In the second installment of bougie AF places I get to visit when I travel with my Dad, I’ll be talking about the meal I had in a restaurant called Mr & Mrs Bund in Shanghai. It’s a concept by Chef Paul Pairet, whose other eatery in the city holds the distinction of three Michelin stars. Though Mr & Mrs Bund is not a Michelin rated restaurant, it has received a good number of accolades over the years. It even became part of ‘Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants’ in previous years.
It’s only recently that I’ve learned to see value in having “splurge meals” when I travel. I feel like I’ve been working hard enough to deserve at least one extra special meal per trip. In this instance though, I wasn’t really preparing for any fancy meals. Prior to this, I was too busy with work to even think about this business trip. But then a week before leaving for Shanghai, my Dad sent me the link to this restaurant. He told me he wanted to try this place out based on the recommendations of his friends.
I checked the reviews to find that the feedback for this restaurant is actually quite good. So I went ahead and booked a schedule for Brunch because the Dinner rate is way higher than my conscience would allow me to pay for lol. They send you a confirmation email almost immediately. I think they accept walk-ins if there are tables available, but they do prefer clients to reserve in advance.
We alighted at Nanjing East Road after that little trip to the Shanghai Starbucks Reserve Roastery, then we walked all the way to Zhongshan East Road, towards The Bund area. Mr & Mrs Bund is located on the 6th floor of the Bund 18, a luxury shopping mall filled with a handful of other high-end restaurants and bars. I forgot to snap a photo of the exterior, but it’s a neo-classical style building with columns out front.
The interiors of the restaurant are much more simplistic than I was expecting. It’s not exactly elegant, and some parts of the restaurant feel a little bare. I’s like a half-finished French-inspired dining area. I don’t know. I suppose one could say it’s more casual and less intimidating for a fine dining restaurant. However, when the servers approach you, there is no mistaking you are in one. They assist you very thoroughly and carefully; introducing each dish as they bring it to the table, and making sure your water glasses are filled all the time.
I’m pretty sure the restaurant has a very different vibe in the evening, but whatever vibe it lacks during the brunch hours, it more than makes up for it with the stunning view.
I’ve seen blogs online refer to eating at Mr & Mrs Bund as an “affordable fine dining experience”. I suppose I see where they’re coming from. You can probably pick a combination of ala carte items and end up spending about RMB 250, which is equivalent to the cheapest option on the tasting menu. A 5-course tasting menu at a fine-dining restaurant for RMB 250 per person isn’t bad at all if you think about it (less than Php 2,000). The cheapo side of me wanted to order that and be done with it, but then I saw the dishes listed there and felt they were rather ordinary based on the descriptions.
So I thought to myself: If I’m going to come to Shanghai once every 5 years, which tasting menu would I choose? Of course, the Signature one. Even if it costs nearly 500 RMB per person.
The PP Classics Tasting Menu is their mid-range set at 480 RMB per person. There are several others that go higher once the caviar gets incorporated into the dishes. Having never eaten at any of Paul Pairet’s restaurants, I had a strong urge to “size him up”, so of course there’s no better way to do that than trying out his signature dishes.
Here’s a confusing little detail for the nitpicker side of me: The menu is presented with a PER GUEST price tag, but the dishes are portioned for two people. Somehow I feel like they could’ve just priced it as “per menu” or on a “for two” basis from the get-go. To me, it reads clearer when you say that the tasting menu is “RMB 960 for two”. The “per guest” pricing could be a detail that some people overlook if they’re a little too excited, even if the waiter explains it before taking orders. That’s just my opinion though.
Anyway, the moment you are seated at your table, a waiter brings out a basket of homemade bread and some butter. The bread is fresh and quite excellent actually. Just enough crustiness on the outside, but with a gorgeous soft crumb on the inside. It’s rather tasty on its own even without any butter. It’s good enough to make me wish I had enough space in my tummy to have more! The bread is there to help fill you up in case you’re used to eating more than the small servings that make up a tasting menu. Apart from the bread, you also get a small amuse bouche of fresh tiny radish with a side of flavored butter. (Miso with sea salt?)
Once you’re all warmed up, it’s time to start with the actual tasting menu. The PP Classics Tasting Menu originally starts with the Arugula Mushroom Truffle, but it wasn’t available at the time so instead we got the Tomato Mozza Salad (100 RMB if ala carte). The tomatoes and mozzarella were absolutely fresh and delicious, coated with an excellent dressing that was a balance of sweet and tart. It did an excellent job of awakening my tastebuds and prepping it for the next dishes.
If you’re wondering whether the pricing of the two salads are at par with each other (since the other one had truffle in it), I did see from the ala carte menu that both salads are priced at 100 RMB.
The next appetizer is the Meuniere Truffle Bread (150 RMB if ala carte). It’s basically a glorified piece of toast with a truffle foam on top. This foam action is like the stuff you always see on Netflix lol. This piece of toast will go down in history as the most expensive piece of toast I have ever eaten.
