Shanghai: Cafe Dan 丹

25 Nov

Cafe Dan in the Tianzifang enclave purportedly serves up the best coffee in Shanghai, alongside with healthy and home-style Japanese dishes. After much jostling with the thronging tourist crowds on a Saturday afternoon while exploring Tianzifang’s many shops, galleries, cafes and eateries, we decided to rest our feet and chill in this quaint Japanese coffee house.

We chose to sit indoors, since sitting outdoors would mean be being gawked at by a gazillion tourists. We were lucky enough to snag an available table without waiting. They have a lovely bar counter on the second floor where you can watch the barista at work. Neat!

The serene and green view from my seat :) The huge window filled the room with a fresh breeze and for a moment I forgot I was in Shanghai.

I ordered the iced coffee (50 RMB??) that was served in the cutest glass with milk and sugar syrup on the side. Sorry I can’t describe it better as I’m not a big coffee conoisseur but it was good enough for me, with a smooth and rich flavour. The friendly Japanese owner personally roasts the coffee beans using the roaster in the first floor (we saw him doing it as we were leaving).

Interestingly, half the ice cubes were made of coffee so that your coffee won’t get diluted as the ice melts More coffee houses should bother doing this as it really makes a huge difference :)

The hubs got a special Ethiopian brew (70?? RMB) that tasted quite chocolate-y to me. Cafe Dan has an encyclopedic food and drink menu as well (not sure what’s with Shanghai establishments and uber long menus) and he was a bit confused over which coffee to order so I think this was just a random choice.

We were really full from lunch at Tenya but felt obliged to try something on the food menu. They place a strong emphasis on healthy food and hence use the “super steam” method on a lot of their food. Apparently they also make their own noodles and use many imported Japanese ingredients. We decided on the mentaiko pasta (50 RMB) which came with perilla leaves, nori and bonito flakes. While not everyone is a fan of the herbal tasting perilla, I personally liked it and thought its addition made the dish less cloyiing. The pasta also wasn’t dry (surprisingly) and was cooked al dente. Quite delicious! I’ve only tasted the creamy mentaiko pastas before and usually those are too rich for my liking. This was just nice.

We also got a salad which is probably complimentary with the pasta. Salad leaves were fresh and dressed in a sesame dressing. It was literally gone in 60 seconds.

The hubs chose a chocolate cointreau cake (50?? RMB) which was rich, moist, generously soaked with cointreau and very, very good. Apparently on the menu it says for adults only, and we could totally see why. A good end to our teatime at Cafe Dan!

While the coffees at Cafe Dan seemed a little pricey (especially compared to the food, since a cup of coffee could cost more than a main), you’re probably paying for the Tianzifang locale, the cafe’s dedication to quality and the license to chill. And whatever food we tried was pretty good too so you should consider having a meal there too.

Price: $-$$
Location: No. 41, Lane 248, Taikang Lu

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