In Cafetique, Shanghaiist reviews coffee shops and cafes around Shanghai that provide the two things our writers need most in life: caffeine and wireless internet. How does your neighborhood hangout spot stack up?
What: Zest Express
Where: 81 Wulumuqi Lu, near Changle Lu (乌鲁木齐路81号, 近长乐路)
Atmosphere: Bright, clean and airy. It’s more a juice shack than a “cafe”-cafe. You pick up salads, yoghurts, and drinks yourself and pay at the counter. With spring slowly giving way, their fresh, healthy vibe plus their al fresco tables hit the spot. We’ve always found the staff quick, responsive, and polite and let’s not forget how management impressed us.
Music: It’s varied every time but right now, it’s Jay Chou, Faye Wong, Andy Lau and other catchy classic Chinese hits.
Food and Drink: Salads come in two sizes–30-32RMB for a small, 45-58RMB for a full portion. It doesn’t look like it when it’s sitting in the plastic container, but the regular-sized portions are actually very filling, especially the pesto pasta salad. Most of the other salads, including our spicy thai chicken salad (26/39RMB) we tried tonight are a bit stingy on the meat but otherwise it’s pretty good.
An Americano and all their Twining teas are 18RMB and it goes up to 24RMB for a latte or a cappuccino. Their winning, delicious smoothies are 30RMB across the board. We’ve yet to find one we don’t like and they even have a smoothie dedicated to the Avocado Lady.
One more thing, at the end of each day, they blow out all their juice, salad, smoothies and leftover sandwiches so be sure to stop by from 9-10pm. Sometimes, if you’re lucky the staff might also give you something for free.
Wifi: Great. The network name and wifi password is displayed clearly on a sign in front of their counter so you don’t even need track down a staff to ask for the password.
Overall: Great juices, yoghurts, and smoothies and plenty o’ healthy stuff, but maybe most of all, we love how they have smart staff. Without a doubt, we’ll be hanging out here a lot here in the coming months.