Spring stays only a short time in the city — so embrace it while it lasts.
Now is the best time to enjoy a plate of scrambled eggs on toast outside in the spring breeze with warm sunshine on your back.
An alfresco brunch is also a great way to catch up with friends and family in a fun and casual environment.
Brunch items usually include egg dishes, vegetables, grilled meat and fruit. From comfort foods like French toast and pancakes to sizzling steak and yogurt parfaits, it’s a most versatile meal — able to offer something to meet most tastes.
Many restaurants and cafes offer weekend brunch menus and this week iDEAL has selected a few locations for a lazy get-together on the first warm days of spring.
Element Fresh has a dozen locations in Shanghai, and at Shanghai Center a balcony on the second floor overlooking Nanjing Road is the perfect brunch spot.
Both healthy and hearty, the generous brunch sets come with coffee, tea or fresh juice as well as fresh fruit.
The “Big American” includes four eggs in any style, strips of bacon, sausages, French toast and potatoes, while the “Cowboy” set has omelet, pan-fried steak, toast and potatoes.
A lighter choice is the “Healthy Start,” featuring egg white omelet cooked with broccoli, tomato, red pepper onion and fresh herbs. This is served with brown toast, yogurt with fresh fruit and a glass of juice.
Average per person: the brunch set price varies from 62 to 98 yuan (US$10 to 15), a la carte average is around 120 yuan per person.
Address: Retail 112, Shanghai Center, 1376 Nanjing Rd W.
Located in the Réel Mall, this trattoria opened by Aussie chef Craig Willis. Henkes has a spacious outdoor patio that can accommodate 60 to 80 people.
The brunch menu is served on weekends, with traditional egg dishes like egg benedict, smoked salmon omelet, breakfast pizza and fried eggs served with bacon, sausage, roast tomato and baked beans.
From the a la carte menu, the half-half pizzas are recommended — the smoked salmon topping is especially yummy.
Average per person: 180 yuan (US$29)
Address: 1/F, Réel Mall, 1601 Nanjing Rd W.
Hana & Dolce
A small Japanese style boutique cafe in Xintiandi, Hana & Dolce has a small courtyard that can accommodate a dozen diners.
Right now is the peach blossom season, and you can find the fresh flowers decorating the cafe. The specialty brunch dish is pancakes served in skillets with plentiful toppings — savory selections such as prosciutto and cheese or onion, egg and bacon, as well as sweet ones like banana chocolate and caramel apple.
It also has a wide selection of homemade cupcakes, including cherry blossom matcha, raspberry and strawberry black tea. The spring menu also has a few new desserts.
Feline fans will be delighted to know that two friendly cats reside here.
Average per person: 45 yuan (US$7)
Address: 414 Zizhong Rd
KABB Bistro Bar
For more than a decade, KABB in Xintiandi has remained one of the most popular brunch restaurants in Shanghai.
There are plenty of tables outside while a small patio on the second floor can accommodate two or three further tables.
The weekend brunch offers traditional dishes like smoked salmon eggs benedict and feta and spinach omelet, as well as pasta and salads.
The classic chicken feta pasta sees penne tossed with grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, green beans and pesto.
KABB also changes its menu seasonally. A new dish is baked cod and artichoke salad with apple vinegar dressing — a light appetizer perfect for spring.
To be a little more adventurous, try the Turkish pizza, with cucumber yogurt to balances the spiciness.
The drinks menu features three new spring cocktails: cherry blossom, cucumber mint gimlet and Lorie kiss.
Average per person: 150 yuan (US$24)
Address: North Block House 5, Lane 181 Taicang Rd
La Maison Gourmande
A French family restaurant on Anfu Road, La Maison Gourmande is a chic and elegant establishment with a spacious garden.
Located in the former French concession, the indoor decor is simple, bright and friendly, and the charming outdoor patio is perfect for hanging out with friends on a sunny day.
It offers a homely feels with great service, and brunch is served from 11:30am to 5pm on weekends. The menu includes at least three small portion starters, two main dishes and assorted desserts.
The menu also changes every week.
From the a la carte menu, smoked salmon is a popular starter, while the chocolate cake has proved a favorite with many customers.
Average per person: the brunch set is priced at 246 yuan (US$39). Beverages are ordered separately.