Where We’re Brunching: Anokhi & Waldorf Astoria Shanghai

By Sophie Steiner, December 5, 2023

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Anokhi

Contemporary Indian eatery Anokhi is the brainchild of owner and chef Jibin Arjunan, and the posh older sister restaurant to his casual Indian and Middle Eastern restaurant, Khan Chacha.

READ MORE: Anokhi: Contemporary, Colorful & Captivating Indian Cuisine

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Meaning 'unique' in Hindi, Jibin’s goal is for every aspect of the restaurant to be a new form of discovery for guests – be it the whimsical take on classic Indian dishes, the colorful room accents, or the modern music.

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This same ethos translates to the newly revamped Nukkad Brunch, available every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 3pm.

For RMB158, guests can enjoy any combination of two of the nine traditional Indian streets snacks on offer, plus free flow pani puri – a chickpea-stuffed, hollow 'puri' cracker sphere served with a tomato-tamarind water and coriander-mint infused water for filling it up, resulting in both a literal and figurative explosion of the bright flavors that embody Indian cuisine. 

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Choose amongst classic dishes that run the gambit from Punjabi bites found in Rajasthan to South Indian breakfast to funky fusion that mixes regional Indian flavors with Western plates. 

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Beginning with the most conventional Indian dishes, the Samosa Chaat sees two savory stuffed pastries filled with masala spiced-potatoes and vegetables, all smothered in both a sweet and sour tamarind chutney, a coriander-mint chutney, Indian curd yogurt, and a smattering of crispies – bhel puri, boondi nimki, and sev puri sprinkles. 

The best way to enjoy it? Swirl it all together into one rainbow palette to savor a multitude of flavors and textures in every mouthful. 

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A popular all-day snack, especially in Delhi, textbook Chole Bhatura is served piping hot, the bubbly edges of the two deep-fried leavened breads pleasantly charred.

Use the steaming puri as a scooping mechanism to shovel as much of the cumin, coriander, turmeric and chili powder-spiced chana masala – or chickpea curry – into your mouth, finishing it with a nibble of homemade, pungently tart mango pickle. 

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Jumping next to southern India, the Milagu Masala Dosa is a common breakfast food of a griddle-fried fermented rice batter crepe encasing a blend of potato and masala-spiced veggies.

Served alongside a coconut chutney and sambar (a lentil-based vegetable stew simmered with potatoes and peas in a tamarind broth), the ideal dipping sauces for a true taste of India right here in Shanghai. 

Other popular dishes include Keema Pav – pillowy Mumbai-style ladi pav bread, minced lamb, salsa and house spices – and Aloo Paratha.

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As for some of Chef Jibin’s modern takes on traditional flavors, there’s the Goan Chorizo McMuffin – a fiery Goan chorizo and minced beef patty topped with a fried egg, slathered with sriracha aioli, atop a plush English muffin…

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… or the Amritsar ki Fish & Chips (+RMB58) – deep-fried mustard oil and masala spiced sea bass that uses Anokhi’s secret signature blend of Indian spices.

Mint aioli and black pepper kalimirch mushy peas are served on the side in place of tartare sauce, alongside spiced French fries. 

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Finish on a sweet note with the stodgy Chai Cake, dense and warmly spiced, with moist bits of dried fig blended throughout.

A snow-like dusting of powdered sugar makes the presentation apt for the festive season.

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Speaking of the holiday season, Anokhi has also launched their own Mooncake Minced Pies, a December special available for an additional RMB20 with any drink purchase, in a box of six for RMB98, or in their Christmas hampers. 

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Think dried fruits, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, all soaked in Indian brandy, folded into a buttery crust – Christmas in a bite.

And it wouldn’t be a brunch in Shanghai without some free flow drink packages – each available for two hours – spanning Soft Drinks, Juices and Lassis (RMB98), House Wines (RMB128), or Cocktails, Craft Beers & Wines (RMB188).

Anokhi, 3/F, 277 Wuxing Lu, by Jianguo Lu,  徐家汇吴兴路277号 3楼, 近建国路.


Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund

Located on the sunken garden level, Grand Brasserie at the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund offers the perfect environment for an upbeat, cheerful brunch – with a live Jazz Band to brighten the mood. 

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Inspired by the menus, ambiance and experience of the Waldorf Astoria New York in the 1910s, the Waldorf Astoria Brunch is built on seven key elements: premium cold seafood gala station; freshly shucked oysters; Lindt chocolate themed dessert room; prime selection of Parisian deli; foie gras and salad station; barbecue grill & meats; and interactive trolleys, as well as a beverage bar. 

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We recently took a deep – and we mean deep – dive into each of the aforementioned seven stations, and here’s why we’re counting down the days to return. 

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The feast begins with an epic showing of *deep breath* fresh prawns, ebi sweet shrimp, crab legs, lobster claws and lobster tails, followed by stir-fried mantis shrimp, mussels, clams, whelks, butter and ginger steamed codfish, foie gras stuffed lobster, and even steamed local hairy crabs.

Essentially, if it’s a crustacean, fish or sea creature, it’s available for the choosing. 

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Fresh cuts of sashimi – tuna belly, salmon and surf clams – are followed by an array of cold cuts – sausage, bresaola, mortadella, 5J Iberico ham – as well as cured salmon, and associated condiments.

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A parade of imported cheeses – Emmental, Swiss, brie, Manchego and aged parmesan – are accompanied by crackers, jams, pickles, brined vegetables, dried fruits and nuts. 

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There’s pastries, breads, buns and toasts with associated dips and spreads, plus a salad station with assorted vegetables as well as cold salads – like King Crab Papaya Salad, Cocoa Quinoa with Feta, Citrus Shrimp Salad with Avocado, and more. 

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And let’s not forget the display of freshly shucked oysters imported from around the globe. 

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Outside is a large grill setup roasting chicken, steak, lamb and pork sausages a la minute, along with grilled veggies.

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In addition to the buffet setup, the interactive trolley service provides a seemingly endless array of bonus dishes all throughout the brunch hours.

Everything from savory bites – like caviar adorned oysters, roasted lamb chops, beef roulade, and charred steak frites – to sweet finishes – like liquid nitrogen-made chocolate ice cream and chocolate crepes.

All of which elevate the dining experience to new heights. 

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Finally, all diners also receive a soup of the season – currently a Cocoa Bean Cream of Mushroom, a curious pairing that plays together perfectly; the mushroom’s earthy undertones augmenting the cacao’s lingering bitterness – and a choice of one New York brunch specialty. 

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These New York-inspired mains include Garlic King Crab Egg Benedict – a generous portion of shredded crab salad topped with a sous vide egg and hollandaise cream, served inside the crab’s shell; White Wine Sautéed Conch; Pan-Seared Sole Fish; Chocolate Almond Waffle; and – our personal favorite – gooey Red Bean French Toast. 

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A new collaboration this season, the Waldorf has paired up with Swiss chocolate master Lindt, creating an entire dessert room experience encompassing a whole wall made up of a chocolate 'waterfall' of soft-centered, diversely flavored chocolates coupled with a spread of chocolate-centric pastry creations designed by the team’s in-house pastry chef. 

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Think anything from chocolate cake and cocoa crème caramel to French macarons, chocolate hazelnut choux, dark chocolate rum tarts, and so much more.

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Note that the Grand Brasserie only offers their Brunch Set (RMB798 pre-booking, RMB988+ at the door) on Sundays from 12-3pm, which includes free flow food and house poured drinks from the bar. 

Grand Brasserie, Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, 2 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, by Yan'an Dong Lu 中山东一路2号,  近延安东路.


[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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