Larder | Australian
Now that Shanghai has finally transcended the gargantuan five-star hotel brunch buffet, a bunch of tasteful newcomers to the scene are flourishing. Larder is a perfect example, offering a calm, relaxed way to read the paper and eat a well-composed bite or two on a weekend morning. Their French toast (RMB58) is like none we’ve ever eaten before, with a thick and impossibly fluffy slice of bread that soaks up the whipped egg and milk to form a consistency like an unbaked cake. It’s wonderful and alongside petite dishes of syrup, cream, berry compote and stewed apples—it is pure sweet tooth heaven.
Homies | American
For a quick and no-frills all-day breakfast fix, Homies delivers. Owned by a couple of skaters, their tiny eatery has the rustic charm of a student dive with a chalk board of deliciously diner-style food at appetizingly cheap prices. Homies’ French toast (RMB19) is a simple and heartwarming affair; it’s a couple of slices of light bread, dipped in egg, fried, dusted with cinnamon and served on a day-glow tray with a jug of maple syrup. For RMB39, upgrade to a breakfast combo which adds bacon or sausage, a couple of eggs and free-flow coffee or tea.
Madison | American
Ever the innovator, Austin Hu uses brioche to present a uniquely firm and sweet French toast (RMB56). Stuffed with banana and drizzled with syrup, berries and apple, it is a pure feast for energized eyes. It’s tremendously sweet—if you’re looking for a slice of traditional, egg-fried bread with a slice of bacon, pick something else from what is probably the most complete and established brunch menu in Shanghai. It’s no surprise that Madison’s new, larger venue on Fenyang Lu is stuffed to the rafters on weekend mornings.