English classics in the French Concession

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At my latest internship at Time Out Shanghai I had the opportunity of doing my first ever professional restaurant review! I checked out Amelia’s, an adorable British-themed cafe located in the former French Concession. Amelia’s was founded by British expat Amelia Heaton-Renshaw who made a name for herself in Shanghai’s foreign craft food scene with her homemade jams and chutneys. At Amelia’s, I enjoyed a melted mature cheddar, sausage and chutney sandwich (38 RMB), Millionaire Shortbread (20 RMB) and chai (25 RMB) for just 60 RMB as part of the lunch set (sandwich/salad, drink, dessert). I also got a slice of bacon and onion quiche (30 RMB).

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Chutney is a great choice for the sandwich because cheese and sausage is a common combination and the sweet chutney makes it more interesting.

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The sandwiches come on a choice of bagel, granary bread, or ciabatta. I ordered the ciabatta and what I got was not my idea of ciabatta, because it didn’t have any crustiness or chewiness, but was still good.

This took a long time to arrive, which I took as a good sign that it was being made to order. While I waited, I drank the chai, which was comforting but lacked spice, so I wouldn’t get it again. I also devoured the bacon and onion quiche, which was sitting on the counter along with slices of pumpkin and goat cheese quiche (30 RMB). The slaw is a nice touch too.

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The caramelized onions were melty and delicious.

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Two British men at the table next to mine ordered Scotch eggs (32 RMB). They seemed to be regulars.

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I was blown away by my dessert, the Millionaire Shortbread. The stiff caramel had a deep, dark flavor that went perfectly with the crumbly, crunchy shortbread. This shortbread is reason alone to go to Amelia’s but it’s not always available. Brownies are, and based on the quality of Amelia’s, they’re sure to be great as well.

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Wow!

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I was most impressed by the level of service I received. China is a non-tipping country so restaurant staff already do not have a financial incentive to provide good service. Even without the financial incentive service is usually respectful, but often it’s just bad. Soup coming after the main, mains coming 20 minutes apart, no cold water – there’s a general lack of sensitivity in the service. At Amelia’s, my (English-speaking) Chinese server was extremely attentive. She answered all my questions with real answers, asked me whether I’d like to have my dessert after my sandwich or with it, and packed up my leftovers in the back in three separate containers – one for the sandwich, one for the quiche, one for the shortbread – which she carefully stacked in a bag. There was so much thought put into this considerate service! Really refreshing .

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Amelia’s

695 Julu Road, Shanghai

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