1/F, No. 163
Grand Gateway Mall
1 Hongqiao Road
Obviously catered for the Western crowd, Element Fresh is neat, clean and everything a regular Western cafe would look like. A very promising start, so we decided to head on in to check it out. The service was polite and very efficient, and it was fantastic to find out that their staff could all speak English. I also liked the English magazines about Shanghai that they put on a rack for you to browse through – a very nice touch.
The menu boasts a huge variety of dishes – from sandwiches to pastas, from fresh juices to steaks. It’s a Western food paradise!! The photos also all looked gorgeous, and we eagerly ordered. I opted for the Homestyle Macaroni with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, fresh cream, diced mushrooms, grilled chicken breast which was average at best. The macaroni itself was fine – small macaroni in a light cheese sauce. It was cooked well, however lacked taste, despite the cheese. I ended up having to dump on a ton of Parmesan to get some sort of flavour. You pay extra to get the grilled chicken breast, otherwise you end up with a big bowl of plain, tasteless macaroni. Frankly, I wish I hadn’t. The chicken was tasteless and dry, typical of chicken breast. At least it was a really decent-sized portion….
Chris opted for the Filet mignon with sauteed onions, melted swiss cheese, grilled peppers, tomato and thousand island dressing which was good, but odd. The steak itself was fantastic, tender and with a lovely bite and flavour. However, it should have been served with Turkish bread (and not white sliced bread!) and not thousand island dressing (?) but a rich gravy/jus. There was also no sign of the “melted swiss cheese” or “grilled peppers”. It was basically one of those cheap bland sandwiches you buy at the corner shop, except they put in a piece of lovely steak inside. What a waste!
The good news is that the portions are generous, and we were both full enough to decide not to get dessert. Just as well, because just for those 2 dishes, the bill came up to 170元 (US$25) – a phenomenal amount given the average price of food in Shanghai, and also the average quality of the food. Oh, I should also point out that their fruit juice is 2-3x more expensive than the fruit juice joints you find in shopping malls, despite being exactly the same. A lovely place that does try, but needs to step up on food quality and significantly drop the prices.
Chris reads the paper whilst we wait for the food
Homestyle Macaroni with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese,
fresh cream, diced mushrooms, grilled chicken breast
Me all excited at having found “mac & cheese” in Shanghai!
Too bad it had no taste…
Chris a bit unsure of why is “Filet mignon sandwich” looks more like
a cheap corner shop sandwich…..
Filet mignon with sauteed onions, melted swiss cheese,
grilled peppers, tomato and thousand island dressing
At least the cafe is beautiful and well-lit!
You Are Chocolate
When you’re stressed out, you crave intense pleasure.
And you’re willing to skip a proper meal and proceed directly to the food you like best.
You find solace in hedonism and luxury. You tend to turn your nose up at most traditional comfort foods.