Ellen had herself some amazing Chicken and Waffles a few weekends ago at Bru’s Wiffle in Santa Monica, which made me enviously seek out a waffle joint here in Shanghai too! Yes, we love copying each other and we always will.
Stepping into The Public is like entering someone’s house. One with a speakeasy style. And a Gracie’s ice-cream stand at the entrance. OK, so a very cool house (note for the future). There’s a long flight of stairs, leading up to a large picture of President Nixon visiting China. Once you get to the top of the stairs, there’s an unassuming door. Open it and you find a tastefully-decorated, rustic American-style living room, with tufted chairs everywhere along with a full bar. Not a huge restaurant by any means, just a nice cozy spot. And so began my Sunday brunch with Shanghai’s best Chicken and Waffles.
With the decor and vibe reminiscent of San Francisco, I was immediately filled with warm fuzzies inside. I loved the neutral grays, copper mirrors, and tufted decor. Totally my taste. And so was the food. We started with the Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict, smothered in a spicy cajun aioli sauce. It came with one perfectly steamed tomato that reminded me of the sweet red Early Girls I used to buy at Farmer’s Market… Yes, this place is totally bringing me back to San Fran. A good sign.
Then we got what we really came for: the signature Chicken and Waffles. When this dish was set down in front of us, even my meat-loving & never-full husband (who eats half a rotisserie chicken at a time, with his hands, like a caveman), gasped. Biggest. Chicken and Waffles. We’d ever seen. It’s literally half a chicken piled high atop a trembling waffle. The chicken is whey-poached and fried to perfection with cajun seasoning, and the meat inside was extremely juicy and tender. With a price tag of 150 RMB or $25 U.S. dollars, this dish had to shine and it did. It’s enough for 2 people, even 2 people who eat a lot (like us).
Don’t forget to pair with the special house-made sauces: Mustard (predictable), Hot Sauce (thumbs up) Garlic Sweet & Spicy (truly something special).
Now, the poor waffle squished underneath is not to be overlooked. There’s some kind of vanilla bean or wheatgerm in the batter, because this is not your typical buttermilk waffle. This waffle was fragrant, super browned, and tasted like sweet molasses. The maple syrup is yummy, but the real star was the house-made mixed berry jam! So good, especially when mixed with the maple syrup, waffle, and spicy fried chicken bits, and then stuffed into your mouth all together.
The next time I’m craving some satisfying comfort food and Southern vibes, you know where to find me.
The Public / XiangYang Nan Road, Shanghai