The results of the 2012 Shanghai expat magazine awards are in, and new restaurant Cuivre cleaned up: Best Newcomer and Best French as well as the coveted Restaurant of the Year. It also made the latest Best Brunch list so clearly we had to give it a go. Cuivre features a good-value brunch set at 188 RMB for three courses plus a non-alcoholic drink of your choice. The menu is presented on an iPad with separate pages for cold, hot and egg dishes, pastries and desserts. Our server explained that we could choose any reasonable combination of three dishes (i.e. one person couldn’t order two steaks – we asked). Eggs won the day, with the Eggs Benedict a crowd favorite for its velvety smooth and lemony hollandaise (though it’s technically a Florentine as the ham is replaced with spinach). I also swooned over the Quiche Lorraine, filled as it was with smokey-sweet caramelized onions and bits of bacon. Hubby must have loved the creamy scrambled eggs with zesty homemade sausage because he finished them before I could take a bite.
Cuivre’s very modern take on the Croque Monsieur had the bechamel sauce inside the sandwich rather than poured over the top. This caused the sauce to thicken up and the delicate flavor was drowned out by the oozing cheese. It tasted great but I did miss the depth of flavor that a good bechamel can bring to the party. Sometimes traditional is better! The well-dressed salad was another hit with its spoonfuls of tangy goat cheese and hunks of roasted chicken, though I wish the skin and fat had been removed. I also didn’t find any of the promised avocado but I could look past that thanks to the fabulous goat cheese. I enjoyed a chocolate croissant with my tea after the meal and found the giant pastry flaky, buttery and full of rich, dark chocolate. Next time I’ll order a basket for the table!
The visually appealing interior is decked with rustic pale woods and funky light fixtures, with one all-glass wall providing ample natural lighting and a view of the busy street. A long, deep booth lines this wall and lends a homey vibe to the space. Every table was full during our visit so reservations are essential.
Cuivre Address: 1502 Huaihai Zhong Lu, Xuhui, Shanghai, China Pricing: 3-course brunch set is 188 RMB (about 30 USD); you can also order a la carte