Tag Archives: food

Another August Birthday – Sunday Brunch at Westin, Shanghai

The end of August is my birthday.  Not a major number for a party, but another year is always a good excuse to have a bit of a celebration!  As the Sunday Brunch scene is so popular and so good in Shanghai, we booked a table at the number 1 rated spot – the Westin.  Not only was the food excellent, but the entertainment made this a real experience.

Family by the beautiful glass sculpture in the Westin Lobby

Brunch is set up in the main lobby level.  We had an excellent table with a great view of the balcony where an orchestra serenaded us before a couple of opera singers joined them.  After this musical delight, there were some Chinese drummers, followed by an acrobatic/gymnastic display and then a tango dance performance.  All throughout lunch, a Clown wandered around the tables making balloon animals.

Glass Centerpiece and Orchestra on Balcony

Glass Centerpiece and Orchestra on Balcony

The gymnastic display

The gymnastic/acrobatic display

More entertainment - the Clown made Isabelle a balloon heart

More entertainment – the Clown made Isabelle a balloon heart

We didn’t find out until half way through our Brunch that the Westin offers a Kids Club.  We checked it out after our Brunch and it looked like fun if you wanted to drop your kids off for more of an adult experience (especially good if there is a large group).  This clown was visiting all the tables with kids and making balloon sculptures.  Isabelle got a heart with a teddy bear and Oliver got a sword.  Even Owen got into the action:

No words needed!

No words needed!

Oliver got a sword

Oliver got a sword

There are food stations galore – lobster, crab, steak, salad, caviar, oysters, pasta, carvery meats, sushi.  The cuisine is from all around the world and is all delicious.  It all comes with free flowing Veuve Clicquot Champagne.  The cocktail options are also very varied – I particularly liked the Bloody Mary bar – pour your own vodka and then mix with whatever you fancy!  I stuck with the Champagne – it was my birthday!   The dessert options are out of this world with a chocolate lovers paradise, crepe station, many unusual flavoured ice cream, sorbet and gelato, plus the chef’s creations of the day.

Our reservation was for 12 noon and we did not leave until after 3.00pm.  The kids were not bored and I thoroughly enjoyed my birthday treat.  We will definitely be back here again!

Just 1 of the Dessert Stations (ice cream, sorbets and specialities)

Just 1 of the Dessert Stations (ice cream, sorbets and specialities)

The Crepe Station

The Crepe Station

A beautiful display of fruit

A beautiful display of fruit

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate :-)

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate 🙂

My 2 gorgeous children and me.

My 2 gorgeous children and me.

Getting a smackeroo from my lovely little boy!

Getting a smackeroo from my lovely little boy!

Silly faces from my lovely little girl

Silly faces from my lovely little girl

A perfect day out.  :-)

A perfect day out. 🙂

Sunday Brunch at Shangri-La

The Sunday before we were to be separated for the summer, we decided to treat ourselves to brunch at another popular spot in Shanghai – the Yi Cafe at the Shangri-La hotel on the Bund.

What a treat!  10 different food stations with open kitchens, chocolate fountains, noodles and sashimi in a rainbow of colours.  Flavours from all over the world that is all freshly prepared and in many cases you can see them cooking in front of you.   We had a great table by the sushi station – the only thing separating us was a huge fish tank filled with colourful tropical fish and of course, the kids thought that was great!

This is one of the few places in Shanghai that serves Mexican, so it was a real treat to see a chef from Mexico City that made fresh, yummy guacamole.   Isabelle thought it was yummy and went back for 2nd’s of that!  There was also a fabulous Indian station with an authentic tandoor oven, fresh naan and chicken tikka.  Both kids loved the noodles that were being made by hand in front of our eyes and in the blink of an eye – what a skill to be able to do that at lightening speed!

The food was fantastic, the service was fantastic and the whole experience was fantastic!  It was great to have attentive servers that ensured our glasses were always full, without being intrusive.  They all spoke excellent English and made a fuss over the kids – a guarantee of a tip!

Saving the best for last – the Dessert Station was AWESOME!  All of us were over-whelmed with the choice, but had to go back for 2nd’s here.  At the end of the meal, Owen filled little boxes with sweeties at the candy station.  There was a lady hand-making marzipan figures – again, another skill.  The only down side here was the amount of people being so greedy and filling so many boxes with the free candy.

