[Shanghai Girl Eats] Al’s Diner
Al’s Diner | Dianping
Address: 204 Xinle Lu near Donghu Lu / 新乐路204号近东湖路
Date visited: 2015.11 serving one menu on weekdays & weekends all day
Price: RMB150-200 per person
What to get:
– Blueberry lemon-ricotta pancakes
– That breakfast sandwich thing we make
– Patty melt
– Chinese sausage & kimchi fried rice
– Chicken skin
– Goin’ bananas French toast
Gracie’s is known for her sweet and fattening ice cream shop located at Xinle Lu and Donghu Lu and on Sherpa’s for delivery. In the same space now comes Al’s Diner, named appropriately after Gracie’s other half Alwin. A sweet and savory pairing.
Ice cream here is undoubtedly good (my current favorites are the miso caramel and the malt, sea salt & dark chocolate) so we tried Gracie’s milkshake concoctions. The crazy banana milkshake with rum (RMB 70) was on the extreme alcohol side and the pick your own Gracie’s ice cream milkshake (RMB60) with pumpkin ice cream was slightly too thick and grainy. The milkshakes need some work so stick to the ice cream for now (try Beef & Liberty‘s regular and spiked milkshakes instead).
Moving onto the food, for such a wide repertoire ranging from pancakes to fried rice, the food is surprisingly good. What they all have in common is that they are deliciously dangerous for the waistline.
Blueberry lemon-ricotta pancakes (RMB60) with mixed berry compote, candied lemon zest
Currently the frontrunner on my Shanghai pancake list. The batter is fluffy and embedded with fresh whole blueberries and a touch of ricotta. I heard these were previously plain pancakes topped with blueberries and sauce so it was nice to see this change with the blueberries inside.
Purgatory eggs (RMB65) 2 eggs baked in cazuela, chorizo, potatoes, ricotta, chipotle-tomato sauce, flour tortillas, sour cream
No matter which way I look at this, it is a pan of scrambled eggs that I think you are supposed to make scrambled egg tacos out but just didn’t click for me. Poached or runny eggs for me please.
That breakfast sandwich thing we make (RMB65) with housemade Sichuan-pepper pork sausage, scrambled eggs, English muffin, chili-corn remoulade and house potatoes or side salad
Think of this as a deluxe sausage and egg muffin sandwich – great with some hot sauce.
Patty melt (RMB85) double Australian beef patty, caramelized onion, sautéed mushrooms, gouda cheese, side of fries + side of two sunny side eggs (RMB15)
Two beef patties sandwiched in between buttery toasted bread. The patty has this really beef flavor that works well with the sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions. We added a side of runny eggs to break onto the crispy matchstick fries.
Chinese sausage & kimchi fried rice (RMB45) with kimchi, leeks, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, gochujang paste, sunny side up farm egg
I don’t know where this fits into a diner menu among pancakes, sandwiches, and ice cream but it is delicious. The element of sweetness from the addition of Chinese sausage makes this a home run.
Mini bucket o’ wings (RMB55) with honey sriracha, coleslaw
The wings and legs have crispy skin but are dry on the meat.
Chicken skin (RMB35)
Instead of the chicken wings, ditch the meat and opt for the crispy chicken skin.
Goin’ bananas French toast (RMB65) thick cut Japanese milk toast, caramelized bananas, whipped cream, toasted coconut, caramel sauce
Tasty but I prefer the pancakes over the French toast if I had to choose. Solution: bring enough people to have both.