Second Helpings: Springtime Brunching

We might have already mentioned this a few times, but spring is officially here! We decided to revisit two of our favourite brunch destinations, and check out their new season’s menus. These two brunching stalwarts are neighbours in the Rockbund complex. Both are equally unique, yet each offer a very different feel and fare. We will leave the ever-important Sunday brunch reservation in your capable hands...

Light & Salt

A dining room, bookshop, bar and creative space all rolled into one
Where: 6/F, 133 Yuanmingyuan Lu, near Beijing Dong Lu. Tel: 6361 1086. Web:
Why: Because we fall in love with the roasted cod fish each and every season

Light & Salt's new a la carte brunch menu brings together all of the most important elements of brunch – eggs, carbohydrates, meat and sweet treats. However, it also goes much further with delicate gastronomic delights such as ginger cured salmon sashimi (RMB 68), which was incredibly light and refreshing on the palate, or decadent big plates such as twice cooked pork ribs (RMB 168), served with apple chutney and homemade kimchi salad.

Eggs have a dedicated section on the a la carte menu, as they should do for an occasion such as this. We plumped for the eggs benedict (RMB 88) and our perfectly wobbly eggs were served on a crumbly corn muffin, grilled asparagus and topped with XO hollandaise sauce – the big daddy of fusion brunch dishes.

The showstopper for us, however (being diehard Light & Salt cod fish fans - in all its many varieties throughout the season), was the roasted cod with miso rice (RMB 188). We don’t know how it's roasted to perfection every time, but keep on doing what you're doing.

The pièce de résistance of the brunch was the fried cronut (RMB 58) with peanut butter and fresh berries. The dish exemplifies the beauty of crossing the best parts of a croissant and a donut to make this tasty and sinful hybrid. A must-try.

Light & Salt will once again open up their terrace this spring, so make sure you make a reservation outside to enjoy views over Rockbund and out towards Lujiazui.


8 ½ Otto E Mezzo Bombana

A sophisticated, elegant and contemporary Italian restaurant
Where: 6-7/F, 169 Yuanmingyuan Lu, near Beijing Dong Lu. Tel: 6087 2890. Web:
Why: To sample one of the regional brunch menus, which will change every two months

8½ Otto E Mezzo Bombana takes its guests on a tour of regional Italian cuisine every Sunday brunch. The restaurant started strong in the northern regions of the country during the cooler weather, and will be making its way slowly down to Sicily in time for the hot Shanghai summer.

This month, it’s the turn of the Lombardy Regional Brunch. With Milan as its capital, Lombardy is one of the most important areas in central Italy. The main characteristics of the area’s traditional dishes are long cooking processes and ingredients such as rice, polenta, fresh stuffed pasta and the use of butter and lard rather than olive oil; hearty and heavy fare indeed. The four course set menu is priced at RMB 458 + 10% including coffee and tea with a kid’s menu available at RMB 138 + 10% (kids under six eat for free). The 8 ½ team of sommeliers and bartenders can also recommend excellent wine pairings for each course, as well as cocktails at a promotional price. Therefore putting the option of a boozy brunch firmly on the table.

In the sophisticated surroundings of the upmarket restaurant, with attentive waitstaff catering to your every whim, it is easy to get caught up in the dramatic nature of proceedings. We were started on a classic selection of antipasti, which included home-cured duck breast prosciutto with field salad, balsamico glazed eel with pickled vegetables and traditional “sciats" cheese fritters. Next up was a Mantova style homemade ravioli, made from egg pasta and filled with a rich and slightly sweet mixture of pumpkin, mascarpone, butter, sage and parmesan cheese. For our meat course, we were treated to a Milanese style breaded veal tenderloin, accompanied by an aromatic cheese fondue and seasonal salad. For dessert, we were offered a trio of cakes – sbrisolona cake with moscato sabayon, almond and honey torrone cremonese parfait and traditional panettone with crème anglaise.

Brunch here for homestyle Italian cooking in a beautiful environment with a chic interior, refined ambiance and views over the Bund and towards Lujiazui. Splurge out one weekend and experience the very best in locally themed Italian food. The restaurant will also be opening its vast seventh floor terrace in the coming months, so make sure to visit then.