This is one place that we will be returning to.  A 3 hour brunch experience that we all enjoyed.

Fab table by the Fish Tank!

Fab table by the Fish Tank!

All of the beautiful coloured noodles are made by hand......

All of the beautiful coloured noodles are made by hand……

The Tandoor Oven in the Indian Section

The Tandoor Oven in the Indian Section

One side of the the Seafood Station

One side of the the Seafood Station

Another view of the Seafood Station

Another view of the Seafood Station

The kids were mesmerized by the dry ice at the Seafood station

The kids were mesmerized by the dry ice at the Seafood station

The Marzipan Lady - wonderful creations.....

The Marzipan Lady – wonderful creations…..

Isabelle & Oliver LOVED the Candy Station!

Isabelle & Oliver LOVED the Candy Station!

Kids (!!) at the Dessert Station!  Chocolate Fountain, here we come.....

Kids (!!) at the Dessert Station! Chocolate Fountain, here we come…..

Chocolate Fountain - milk and white, with marshmallows and fruit to dip with.

Chocolate Fountain – milk and white, with marshmallows and fruit to dip with.

"I can squash your nose, Daddy"

“I can squash your nose, Daddy”

We Love you Daddy - You are the Best!!

We Love you Daddy – You are the Best!!

More interesting shopping

Owen took this photo on a recent shopping trip.  The children’s paddling pool is in the middle of the fish section, filled with fresh fish, turtles and frogs.  The woman sitting next to the pool was catching fish with her bare hands.  Fresh fish for dinner has a different meaning here!

Fish, frog or turtle for dinner?

Fish, frog or turtle for dinner?

Stupid and stupider

A loud scream from the kitchen had me running in to see that Owen needed ice for his hand.  He had been cooking some meat by starting it in the frying pan, then putting it in the oven to finish off.  Of course, it was now back on hob and what do you usually do when you want to move a frying pan?  You pick it up!

I quickly filled the bowl with ice to cool his burning hand down and then take over preparing dinner.  Owen had just finished telling me what he had done with the extremely hot frying pan and handle.  I am thinking that this was a really stupid thing he had done as he had just used the oven glove to take it out of the oven.

He tells me that the meat is ready (his hand is still in the bowl).  What do I do?  I pick up the frying pan and burn MY hand!!!!  What a pair.  Stupid and stupider for sure.  We both spend the evening clutching ice wrapped in kitchen towel and then spraying after-sun lotion to cool our burning palms.  I cannot believe that we both did exactly the same idiotic action – I am even more amazed at my own stupidity after just seeing Owen do it.

20th Wedding Anniversary – night out at Mr & Mrs Bund

June 6th was Owen and I’s 20th Wedding Anniversary.  Quite a shock as I don’t feel old enough to be married that long!  What a ride it has been – lots of adventures, memories, travel, laughs, ups (many), downs (just a few) and all of it shared with a wonderful man.  We have 2 fabulous children that are the light of my life and the continuing best accomplishment of our marriage and my life.

Friday night was our official celebration.  It was also our first out without the kids since we arrived in China.  We have found a great babysitter so the kids were left in safe hands.  We went to Mr & Mrs Bund in downtown Shanghai.  The restaurant overlooks the fantastic skyline which is brilliantly lit up at night.  It reminded us both of 2 Urban Licks in Atlanta, very open, open kitchen and similar vibe.  They make a big deal out of you making the most of their menu, your way, so that is exactly what we did.  Owen started the evening off with a cocktail – an unusual margarita which was delicious.  We shared seared scallops with ginger and lime, and a huge tiger shrimp served in a glass jar with citrus.  The scallops were quite exquisite – a perfect combination of flavours.  The shrimp’s presentation was very original and the infusion of the citrus peel and juices made this dish.   Following this, Owen and I shared a huge Wagyu Ribeye Steak which was FANTASTIC.  I have never eaten steak that literally melts in your mouth.  We chose dauphanoise potatoes that were so finely sliced and mixed with brie and proscuitto – wonderful.  Steamed garlic spinach and a herb salad completed this course.

