Most expats in Shanghai know and love Element Fresh. It is a little bit pricey, but it is my go to spot when I am craving a huge, fresh salad. The Element Fresh in the Shanghai Center just reopened after being closed for remodeling, and we decided to go check it out and take the camera along to see what’s new. The menu is the same, but the interior was redesigned to be more eco-friendly, with recycled materials making up the bulk of the ceilings, walls and tables.
We had a great time chatting with one of their managers that we know from our days in Nanjing, and he even hooked us up with some fresh squeezed juice and an awesome dessert!
I usually get the Cobb Salad when I go, but this time I reverted back to the first thing I ever got at Element Fresh: the Laffa Bread Salad. It has grilled chicken, goat cheese, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and a lettuce mix on a huge piece of flat bread and it comes with a miso yogurt dressing. It is 88 RMB (14 USD), so it’s not exactly cheap, but the portions are huge. I am a big fan of every salad I’ve had at Element Fresh, but this one is especially light and filling. The best part, of course, being that they don’t skimp on the goat cheese, gotta love that.
Shiraz is a sandwich man through and through, and there are lots to choose from. Today he went for the Pomegranate Glazed Chicken & Apple sandwich. It had grilled chicken, bacon, swiss cheese, apples, mushrooms, arugula and cranberry mayo on ciabatta. I didn’t get to steal a bite because it was inhaled in 5 minutes, so I am guessing it was quite delicious.
This sandwich is 75 RMB (12 USD), and the only thing that could make it better would be if it was served with a little side. It comes presented on a cutting board with a little pile of sweet pickles. Don’t get me wrong, pickles are great, but a little side salad or some chips would made the cutting board seem a little less empty. It looked a little sparse sitting next to my giant salad.
Of course I had to have my cup of coffee (25 RMB, 4 USD), but we also had the pleasure of trying one of their fresh juice blends. We had the orange, carrot, and ginger (35 RMB, 6 USD). This is one of my favorite combinations for fresh juice, mainly because of the ginger. For awhile I had this big bag of candied ginger that I would munch on, which most people find disgusting, but I love the spicy flavor and it really works well with the sweetness of carrots and oranges.
I don’t usually do desserts at lunch time (or ever really because I bake so many cookies I feel guilty eating desserts when I’m out), but the fruit, tapioca, and coconut cream (38 RMB, 6 USD) almost doesn’t even feel like dessert. It’s definitely sweet like dessert should be, but so fresh it feels like you’re eating a little fruit salad. We thought we were stuffed, but devoured it in about 5 bites. It had kiwi, oranges, banana, and mango. It was so good that I would totally consider making a special trip to the Shanghai Center just to eat it again.
I really love Element Fresh. Although there are cheaper options for Western food, their ingredients are top notch and the atmosphere is really nice. Its the perfect blend of casual and classy. The patio is huge and amazing when it’s warm and not raining, and now with the redesign the interior looks even more spacious and gorgeous than before. The wait staff are all friendly and I have never had a bad experience. Although there are several locations, it looks like the Shanghai Center Element Fresh will remain my favorite one. It is on Nanjing West Road, near Tongren Road in the Shanghai Center. The menu can be found online here, and a bonus: they deliver (yay for us lazy people!)