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: Baker and Spice
Where: 1/F, Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Xikang Lu
(南京西路1376号, 上海商城1楼室, 近西康路)
Atmosphere: Note: Most of what’s in this review only goes for the Shanghai Centre Baker and Spice. The Anfu Lu location is much smaller and lacks wifi. Lots of light and space, notable for their large, open terrace. People glued to their laptops populate the cafe’s long, wooden tables. These tables are a nice feature for the single wifi patrons, encouraging you to mingle with your fellow bench mates. For parties larger than two, however, it’s not as convenient. The crowd was definitely skewed on the side of females, be it moms and daughters, girlfriends getting coffee, or the lone laptop user.
Music: Enjoyable blasts from the past–Robbie Williams, Savage-Garden-y mellow pop and then lots of Michael Buble. We were also there for a stretch of no music playing at all, or maybe just too softly to be heard above the chatter of the mid-afternoon sandwich and smoothie crowd. Outdoors, you’re either treated to the CD stand jazz tunes blasting from across the street (actually quite enjoyable) or the rumbles of trucks driving past. Pleasant, but not so much peaceful.
Food and Drink: You’ll know most of the menu from Wagas, although the bakery offers a few more choice options out of the oven. The croissant we tried was delightful. The chocolate muffin was less so, moist in the middle but dry on top. The food’s a little overpriced, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from going. A plain baguette runs you 15rmb, open-faced sandwiches in the mid 30s, full sandwiches in the 40s-50s, main courses 50=-60 and up. The coffee is decent for average prices (lattes around 25RMB, and they do that thing where it comes in a glass, not a mug) and there’s some good micro-foam coming out of that machine of theirs. We also tried the banana orange (and honey and yogurt) smoothie, which has the guise of healthy but tastes very fresh and delicious.
We asked about delivery out of curiosity, and although we’ve never seen this place empty, they claimed they’re waiting for more popularity before offering door-to-door bread service.
Wifi: A little sluggish at times (could be because of the many people using their internet) but generally okay. Power outlets are more available than they first appear, hidden under the benches along the wall.
Overall: An excellent, spacious cafe of very reliable service and quality (as Wagas often are) but lacking in that more cozy, comfy coffee shop feel. Wooden benches dont exactly beg you to sit on them for hours on end. But if you prefer a bright and bustling atmosphere, why not choose a place that will waft you with bread smells and feed you a delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner while you’re at it?