Article By James Morrow
1F, West Station,Tang City Wall Site Park, Yan Nan 2 Rd
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 60RMB
Have you ever wondered where the young and fashionable people are? Well, apparently they all show up to this café on Friday afternoons. Arriving at 2PM on a Friday, we found that this place was packed, with almost every available chair taken up both indoors and out. The building, converted from a monorail station, sits in the middle of the park on Yannan Second Road, and the café takes up the first floor, with the second floor being devoted to a retail shop. The café is pretty spacious, despite the crowds, and the windows open up to allow people to sit on either side of the standing tables, meaning that you have people standing and sitting both outside and in. So, what makes this place so popular amongst the in crowd? We were set to find out.
Started by the same folks that brought Xi’an Steak Universe, this coffee shop brand with an unpronounceable name decided to expand to their second shop, (the other one being located at South Gate) with a greater emphasis on the coffee shop part, as the previous iteration was simply a stand inside their retail shop. They definitely seems to be on to something, offering a pretty wide variety of café options, from classic espresso-based drinks and creative coffees to chic desserts, charcuterie boards, and wine. They even have coffee-based cocktails if you want to mix your stimulants and depressants.
First off, we tried a series of espresso-based beverages, with a latte, mochaccino, and something called a Nutty Cloud. The latte was pretty standard, but the mocha was exceptional, made with a nice dark chocolate syrup instead of the sickly sweet choco beverages served up at some chains. The cocoa was a nice accent to the coffee, just as it should be. The Nutty Cloud was a different experience entirely. The drink is based off of a Dirty coffee, where cream is used instead of milk, for a thick creamy coffee that fills you up quick, but instead of just the standard cream, they used a peanut-infused cream that lent a nice nuttiness to the beverage, along with the bitter notes of coffee. If you’ve ever wondered what a peanut butter latte would taste like, come give it a try. We also received an Iced Jasmine Americano, which had a jasmine-laced syrup on the bottom; a Peach Bubble, a non-espresso soda with peach and fig; and a double espresso. These offerings were a bit out there, but each had its own merit, though the first round was where the coffee really shined.
In addition to the drinks, we were also served a few of their pastries, each interesting in their own way. First we had a croissant that was absolutely covered in sliced almonds and powdered sugar, almost like a pastry hedgehog. The center was will with a custard-like cream, meaning that no part of this pastry tasted dry. They also brought out a crispy type of round pastry that was filled with a coffee cream that also came with a pipette of espresso, mean to further moisturize the flaky layers. The espresso also added a nice bit of bitterness to balance out the sweetness of the cream. There were several other pastries on offer, including a lemon merengue muffin that looked delicious, but we were already quite stuffed.
And then they brought the charcuterie board. The board was loaded with Parma ham, salami, beef, cheese, pickles, and red pepper. They also serve some other savory dishes, including burrata cheese with Parma ham and basil, and pizzas. They also mentioned that they would be working on a brunch menu in the near future, so that is something to look out for. The charcuterie was exactly what you might expect, especially from folks with the same sourcing abilities as Steak Universe. All of the meats and cheeses were of nice quality, though they probably would pair better with some wine as opposed to coffee. Still, it was a nice change of pace from the sweetness of the dessert, though it definitely pushed us over the edge of satiety.
This is an interesting place to check out, though it might be difficult for you to grab a seat here, depending on when you show up. The quality is top notch however, and is worth the wait if you want some good coffee and pastry. And if you’re feeling like a leisurely afternoon with a bit of wine and light food on the weekend, then this might be a good spot to check out. Despite the premium taste, the coffee is not overly expensive either, with an American starting at 22RMB, so it won’t hurt your wallet too much either. I do hope you get a chance to check it out.
James is currently living in Xi’an and loving it, from the food to the people.