Cafe Dan, Tianzifang Shanghai

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Tianzifang

One of the few places I enjoyed in Shanghai was Tianzifang, also known as Taikang Road. Tianzifang houses bar, artsy cafes, craft shops, design studios, galleries and boutique — supported by tourists, expats, designers and yuppies.

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Quirky

The architecture itself is something to marvel at; a marriage between French and Chinese style evident from the stone door frames and wooden doors. I went there twice — cnce by myself, while the next with rif over the weekend.

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Going to Tianzifang during weekdays is more ideal because the crowd is less rowdy and you can actually walk in a leisurely pace. I also like Cafe Dan, recommended by my friend who is residing there.

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Coffee expert

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Attic-like space on the third floor

Cafe Dan is a cosy cafe in Tianzifang that serves freshly brewed coffee and Japanese comfort food. Coffee is Shanghai is expensive — it’s actually cheaper to drink beer than coffee here. But the coffee at Cafe Dan is worth trying, so I was told.

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RMB60, the most expensive I’ve paid for coffee so far!

I ordered the black coffee with brandy (RMB60) — the waitress recommended it, saying it’s one of the best coffees they have. Definitely the most expensive cup of coffee I’ve paid for, but I guess there’s a first time for everything. To be fair, it was pretty good coffee. Smooth yet bold with a bittersweet flavour from the brandy and orange peel.

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Good stuff

Service was slow when I was there, and the stairs leading to the second and third floor are steep. Those with heels would find it a problem. I know I struggled!

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Cafe Dan

Cafe Dan
Tianzifang, Lane 248 Taikang Lu,
near Sinan Lu, Xuhui district

Hits & Mrs, Bangsar

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Neighbourhood gem

Hits & Mrs has a lot more to offer than just food – it is an experience that combines modern cuisine, classic ambiance and a whole lot of passion. This spot in Bangsar focuses on creative European cuisine, helmed by Chef Keith Choong. The restaurant sits on the ground floor and the bar, upstairs. As Hits & Mrs is small, it is advisable to make a reservation to avoid disappointment.

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The crowd, at 7pm

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Cosy corner for a romantic dinner date

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Corn Espuma with salted popcorn

My amuse bouche that night was a corn espuma with popiah skin and salted popcorn on top. The espuma had light hints of corn and a savoury twist from the popcorn. I sampled the 5-course tasting menu (RM168 per person) and it started with Gardens, a pretty platter of beetroot, red radish, sugarpea, chive yoghurt, black olive puree and hazelnut.

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Freshly baked bread and salted butter

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Gardens

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Mushroom broth

Mushroom broth came with a sous vide farm egg, asparagus, egg vinegar sabayon, puffed buckwheat and comte cheese. Light, flavour-rich and very whimsical. Great combination, as the sabayon held everything together nicely.

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With sous vide farm egg

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Scottish Salmon

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Paired with La Closerie Des Lys Chardonnay

I was also impressed with the Scottish salmon, served alongside aubergine caviar, lily bulb, lotus root and salmon roe. This was paired with a glass of La Closerie Des Lys – the young grapes complemented the fine flavour of the salmon. I liked the addition of braised daikon and kobu in this dish; gives it an Asian touch.

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Beef Tenderloin

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Paired with Luis Felipe Edwards Cabernet Sauvignon

The beef tenderloin was paired with a Luis Felipe Edwards Cabernet Sauvignon, a robust choice that paired strangely well. The meat was meltingly tender and delicious, served with celeriac gratin, green pea & pearl onion ragout and red spinach.

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Palate cleanser: White chocolate green apple mash with caramel popcorn and pear sorbet

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Passion fruit

White chocolate and green apple mash with caramel popcorn and pear sorbet seemed more of a dessert than a palate cleanser, and a pretty one at that. I liked this better than dessert itself – passion fruit with green mango salad, pineapple and coconut sorbet. The latter was refreshing, like a tropical pina colada, deconstructed.

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Malaya-inspired bar upstairs

Cocktails are stellar here. Like the Mojito Malaya (RM40) and Waterloo (RM35). Let the barista know what your cocktail preference is, and she will make a few good recommendations. The waterloo packed a wallop. Made with gin, campari, marinated watermelon, simple syrup and some lemon, this was serious, hiding behind a fun looking mask.

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Signature cocktails

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Mojito Malaya

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Waterloo

Mojito Malaya is a clever twist from the usual mojito, combining pandan-infused rum, gula Melaka, mint, lime and orange. This is milder compared to the Waterloo, making it an easy drinking (but just as alcoholic) cocktail.

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Fino Intro

And then there’s Fino Intro, a fine drink of fino sherry, sweet vermouth, maraschino cherry, angostura bitter and lemon twist. This is more of a pre-dinner cocktail, so order it while waiting for your food to arrive.

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Memories of Rose Chan

All in, I loved the experience at Hits & Mrs. Portions are on the smaller side, but the flavours, colours and quality makes up for it.

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Ambiance: 7.5/10
Price: 5/10
Food: 7.5/10 (pork free)
Cocktails: 8/10
Verdict: Modern European cuisine and signature cocktails that pack a punch.

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Hits & Mrs, along Lorong Kurau

Hits & Mrs
No. 15 & 15A
Taman Weng Lock
Lorong Kurau, Bangsar
59000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2282 3571
Business hours: Dinner: 7pm to 11pm (Tuesday – Saturday)
Brunch: 11am to 3pm (Saturday – Sunday)
*Closed Monday
Website

Rekindle, SS2

When our regular coffee place started serving less than mediocre coffee, I had to find a few back-ups that open till late. Rekindle in SS2 was one of them – they open till midnight. The place itself is quaint and cosy; tables come in the form of the old-school sewing machine (that paddles back and forth) and a corner with large pillows to sit on.

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I love the quirky set-up, but those with longer legs might protest. Like rif, whose legs keep knocking against the underside of the table. :P

The crowd is young; hippie more like it. Many of them are students I reckon, judging from their carefree manner and dressing. The Flat White is decent – good enough to ease my coffee craving especially over a slice of red velvet. I find the espresso base stronger because ground coffee beans are “double basket pulled” to give you more oomph.

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Flat white. butterscotch latte and red velvet

The red velvet is one of the best I’ve tried in Klang Valley, I must say. The cake is moist and not overly sweet, with a good balance of cocoa in the mix. Very eye-catching against the snowy white icing; pretty to look at and fun to eat. If I’m not mistaken, a slice cost RM11.90. Hopefully they won’t decrease the size of each slice going forward.

Rekindle serves flavoured coffees too, like the butterscotch latte (RM12) rif tried. For some reason, my man is a sucker for all things butterscotch and caramel hahaha. I didn’t like this, because it tasted more like candy than coffee.

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Ambiance: 6/10
Price: 6/10
Coffee: 6/10 (pork free)
Verdict: Decent coffee. Try the red velvet while you’re at it.

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Rekindle
Jalan SS2/64
47300 Petaling Jaya,
Malaysia
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