This new cafe located right across the street from Munchies provides healthier and more wholesome options than your typical Western haunts. The crisp and clean space and the what you see is what you get attitude of Wattz makes it an appealing option for those wanting to get away from the street noodles and xiaolongbao for an afternoon and indulge in some fresh fruit smoothies or DIY salads.
Decor and service
The space’s color scheme is oddly reminiscent of a New York City Jamba Juice with its bright orange tiled walls and glass counters, but the plus of Wattz is that their smoothies aren’t served up in styrofoam cups. The bar holds all of the food, and for those who have spent any time in Shanghai, being able to see exactly where the fresh veggies are coming from before you eat them is a major plus. Service was done with a smile, menu options were listed in both English and Chinese, and the two individuals working in the store were very kind and spoke flawless English.
Wattz is currently in its soft opening, so a few things still seem to need to be worked out. As a client, it was slightly confusing when there was a chalkboard menu above the counter as well as a menu given out at the door. Were they the same? Was there anything that was on one menu and not the other? It was a bit difficult to tell. Also, some of their prices seemed a bit whacky. While the pot of tea was a good bang for your buck at 25RMB for about four cups worth per pot, the granola was a wallet killer at 35RMB a cup and the gelato equally as painful of a price with a double scoop costing 35RMB. Wattz’s cashier said though that prices are being evaluated and at their official opening, the store hopes to lower some, if not all, of the menu selection prices.
Food and drink
This can be a good spot for either lunch, tea, or dinner, depending on what you are craving. Lunch sets go from 68-72RMB and can be purchased from 11am-3pm, and tea sets go from 3-6pm and include a dessert and drink (45RMB). Many of Wattz’s counter options allow customers to pick and choose. The pasta bar lets diners select a pasta – fusilli, farfalla, gnocchi, etc. – and sauce – tomato, pesto, chirabo, four cheese, carbonara – and mix it together for a plate of Italian goodness at 52RMB. As for the salad bar, a variety of seemingly fresh options were displayed and for 48RMB, salad-goers can dig into a plate of veggies, one sauce, four toppings, and one meat option. Sandwiches are also available DIY style for 48RMB with a selection of meats and veggies once again along with the more unique option of mint yoghurt.
The smoothie and milkshake options are standard with a few curveballs thrown in there like the avocado milkshake for 35RMB and the chocolate nutella milkshake for 35RMB – because being healthy all the time would just be terrible and dull. The English Breakfast tea (my selection for the afternoon) was pretty spot on and a good deal at 25RMB. Coffee is a bit more expensive than I would have liked with a regular going for 25RMB, and lattes and cappuccinos for 28RMB. However, customers are paying for the surprisingly comfortable chairs, clean surfaces, friendly atmosphere, and not so crowded atmosphere that might come with a coffee at Starbucks, so it eventually seems to balance out. While the menu selections seemed to be leaning more towards lunch time options, Wattz informed us that customers can look forward to pancakes, waffles, and more brunch options being added to the menu once they do their official open in a few weeks time.
For expats who can’t stand another meal filled with noodles and rice, this is a good way to escape. With prices lower than many other “laowai” food chains offering fresh produce each day, Wattz serves up clean and healthy options in a no-extra-frills environment. Nothing is hidden or covered up for the customer. This newest branch from Origin Cafe holds a good deal of promise and seems like a good spot for an afternoon tea with the gals. Wait a few weeks for the prices to drop after the official opening and then enjoy.
Wattz, 999 Wuding Road, near Jiaozhou Road, Jing’an District. (武定路999号, 近胶州路). Nearest metro: Changping Road, line 7.
By Charlotte Evans
Charlotte Evans is a Food Contributor for Shanghaiist’s Food Section.
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