Start your day by having breakfast at one of the top 4 classic breakfast spots in Shanghai. Savour Element Fresh's Big American breakfast, Mr Pancake House's French Toast Combo, Sunflour's Bacon Breakfast and Urban Soup Kitchen's Big Breakfast.
Opening nice and early, Element Fresh’s dozen branches around town all make for bright and breezy breakfast stops. While they offer a good range of healthier options, we suggest you go large with the Big American (88RMB) breakfast, which includes four eggs any style, three strips of bacon, two small sausages, French toast, diced potatoes and peppers and a side of fresh fruit. It’s a hearty, tasty fry-up, with the pleasingly eggy French toast a particular highlight, that could easily keep you full until mid-afternoon if you’ve got a busy day ahead. Add a Green Garden smoothie (38RMB small, 58RMB large) with its mix of orange, mango, banana, fresh spinach and honey if you’re after some extra nutrients.
A popular option with locals, expats, families and hung-over clubbers alike, Mr Pancake House offers breakfast round the clock, from 8am-10pm, at reasonable prices. The menu is filled with a variety of American-style offerings and as you’d expect, pancakes dominate the menu. The thick, fluffy buttermilk offerings are served eight different ways, from the relatively healthy (whole wheat, 45RMB) to the indulgent (chocolate topped, 42RMB). The waffles are even better: crisp, thick, airy and upsnicely dusted with icing sugar. Our top pick overall though is the ‘French Toast Combo’ (46RMB) which comes with two eggs fried or scrambled, a choice of two pork or chicken sausages (go for the former), golden fried potato cubes and four slabs of French toast that come topped with a layer of icing sugar, plus maple syrup on the side. Always busy at the weekends, head to their branches around town on a weekday and you’ll rarely have to wait for a table.
With a branch in both Puxi and Pudong, Sunflour has become a deservedly popular breakfast spot since the first Anfu Lu outlet opened almost three years ago. Their two simple but stylish locations offer a tantalising range of baked treats – breads, muffins and pastries in wicker baskets and beautiful cakes, tarts and macarons in chiller cabinets – using European recipes and imported ingredients. They also serve one of our favourite fry-ups in town.
The Bacon Breakfast (42RMB) sees the titular mess of crispy bacon joined by fried mushrooms, grilled tomato, two small herby pork sausages, two hunks of toasted house-made bread and a small ramekin of baked beans. Though we’d prefer they swapped out the slightly gloopy spinach leaves in favour of a slice of black pudding, it’s nonetheless a delicious start to the day.
Sunflour has various branches across town
In addition to offering some reliable delivery lunch options such as pastas and, of course, soups, Urban Soup Kitchen’s menu features two good reasons to pay them a visit at the start of your day: their fry-up and their grab-and-go breakfast deal.
Their Big Breakfast (55RMB) ticks all the right boxes with its combination of two eggs any style, two streaks of nicely crisped bacon, two juicy pork sausages, sauteed mushrooms, golden herb-crusted potatoes and whole wheat toast. It’s not exactly gourmet, but it is tasty and at this price we’re not complaining.
If that sounds a bit heavy for a weekday morning, then their ‘breakfast to-go’ deal provides a great alternative. For 20RMB you get a simple, but filling fried egg sandwich and a cup of Americano to take away. Quick, easy and cheap, this is a convenient way to gain a bit of sustenance first thing.
Both options are available from 8-10.30am Monday-Friday at Urban Soup Kitchen’s two branches in Jingan, their Lujiazui SWFC spot and their Madang Lu space at Xintiandi – all handy locations for office workers in need of a quick bite.