Article By Stephen Robinson
1-04A, Xi Ying Time, Qu Jiang New District
Average Price per Person /人均消费:45RMB
The bread isn’t sweet. I could probably end the review right there and it would be enough to get you to go to Ugly Bread, a bakery that has recently opened at the 西影Time Shopping Plaza next to the Movie Park. But that would be doing this shop a disservice, as they are doing much more than simply making savory bread. Opened with the idea that bread should taste good, this bakery is serving up bread with some unique and delicious flavor combos, as well as some classics bound to make you happy.
The name Ugly Bread was chosen because they understand that not every piece of bread is going to have that glistening sheen of egg-wash, but that a rustic texture can lead to better flavor. And man, do they have flavor. The types of bread will differ depending on the day and availability of ingredients, but currently, they serve a variety of savory breads, including real sourdough loaves, pretzels, ciabatta filled with things like olives or truffles and porcini; and a host of other savory treats. Each and every piece is hand-made in house, and you can tell that they put a lot of effort into each of the items. The crumb on the bread show evidence of a long natural rise and the flavors are spot on. On the day of the review, I tried the truffle and porcini ciabatta, which was crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, with moist pockets of porcini with a light air of truffle. Truffle can be a powerful flavor, so it was nice to not have it overdone.
If you still desire something sweet, they do have some sweeter options, but even the desserts are not overly sweet. Some of the options are a red wine fig roll that contains large chunks of figs in a chewy roll. They also have New York Style Cheesecake, Swiss rolls, and Pistachio and Raspberry Cream Puffs. I tried the cream puff, which was sliced open and absolutely stuffed with a pistachio cream till the cream puff resembled a snow man. The cream was only lightly sweetened, and at the center was raspberry, adding both a color contrast and a slight tartness to the cream. It was delicious.
Of course, what is the bakery experience without a nice cup of coffee. The coffee at Ugly Bread is good, prepared in a nice La Marzocco espresso machine. They serve up the usually espresso drink fare, such as Americanos and Lattes, but also spice things up a bit with their own signature blend of coffees, with flavors like Banana & Pistachio Dirty and Pineapple & Coconut Coffee. They also have a range of teas and sodas if you’re looking for a less caffeinated beverage. I tried the Banana & Pistachio and I have to say, not bad. It’s not flavors that you’d usually pair with coffee, but it works out and I’ll definitely be ordering it again sometime.
The last thing to mention is the beautiful environment surrounding Ugly Bread. Facing outward on the main walking road into the Movie Park, the foot traffic is vibrant, especially on the weekends when the area fills with families and young people playing, and strolling by. If you want a place to people watch on a weekend afternoon, this is a great spot.
Therein lies the only problem with Ugly Bread. It’s very popular! When I arrived on a Sunday afternoon, there was a line to the door with people buying pastries and breads to enjoy both in and outside the bakery. Several of the bread options were sold out by the time I arrived, so if you want to be able to sample the full range of what they have to offer, it’s better to go on a weekday or avoid afternoon tea time on the weekends, when the bakery usually hits max capacity.
Still, it was nice to see such a lively place and it was a nice place to sit and enjoy, though I’d imagine that the bread would be equally as good taken back home to be toasted and slathered with butter. There were also a few things on the menu that I’d not had an opportunity to try, but definitely would be on the list for the next visit, including Mushroom Quiche and sandwiches made with their freshly baked bread. Oh, and they have whole wheat bagels.
One of the things expats in the city seem to miss the most from home is good, non-sweet bread. Well we found some, so have at it. Ugly Bread is open daily, and they said that if business continues to be as good as this, there will be more shops opening in the future.
If you have a chance to try this restaurant and you’d like to tell us about your experience, let us know by contacting out official WeChat account or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen Robinson is the editor-in-chief at xianease and would love to get your thoughts on everything we are doing. You can contact him at stephen@xianease