Situated on Tianyaoqiao Lu is He & She, a small dessert cafe aimed at a younger crowd – particularly younger couples as the name suggests. Nestled between Starbucks, Uniqlo, and City Shop, it’s nice to see a small independent shop that serves up unique and tasty eats and drinks.
Decor and ambience
The shop lies toward the back of the outdoor shopping/restaurant mall aptly named Novel Place. I say aptly because He & She is a novel experience. It takes the idea of a dessert cafe but adding a little extra flavoring to create something fresh. The inside of the cafe is bright and the glass storefront provides an ample amount of light as well. Two of the other walls are covered in pale wood panelling and the third is a contrasting fuschia. Said walls are dotted with clocks – big ones, smalls ones, old-fashioned types, etc. Seating is limited due to the size of the space but in addition to a long table that seats several people, there are five or six small tables to enjoy your treats at. I only assume the overall concept was to take hipster hangout essentials and paint over it with just a touch of cutesy chic. If you get where I’m coming from… Don’t let that scare you off though, they pull it off well. For me the music was enough to stop in. They played almost the whole album of Abbey Road while I was there. Nice touch.
Food and drink
The Earl Grey Tea Chocolate Cake
Their specialities are cakes and panna cottas (think of a firm pudding like flan) but also branch out into smoothies and milkshakes. They have good old standbys like Chocolate Brownie (38RMB) coupled with more decadent options such as the Toffee Hazelnut Chocolate Pyramid (38RMB) and Earl Grey Tea Chocolate Cake (32RMB). I tried the Earl Grey cake because honestly I hadn’t heard of too many cakes made with tea that aren’t Matcha flavored so I thought I should check it out.
It was split into three distinct “layers.” Comprising the first story was a dense chocolate cake almost more akin to a fudge than cake but tasty nonetheless. The next layer was the Earl Grey, this was not cake but a panna cotta of delightful tea flavor and a touch of sweetness. Dolloped on top was a lighter chocolate mousse that was silky and rich. Opposite the cake was an accompanyment of chocolate sauce with just a hint of liqueur. The individual components were all very well done and delicious although I felt like the chocolate cake overpowered the more delicate flavors.
Wash it all down with their tempting smoothies and milkshakes. We especially liked the Cherry Mango Smoothie (38RMB) and Pear Honey Avocado Milkshake (35RMB). Hot Chocolate is about the only warm option on the menu but they do it right with 70% Chocolate and Toffee Hazelnut (both 35RMB).
He & She is the perfect nook for couples or friends to hang out and share petite, meticulously crafted sweets in a relaxed setting. The prices are decent and the quality is too. Afternoon snack time just got a little sweeter.
Novel Place, Room 08A, 133 Tianyaoqiao Lu, near Xingeng Lu (天钥桥路133号08A室, 近辛耕路). (0)21-5406-5778. Hours: 1-10pm daily.
See a complete list of our cafe reviews here
By Noelle Albert
Noelle Albert is a contributor for Shanghaiist’s Food Desk. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates to [email protected]!