Madison (3 Fenyang Rd.) has been on my radar for a few years now and they always win awards for the best brunch in Shanghai. So when the wonderful and talented designer Han Feng invited me to brunch and let me pick the place, I knew exactly where to go.
Madison opens at 11am and I am so glad I made reservations. Walk-ins were promptly told that the entire restaurant was booked and only bar seating was available! Chef Austin Hu (who previously worked at Gramercy Taven in NY) has perfected the menu with his more refined take on American comfort brunch foods.
Thank goodness Han Feng loves food as much as I do! We ordered a slew of dishes to be shared among three people. We got the cinnamon roll, blueberry lemon muffin, skillet cornbread, homemade pork sausage, chicken waffle sandwich and corned beef hash. I wish we could have ordered the entire menu. Everything sounded so good like banana-stuffed French toast, duck fat fries, scones with clotted cream, chili biscuits… the lists goes on forever.
Madison’s brunch was one of the best brunches of my life. I really liked that the blueberry muffin came out piping hot. The skillet cornbread had corn, bacon, cheese in it and also was topped with Tabasco butter! The chicken waffle sandwich was two waffles as the bread, fried chicken, cheese, tomatoes, pickled onion and maple bacon aioli. I am involuntarily drooling on my keyboard right now.
My absolute favorite was the corned beef hash, which was served in a skillet with housemade ketchup, a fried egg and a side of bread. Corned beef hash is one of my all-time favorite dishes and I have very high standards for it. It was a perfect mixture of shredded corned beef and potatoes; the ketchup and egg really brought everything together. It was so tasty!
I thought the cornbread was also amazing, but it is key to eat it while it is hot. Otherwise, it gets kind of greasy and not as appetizing when it’s cold. While I liked the chicken waffle sandwich, I wish the waffles were slightly more crispy and also wish they had more of a buttermilk taste. Madison also has plenty of fresh juice and good coffee too!
The restaurant is in a wonderful space full of big windows and lots of light. At night, they have two restaurants side-by-side where one serves more casual food. The only downside is that this place is so popular so service is not the absolute best. I had to chase the waiter twice for our corned beef hash and cinnamon roll. But, I’m willing to deal with less-than-stellar service if I’m reunited with that corned beef hash again. I would highly recommend Madison, but it is imperative you make a reservation! This is my new “go-to place” to take out-of-town friends.