Guests can conclude their meal – or take a savory break before sweets – with Les Fromages Servis au Plateau (RMB 100/person for 3 choices) including candied nuts, brandied cherries and honey. 

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Dessert selections span homemade brittle macarons, mille-feuille, chocolate truffles, fruit tarts, and the unmissable Paris-Brest et Retour – effortlessly light puff choux piped with praline cream and embossed with caramelized Piedmont hazelnuts. 

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Upgrade your brunch with free flow white and red wine for RMB588 a person or Philipponnat Champagne for RMB999 (starting price), available every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2.30pm. 

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*Prices for PHÉNIX are subject to 10% service charge and applicable VAT. 

PHÉNIX, 2/F, 1 Changde Lu, by Yanan Zhong Lu 常德路1号2楼, 近延安中路.


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[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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