Add: 1414 Middle Huai Hai Road, Shanghai 淮海中路1414号
Tel: +86 (21) 6404 0025
Price: [sandwich] RMB55-65; [sweets] RMB15-30; [drinks] 15-50
Visited: July 2016
Will return: Definitely
When the beloved Madison closed late last year, many a foodie bemoaned the loss of one of the most legit brunch spots in Shanghai (anyone else dreaming of pig trotter Benedicts and duck fat fries?) After months of pop-ups and promises of a new place “coming soon,” Chef Austin Hu is finally back with a vengeance with his new deli Madison Kitchen. Unlike the large open space at Madison, Madison Kitchen is a truly tiny shop, offering only nine bar stools facing the busy Huai Hai road, and some of the best sandwiches in town.
The concise menu offers six classic sandwiches – think grilled cheese, roast beef, egg salad, tuna melt, etc. But with some Austin Hu magic, these classics are far from boring. The grilled cheese, for instance, is stuffed with kimchi and Cola ham. Now tell me your mouth isn’t watering.
But given the crazy heat lately, I decided to forego the grilled cheese in favor of something lighter on both my visits. The Gentleman Caller (65; half shown) had a generous serving of roast beef – all pink, moist, and tender – sandwiched between deliciously crusty bread, along with pickled onions, fresh tomatoes and lettuce, and a jolt of horseradish cream.
Not to be outdone, the Green Eggs and Ham (55; half shown) was a wonderful and hearty balance of creamy egg salad, vibrant pesto, salty cola-smoked ham, fresh, juicy tomato, and crunchy lettuce. And the quality of the roll impressed me just as much as it did on my first visit.
It is worth noting that everything in these sandwiches – from the bread to the smoked meats – is made in house.
Aside from scrumptious sandwiches, Madison Kitchen also serves some pretty killer cookies and other sweets, all displayed enticingly on the counter.
The Bacon Chocolate Cookie (30) was moist and rich with chunks of bacon running through the dough. The balance between sweet and salty was absolutely on the money. This is how you do bacon desserts (watch and learn, The Cannery).
The Peanut Butter and Almond Cookie (30) was also quite delicious, but paled in comparison with gloriousness of the bacon chocolate one. Dotted with a satisfying amount of almonds, peanuts, and macadamia nuts, the dough itself was a bit less peanut-y than I’d hoped. But maybe that’s only because I’m a hardcore peanut butter lover.
A short list of drinks (15-50) are offered, including iced tea, lemonade, beer, and coffee, as wells as jars of jams and pickles (45-58) to take away.
It can take a few minutes for the friendly staff to put together your order. But the store, though tiny, has plenty of interesting details to occupy your attention.
And if all else fails, you could always pass the time reading Noma’s cookbook.