A brilliant art bar-cafe on Changle Lu owned by two Chinese friends: accordion player and photographer CK from Hunan works for heritage Italian accordion-maker Polverini and has collaborated with local Chinese musicians such as ChaCha. Max He from Shenzhen studied art at Newcastle University in the UK and collects rare vinyl and vintage cameras and has an evolved taste in music: Motown and Northern Soul plays most lunchtimes and evenings. In the kitchen, Chinese chef Benny Cai has worked for a number of five-star hotels including the Hilton. The bright, handsome bookish space is duck egg-blue with blonde-wood picnic-style tables set in a glass conservatory shaded by overhanging trees.
Food is straightforward and more than serviceable. Lunch sets include a soup of the day or garden salad, a choice of three different sandwiches including the popular cajun chicken ciabatta, a dessert or coffee (including cappuccino or latte) for 78RMB. Individually, sandwiches are around 38RMB and salads begin at 38RMB for a smoked-chicken Waldorf and top at 68RMB for the 2nd Floor special with mango, Thai seafood cakes, caviar, pistachio, rocket and black sesame. The kitchen closes at 8pm after which time the space becomes a bar. Drinks are good value: Corona is 30RMB, Stella and Bitburger 38RMB with bottles of wine from 138RMB and own-made house cocktails from 48RMB (including the curious-sounding Acid Man, with whiskey, sour apple and cranberry). Weekly film nights take place at around 7.30pm on Tuesdays-Thursdays.
By Alexander Barlow