The Commune Social
Add: 511 Jiang Ning Road, Shanghai 江宁路511号
Tel: +86 (21) 6047 7638 (no reservations)
Hours: [lunch] Tue-Fri 12:00pm-2:30pm; [brunch] Sat-Sun 12:00pm-3:00pm; [dinner] Tue-Sat 6:00pm-10:30pm
Price: [3-course lunch set] RMB178; [à-la-carte] RMB200-300
Visited: February 2016
Will return: Definitely
– See my second visit for more dishes! –
Chef Jason Atherton’s Table No. 1 is one of my favorite restaurants in Shanghai, but I only just got around to visiting his more recent and more well-known establishment in Shanghai last month. The Commune Social is a “Tapas, Dessert and Cocktail bar” located at the Design Republic Design Commune in Jing An District. Chef Scott Melvin, who previously led the kitchens at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze and Maze Grill in London, headed Table No. 1 before moving on to open the Commune Social. Both restaurants serve delicious food that is complex but effortless.
Though served tapas-style, the dishes at the Commune Social are more modern and elaborate than those found at traditional tapas bars. Some of the dishes – such as the much-acclaimed pork and foie gras burgers – come from the menu at Chef Atherton’s 22 Ships in Hong Kong.
For lunch, you can choose 3 courses from among 8 or 9 options (none of which are on the regular menu) for RMB178. Or you can go à-la-carte, which is what I did. I was really looking forward to trying Baked Bone Marrow, Gentleman’s Relish and Onion Jam – another dish plucked straight from the menu at 22 Ships – but it was no longer offered 😦 Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the dishes I did order.
Spanish Breakfast, Chorizo and Potatoes (68)
Creamy potato foam, buttery roasted potatoes, rich and slightly runny egg yolk, smokey crispy chorizo, tangy tomato salsa… need I say more?
Seared Veal Tongue, BBQ Zucchini, Sage, Caper Butter (98)
The veal tongue literally cut like butter. The caper butter and apple matchsticks really brightened the dish. So glad I didn’t need to share this with anyone.
Complimentary Frozen Popcorn with a delicious blond caramel. See the liquid nitrogen flowing over my notebook? No? Ok.
What’s a bar seat without some action? Plus, more liquid nitrogen used to freeze these berry drupelets. And no, you weren’t supposed to see the liquid nitrogen this time.
Peanut Ice Cream, Red Fruit, Salted Peanut Caramel (62)
My absolute favorite dessert at Table No. 1 is “Candy Bar”, a banana mousse with a stunning miso peanut crunch. So I couldn’t resist ordering this dessert as soon I as saw the word “peanut”. Sadly, the flavor profiles were very different. I hoped this would be rich and peanut-y, but it turned out to be more light and fruity. I usually prefer richer desserts, but if you like red fruits, this might be the dessert for you.
Finally, a little take-home gift: the seasoned flour used in their salt and pepper squid dish, with black pepper, potato flour, salt, and shichimi pepper.
I know it says “just add squid”, but squids are rather hard to come by where I live, so I added prawns instead, and it was delicious! I literally just coated the prawns in the dry flour and shallow-fried them. If you want a crispier shell, you can always whisk in a touch of milk to create a batter.