If you've been in Shanghai for a minute, you'll have noticed that all things Francophile are big business here. Upmarket French restaurants command the highest bills, French wine sells better than any other, French fashion is regarded as the epitome of luxury – there's even a concession-era part of town still affectionately referred to as being 'formerly French.' Franck Pécol is an expat restaurateur who has achieved extraordinary success opening dining concepts in Shanghai that are undeniably French, but without beating customers over the head with it.
The latest in this all-star line up is Far-West, a new eatery that trains its focus exclusively on crêpes and gallettes, thin and crispy French-style pancakes that can be plied with toppings both sweet and savory, great for both adults and kids to enjoy.
Savory offerings (galettes made with buckwheat flour) start from RMB30 for a simple beurre salé (salted butter) and incline up to RMB75 for the complète classique (Parisian ham, egg, cheese and spinach, pictured below), or RMB95 for the Nantaise or Suzette.
You might be inclined to grumble that RMB95 is a lot of money for one pancake, but they are substantial and come generously topped with ingredients, and big enough for two younger children to share. The aforementioned Nantaise (Nantes-style, hailing from the Northwestern French city) is triangular and crowned with salad, walnuts and rosettes of smoked ham. Inside is a layer of goat cheese and subtly sweet braised apple slices, which balances the saltiness of the cheese and ham. It is delicious and definitely repeatable.
Savory gallettes are reason enough to visit Far-West, but I urge you to save space for the sweet crêpes afterwards, for this is where such luxuries as Nutella, salted caramel, ice cream and chantilly cream come into play.
Constructed with wheat flour rather than buckwheat, the crêpes are a good deal softer and more delicate. Prices start from RMB38 for salted butter, seasonal jam or white and brown sugar, RMB45 for Nutella, lemon and cream or caramelized apple, or RMB95 for flambéed numbers with Grand Marnier and candied orange or Calvados and caramelized apple (pictured below).
If you've got a picky eater on your hands, not to worry. These detailed and full topping dishes can be simplified and made plain, which may be more suitable for some children.
Tucked away round the back of Grains café (another Pécol concept), Far-West overlooks a pretty decked courtyard, with seating for around 20 inside. Flooded with natural light and blonde wood, the atmosphere is calm and serene. Breton-stripe wearing servers are English-speaking and pleasant, happy to make recommendations, and accomodate larger families and tables.
Price: RMB30-95 per crêpe
Who’s going: locals and expats
Good for: breakfast, brunch, lunch, families