One side of the toast is coated with browned butter, herbs, lemon, and some thinly sliced mushrooms. The other side of the toast maintains a crunch that provides some textural contrast. The bread never gets soggy even though it’s quite soft in the center. The flavor of the truffle is perfect—not too heavy handed that it starts tasting like gasoline, but also not too barely there.
Up next, the Jumbo Shrimp in Citrus Jar (180 RMB if ala carte). This one has a steamed jumbo shrimp infused with citrus, lemongrass, and vanilla inside a glass jar. The waiter opens the jar and allows you to enjoy the scent before he removes the shrimp and starts cutting it into four portions. The shrimp is juicy and has an almost crunchy bite to it. I love the fact that the shrimp has managed to suck in all the citrusy notes from the infusion process.
This shrimp is served with a so-called Bangkok dipping sauce that is a mixture of fish sauce and soy sauce, plus garlic and sugar. This dipping sauce was gentle enough to allow the citrusy taste of the shrimp to come through. It was so good the tiny portion I got to enjoy makes me feel sad. SO GOOD BUT SO TINY.
Now here is where you get most of your money’s worth: the main course. It’s cheekily named the Long Short Rib Teriyaki (500 RMB if ala carte), and it is served with some mashed potatoes (60 RMB if ala carte). The mashed potato was smooth and buttery; even nutty. Totally indulgent but perfect with the roasted whole rib. The rib by the way is cooked for 12 hours, then basted in a special teriyaki sauce with orange reduction. The glaze caramelizes and practically seals the meat inside.
Apart from how perfectly cooked and tender the meat is, that orange reduction is really what makes this dish outstanding. Instead of a straight up sweet teriyaki sauce, the orange flavor and scent adds a fresh citrusy sensation to the dish that makes it more interesting. You know how too much teriyaki can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming? The orange is what counters that. This was one of the best parts of the meal, hands down.
After that scrumptious hunk of meat, we get to the dessert. Called Lemon & Lemon Tart (110 RMB if ala carte), this dish is an explosion of tart, tangy, and sweet in every single bite. Sometimes you get a hit of sour too if you manage to eat the fresh citrus. It’s basically lemon curd and sorbet with vanilla Chantilly, housed inside a candied whole lemon peel. Apparently, they slow cook entire lemons for 72 hours in a sugar syrup solution. They then remove the pulp and pith in order to use that candied lemon skin as the housing for this dessert.
From the outside it looks like a normal lemon, with a piece of yummy sable added for good measure. What’s impressive is how thin that lemon skin is, needing only a little prod to reveal the party inside. I totally understand why this dessert is a popular one. Even the lemon peel was delicious. The slight natural bitterness of the peel complements the tart cream inside. As a fan of LEGIT lemon desserts, this was wholly satisfying for me. May I have another please?
There’s certainly something memorable about dining here at Mr & Mrs Bund. The thing that comes to mind when I think about this restaurant is the word VIBRANT. I find that the food, aside from being creative, is really quite vibrant. The flavors are bright and tart, maybe because almost all the dishes in this menu have a citrus element to it. When citrus is used well in any dish or dessert, I automatically become a fan. It’s especially impressive to me when the tart flavors shine even in savory dishes. That shrimp and those ribs were excellent examples of this.
The icing on the cake? Getting to dine with a view. The Shanghai from my memory is less dusty and gray than the Shanghai of now, but there’s no denying the added novelty of eating at a place where iconic landmarks are laid out before you to enjoy as well.
If you have the same philosophy as me where you try to have a splurge meal at least once in every trip, I definitely think Mr & Mrs Bund is a good choice. Whether you make the choice to have a tasting menu or just pluck out interesting dishes from the ala carte menu is up to you. The key is to be smart about it. There are so many interesting things on the menu, to be honest.
Personally, there were two main reasons why I picked a tasting menu instead of going ala carte. The first reason is that it seemed the sensible thing to do during a first visit. The second reason is because if I added up the prices of the signature dishes I might’ve ended up ordering, the tasting menus really just offer better value overall. The ala carte prices for each dish comprising the tasting menus are clearly written there so you can have a look yourself how much you “save”. Still, I won’t be surprised if you decide to go the ala carte route. I think I’ll do just that if I ever get another chance to visit Mr & Mrs Bund.
Mr & Mrs Bund
BUND 18, 6th Floor, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu,
Near Nanjing Dong Lu, Shanghai, China
Hours: Brunch- Saturday to Sunday: 11:30am to 2:30pm (last order) / Dinner- Sunday to Monday: 5:00pm to 10:30pm (last order) / Late Dinner: Thursday to Saturday: 10:30pm to 01:30am (last order)
Contact No: +86 21 6323 9898