The DJ Sunday Brunch at Va Bene is a great value and a chic experience in the heart of Xintiandi.
The concept of the DJ brunch is not only that of getting tipsy early in the day without being judged, but also that of busting a dance move or two without other patrons considering you to be a complete weirdo. If a morning dance party isn’t your scene, the music isn’t extremely loud so you can comfortably ignore the DJ theme and stick to your regular brunch routine.
I was invited to join a media tasting, which gave me the opportunity to try most of the dishes on the menu. The generous set deal is 198 for any 3 dishes on the menu + a fragrant bread basket for the carbs addicts. For a boozy Sunday, get free-flow prosecco and beer for 138 RMB extra, or go all in with unlimited Spritz, Bloody Mary or Mojito for 188 RMB.
As the menu rotates weekly, you may not find all of the options I had the chance to try. Nevertheless this review should still give you a good idea of what to expect.
Among the bites selection, the recommended options are:
Half dozen Fine de Claire Oysters to open up the appetite. ‘Cause Shanghai loves a good oyster deal.
A stunning Burrata. The main ingredient is really what matters, no need to add anything else.
Highly recommended is also the Prosciutto e Melone, with freshly sliced Parma ham. The latter tastes exactly like in Italy whengrandma goes to the butcher for 200g of ham and he gives you both a small slice to try immediately.
Among the mains, I wasn’t in love with the cast iron pan foie gras and eggs as the various elements didn’t seem to interact and combine in a complete mouthful. I wouldn’t pick this dish again on my next visit.
Instead, the simple, brightly flavored Ravioli Stuffed with Cheese and Tomato was a delicious surprise.
The Grilled Giant Prawns were perfectly executed and seasoned. The dollops of caviar on top didn’t seem to make much sense, but well… you never say no to an extra caviar treat.
If you feel like upgrading your experience you can also pay an extra 298 RMB and get a Wagyu Beef Rib-eye Steak M5 grade or a Whole Lobster with Fries & Salad. I only tried the former, and truly enjoyed the tenderness and simple seasoning of the meat. Italians are not big on complex steak sauces and marinades and prefer the real thing with just a dash of salt and pepper.
Va Bene’s french fries deserve an honorable mention as one of the best in Shanghai. I couldn’t put my finger on how they actually cook them but it does seem like a double frying technique, which makes them extremely crunchy while leaving the inside pleasantly creamy.
I would highly suggest to choose all three dishes of the set menu among the savoury options (the strawberry cheesecake was a somewhat disappointing ending to an otherwise top notch meal).
An amazing dessert that is not on the set brunch menu is their Hazelnut Creme Brûlée. If you feel like a sweet treat, don’t hesitate to order it à la carte. The rich hazelnut custard is coated with just the right amount of sugar crust which breaks into delicious crystals of sugary goodness.
All in all Va Bene DJ Sunday Brunch is a fancy, budget friendly option for a great weekend meal in Shanghai, whether with your crazy friends, your partner or with out-of-towners, you’ll surely eat delicious food and have a good time.
Address: Lane 181, Taicang Lu, Xintiandi, Bldg 7, 2/F, near Huangpi Nan Lu, Shanghai – 太仓路181弄新天地7号楼2楼, 近黄陂南路