Add: 570 Chang Le Road, Shanghai 长乐路570弄
Tel: +86 (21) 6426 1262
Hours: [lunch] Mon-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm; [dinner] Mon-Sun 6:30pm-10:30pm
Price: [main course] RMB165-250; [3-course lunch set] RMB130; [3-course brunch set] RMB150
Visited: March 2016
Will return: Yes
I am on a quest to visit all the restaurants in Shanghai that I feel like I should have visited but haven’t. The quest started with lunch at the Commune Social and desserts at Farine, and last week, brought me to Le Saleya, a charming little French bistro serving “cuisine familial”.
I went for brunch on a Saturday, and the terrace was filled with French expats. The waiters were half French and half Chinese, and in true French bistro fashion, the service was, shall we say, relaxed. My 3-course brunch took well over 2 hours.
Although Le Saleya offers a brunch set menu, it is brunch only in the sense that it takes place on Saturdays and Sundays. The food is exactly the same as their regular lunch menu. So don’t come here looking for French toast and eggs Benedict. The brunch set will set you back RMB130 for two courses, or RMB150 for three. A few of the dishes come at an extra. A very good deal, especially considering the price of these dishes on their à-la-carte menu.
A glass of 2012 Saint Emilion (80). Delicious, but very strong.
The bread came about 30 minutes after I sat down. Luckily I already got used to that in Paris. Warm fresh baguette? Good. Cubes of butter straight out of the fridge? Not good…
Foie Gras Mi-Cuit au Torchon (+20, 95 à-la-carte)
When I was in Paris, I learned that “au torchon” is a very traditional method of making foie gras terrine, in which a whole lobe of foie is wrapped in a towel (torchon in French) and slow-cooked in a water bath. This method eliminates the pockets of fat in the liver, and the result is an ultra-smooth terrine. And that’s exactly what Le Saleya’s version delivered.
Entrecôte de Bœuf (+35, 250 à-la-carte)
Ordering steak at a non-steakhouse in Shanghai is a tricky business. When I ask for medium-rare, more often than not I receive a steak that is closer to medium. So these days, I’ve learned to specify that I’m okay with rare to medium-rare, but I don’t want it to be over medium-rare.
Le Saleya delivered a ribeye that was pretty much rare, which I didn’t mind in the slightest. Tender, juicy, and flavorsome, with a lovely sear outside. The mashed potato was rich and buttery. While it wasn’t perfectly smooth, it had a more substantial mouth feel, which worked with the steak. The salad was mostly for show…
Fondant au Chocolat (+15, 60 à-la-carte)
The cook was absolutely perfect. Crispy shell and a super-runny, gooey center. Masterfully done! I wish every chocolate fondant I have were this good.
Three very basic French classics executed perfectly, which is quite rare in Shanghai. That’s what I’ll come back for.