Before arriving at Yi Café, the restaurant in Pudong's Shangrila Hotel, locals told me they had the best brunch in Shanghai. "Great" I thought, "flawless eggs benedict and farm-fed pork bacon."
That image turned out to be laughable.
Getting to my table required walking through the buffet--all 300 feet of it. I passed by a spinning chocolate fountain, a trio of chefs cutting sushi faster than I'd ever seen and 11 "stations," serving French, Lebanese, Indian and other world cuisines. Popular dishes from the different culinary regions of China all made appearances. Giant buckets filled with bottles of vodka and champagne graced pedestals all over the restaurant.
The feast was all-inclusive. Lavish enough for kings and queens.
I decided to be strategic about the four-hour culinary experience. I saved carbs for last to make sure I didn't get full right away. First plate, seafood: mussels in white sauce, crab legs, oysters and sashimi. Next, turkey, ham and venison, traditional Christmas meats. Sauces included cranberry, gravy and two others, unlabeled but delicious.
Dessert was a whole other adventure. There were chocolate covered strawberries, cookies, ice cream and candies. A spinning chocolate tower allowed you to add extra chocolate to any dessert you put together.
Yi Café is open for brunch all year around. But for Christmas, they ship in special dishes from all over the world. Next year, see you in Shanghai!