Cherry blossoms burst forth like pink pompoms from the foliage-fringed W+S Café entryway on Huaihai Lu. Whimsical and feminine, the street view matches the interior in fairytale-forest spirit. A stuffed antelope head oversees the dining room, which buzzes at midday with local ladies sharing afternoon tea. Tiny taxidermic birds perch on caged light fixtures. Vast windows illuminate marble floors and offer glimpses into the adjoining home decor store. The glossy, elaborate interior makes the café an ornate space for you to visit when you want to feel fancy.
The spaghetti carbonara arrives al dente and scalding hot, with luscious creaminess imparted from egg and a savoury boost from sliced pancetta and mushroom. The Caesar salad is a generous heap of crisp romaine, speckled with crunchy cubed croutons, nutty Parmesan cheese, hearty chunks of boiled egg and toasty nubs of bacon. A minor hitch in the dressing, however, is excess mayonnaise tang and indistinct anchovy umami. To drink, a rich and sizeable latte is served with raw sugar cradled in a clamshell, plus a mini shortbread cookie as a tasty bonus. Given W+S’s partnership with Napoleon chocolate bar, it comes as little surprise that sweet treats are the draw. The expertly crafted Napoleon divides thick and fluffy vanilla cream with layers of delicate, flaky pastry that shatter between the teeth. Fresh strawberry slices and a flurry of crumbled meringue complete the presentation. Deal-seekers can order it alongside a hot drink in a weekday afternoon tea set or as part of a three-course lunch. Above average in quality and price, W+S is an ornate space worth a visit when you want to feel fancy.