Wagyu Ribeye Steak - fantastic!

Wagyu Ribeye Steak – fantastic!

The menu was so impressive, we were spoilt for choice.  I felt full after finishing the steak, but was determined to have dessert!  Owen choose Tart Tatin and I had their signature Lemon and Lemon.  This is a time consuming dish to prepare as the lemon is cooked whole in sugar for 3 days.  It is then scooped out and filled with lemon sorbet, lemon curd and vanilla chantilly cream.  I was not sure about my choice when I was presented with a whole lemon on the plate, but once I had cut into the lemon and taken my first bite, I had to resist the urge to stuff the whole thing in my mouth!!

Lemon Dessert

Lemon Dessert

Inside the Lemon & Lemon Dessert

Inside the Lemon & Lemon Dessert

To say it was a 5 Star meal is under-rating our experience.  It was all super yummy!  The service was great and it was an all round wonderful night out.  Even the toilets had candelabra in them!  I loved the fact that kitchen was open and you could see all the chefs busily preparing the delicious food.

Fancy Toilets!  Love the Candelabra!

Fancy Toilets! Love the Candelabra!

Mr & Mrs Bund's open kitchen and very busy.....

Mr & Mrs Bund’s open kitchen and very busy…..

After dinner, Owen and I walked along the river front and admired the lights – at least until 11.00pm when they were all switched off!  We passed a British shaped postbox painted green, obviously a hang-over from British days in the early 20th century:

Almost like home!

Almost like home!

The Bund is the corner turn of the Huangpu River in Shanghai.  One side is the modern skyscraper buildings and the heart of the Financial district.  The other side (where we ate) is the older European influenced district with many original buildings in an old British colonial style.  There is even a mini replica of Big Ben!

Beautifully lit up (at least until 11pm)

Beautifully lit up (at least until 11pm)

The skyline is obscured in this photo due to the smog!  You cannot see the tallest building – the Bottle Opener, because of the pollution.  It has been especially humid in the last few days, so I do not think we will be seeing clear skies for a while.

A smog covered skyline.

A smog covered skyline.

The highest restaurant in the world

Outside the "Bottle Opener"

Outside the “Bottle Opener”

Today we went to the “Bottle Opener” building which is the tallest building in Shanghai, and has the Park Hyatt hotel on floors 79 to 93.  It was Lobster Brunch day for us on floor 91. We had a table by the window and had a fabulous view across Shanghai and the Bund.

The elevator ride up did not take as long as I thought it would, but all of our ears “popped” on the way up!

Our reservation was for noon and we did not leave until 2.30!  It was quite the experience.

"Lobster Brunch" Menu

“Lobster Brunch” Menu

Not only do you select items from the menu, but they also have a cold buffet set up with meats, salads and smoked salmon, and a dessert buffet.  We all started with the dressed crab (special plates for the kids) – it was fabulous.  Then Isabelle, Oliver and I had the grilled lobster, while Owen had the Wok Fried Lobster – all delicious.  We both had the poached egg, the kids moved onto the cold buffet at this point.  Owen and the kids had lobster ravioli and I had lobster bisque.  We were all feeling completely stuffed atthis point, but HAD to have dessert.  All of us loaded our plates with selections from the dessert bar!  All of this, and free flowing Taittinger champagne!

Dressed crab to start

Dressed crab to start

After complaining about the low tech “squat” toilets, I couldn’t resist getting a photo of the high tech “posh” toilet in the restaurant at the Park Hyatt:

High tech toilet at the "Bottle Opener"

High tech toilet at the “Bottle Opener”

Poor Isabelle had no idea what all the buttons did and what to push to just flush!  I did not experiment with any of the other buttons!!!!!

Great views from the restaurant – we all loved the telescopes up there too.  This will not be the tallest building for much longer – Shanghai is now building a taller one.

Dressed crab

Dressed crab

Grilled lobster - delicious

Kids with one of the views from our Brunch

Kids with one of the views from our Brunch

Looking down on the Jinmao Tower and the Oriental Pearl Tower

Looking down on the Jinmao Tower and the Oriental Pearl Tower

Checking out the view through the telescope

Checking out the view through the telescope

Another wonderful view

Another wonderful view