The Commune Social (食社)

The Commune Social is the latest creation of Chef Jason Atherton after his successes with Table No. 1 in Shanghai, 22 ships in Hong Kong, Pollen and Esquina in Singapore. The Commune Social is yet another exciting dining concept aimed to breathe life into a historical and charming neighborhood with authentic Tapas. The ‘No Reservations, No Service Charge’ restaurant provides its diners an opportunity to experience what Atherton describes as “the deformalizing of fine dining”.  

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Visited: July. 23.2015 (Lunch)

Address: 511 Jiangning Road (near Kangding Road), Shanghai, China

Hours: Tue-Sun 12:00-14:30, Tue-Sat 18:00-22:30, Closed Sunday evening & Monday all day

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The interior of The Commune Social was design by the award winning firm, Neri & Hu Design and Research Office of Shanghai. The restaurant is divided into three distinctive areas: Tapas Bar, Dessert Bar, and Cocktail Bar. The design approach emphasizes raw materials to accentuate the “freshness” of visual encounter and associating to the rawness and freshness of food.

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The Tapas Bar and Kitchen is currently helmed by Chef Scott Melvin (the man in the middle), who is also the Executive Chef of Table No. 1. Scott joined Jason Atherton and the Gordon Ramsay Group in 2006 as a Senior Sous Chef with Maze Restaurant. Chef Scotts travels a lot in earlier years, thus developed a deep passion for exploring local food cultures, ingredients and culinary traditions.

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The Commune Social offers lunch sets, Tasting menu, Vegetarian menu, as well as tapas and dessert menu with a wide range of drinks. The menu was design for sharing but also good for solo diners. I came during lunch time and decided to have lunch set with several a la carte dishes from the tapas menu. Lunch set menu is reasonably prices at CNY 178 for 3 dishes to CNY 228 for 5 dishes, with a cup of lemon tea or soda included.

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The first dish was from the set lunch menu. I loved the perfecly poached egg with a beautiful runny yolk, which was creamy and umami. It paired well with the crispy squid on the side, while the tamato and mashed avocado on the bottom balanced the dish very well. It was a mouthful of creaminess and crispiness.

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No doubt my all-time favorite dish at the Commune Social. The ciabatta was toasted to crispy, topped with creamy and flavorful pepper butter and fresh sea urchin, the combination of different textures and rich, umami flavor was seriously enjoyable. A MUST-TRY!

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The tomato salad was a very healthy and balanced dish to the table. Used different types of tomatoes to create different flavors of sweetness and sourness, side with fresh ricotta, olive soil and herbs, the whole dish has a clean flavor and very refreshing.

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The scollop ceive was also from the set lunch menu. The scallop was very fresh, juicy and natually sweet, side with avocado to enhance the refreshing flavor and creamy texture. Popcorn nicely added a slight grilled flavor and makes the dish more textural.

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Iced popcorn - the classical snack at The Commune Social, is complimantery for each table. The cute dish came with some dreamy white smoke (from its ice). Every single popcorn was evenly dressed with caramel, the iced cirspy texture and moderate sweetness was very lovely.

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The signature dessert at The Commune Social was the peanut ice cream with peanut caramel. The peanut crumble was quite strong in peanut (butter) flavor, the sourness of raspberry puree brought a refreshing hint to the dish. I loved the real peanut texture, but i still found it a bit heavy for my liking.

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The second dessert was made of goat cheese and hydrated honey combe. Grilled banana nicely added more creamiess and the honey combe was quite crunchy, and yogurt sorbet brought some refreshment. I loved its textural but in general a bit too sweet because of the honey combe.

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I alway enjoy eating at The Commune Social. The food was nicely portioned, most dishes are very light and refreshing, used the highest quality ingredients and processeed well. The warm relaxing ambiance and efficient service counted more credits to the entire experience. The Commune Social is so far my favorite tapas bar in Shanghai and i definitely would like to recommond it to everyone.