Article By Eugene Lombard
No.13 Building, East Gate, Zhong Lou Compound, West Street.
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 30RMB
With the cold weather having truly and properly announced its arrival in our city, it’s easy to just want to stay inside. Yet, I find this weather to be the ideal time to practice my favorite pastime: cafe hunting.
On a fresh Saturday afternoon, I headed out in the direction of South Gate in search of coffee. I was most delighted when I found a café at a location I’d never have thought to venture in to.
Having faced the cold on route, and admittedly getting lost (for trusting my mental compass over a map), what better feeling than being welcomed by warmth, the smell of coffee and freshly-baked croissants.
Only a stone’s throw from Bell Tower and a 5-minute walk from the Zhonglou metro stop (Exit 3).
Hidden in an alley way (situated between Bell Tower Hotel and Papaya X), which I’ve walked past many times before but never paid any attention to, you’ll find Online Coffee & Bread (OCB).
Walk past the Holiday Inn Express. When you hit a dead end, squeeze through the big black gate, and on your right you’ll see 4 tiny shops huddled together. Small, quaint, some might even say cute. A row of creativity, hidden in the shadow of the Bell Tower.
Once entering the café, you’ll be welcomed by the biggest of smiles from the friendliest of baristas.
Taking a look at the menu, they have all the standard coffees you expect and they offer a few interesting additions as well. I tried my favorite, a Dirty Coffee, as well as the Brewer Americano, a hop-infused soda coffee. Hops, of course, more known for being a companion to beer, works surprisingly well with coffee. I’m already imagining how well the Brewer Americano will go down when the temperature starts to climb.
Food-wise, their specialty is the cinnamon and almond croissant. Beyond tasty and will pair well with any of their drinks.
We were fortunate to try their Christmas special. Freshly baked croissant with vanilla infused cream and strawberries. With the first bite it was immediately noticeable that attention to detail is key at OCB.
Unfortunately, the cream and strawberry croissant was only available during the festive season but be on the lookout for more such delicacies during other times of celebrations throughout the year.
What I liked about the cafe is that the setting makes you want to try something out of the ordinary. And that they definitely have.
Furthermore, coffee and croissant aside, it’s a wonderful spot for all the vloggers, photographers and Instagrammers out there. And it’s clearly visible that a visit to OCB is less grab and go and more stay and play.
It’s a great addition to an already vibrant part of town and a cozy corner, ideally suited for the Xian winter months.
Yet, with ample seating outside, once spring and summer rolls out, this location will be an ideal spot to lounge in the sun or hide in the shade of the lush trees that stand guard in front of the cafe.
So when you find yourself around Bell Tower, pop in by Online Coffee and Bread. Grab a chair, spoil yourself with a coffee and croissant. Indulge in a book or get lost behind a lens and for a brief moment, forget about the bustling city life a mere arm’s length away.
If you give this a try, let us know about your experience by messaging us at firstname.lastname@example.org.