172 Jinxian Road
Named after the famous Pier 39 in San Francisco, Pier 39 is a tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cafe tucked away on Jinxian Road. Considering it’s just a few minutes walk from our place, we decided to check it out after hearing some good reviews. It was completely packed with diners when we rocked up for lunch, so we decided to get away from the squashiness in the tiny cafe and sit upstairs on the spacious balcony.
The food took quite awhile to arrive, at least 20 mins. Totally bewildering, considering a salad takes mere minutes to put together, and the clam chowder is already cooked in a big cauldron (I would assume). I’m not a fan of inefficiency, so it was disappointing to be kept waiting with not even a hint of a “thanks for waiting” when the food finally arrived.
Gripe aside, the food really was terrific. The California Garden Salad with avocado, seasonal leaves, cherry tomatoes, egg, homemade lemon vinaigrette was exactly what we’ve been craving since we came to Shanghai – a big, fresh salad with half(!) a sliced avocado and an assortment of toppings. It came with an absolutely delicious salad dressing which was slightly sweet and tangy. This would have been great served with some hot buttered bread or garlic bread.
The Clam chowder in Sourdough bread, their signature dish, was very impressive. It’s easily as close as it gets to the real thing, though not exactly the same. The bread is a lovely light sourdough, but the outside was a little too chewy and hard to pull apart – it should have been more crisp/crusty on the outside. The soft inside was delicious though, especially soaked with the chowder. The clam chowder was rich and creamy, and tasty but not too salty. Totally filling and so divine.
Their Banana milkshake was a bit of a disappointment. It was just some banana blended into milk, so wasn’t very sweet or tasty. A far far cry from the amazing and rich banana & chocolate milkshake that we had today somewhere else, which had vanilla ice cream blended into it as well. This one by Pier 39 was just very bland and uninteresting, will definitely not get this one again.
I’d go back for their salads and clam chowders, no question. Am pretty keen to try their pasta too, but I find it hard to deviate from their luscious clam chowder 😉 They also deliver if you order more than 50?, which is brilliant!
The terrace upstairs
California Garden Salad with avocado, seasonal leaves,
cherry tomatoes, egg, homemade lemon vinaigrette
Clam chowder in Sourdough bread
Decided to make our own Banana, mango and honey milkshakes..
they were WAY better IMHO. Hehehe!