Despite having to make an arduous trip across Hangzhou to the riverside to reach our lunch spot, walking into Kale Cafe managed to improve my mood. The first floor is exactly how you’d imagine a cafe to be – small tables that spill out onto the front, plenty of neutral colours and natural lighting. Wavy wooden beams arc over the room and tint the air with the familiar smell of lumber.
The second floor, again featuring generous amounts of wood, has more of a nook feel to it and substitutes the stiffer seating of the first floor for something more relaxed in which to enjoy a late coffee or a cold beer.
The menu is quite select, opting to offer a smaller selection and thereby able to make each one to a higher standard. The Americano (32RMB) and Cappuccino (34RMB) were both well made, and with a stronger dose (as requested), and arrived in an almost soup-bowl sized cup. The fresh Dragon Fruit (labelled as Pitaya) and Apple Juice (38RMB) was nice but came second to the Mint Passion Fruit Frappuccino (38RMB) that my counterpart ordered, the tastes combining to form the perfect light, sweet treat on a warm afternoon.
Kale has a (small) handful of dishes to choose from, and on account of their size, would work either as light lunch or for a couple of people to share as a snack. The Toasted Tuna Sandwich (38RMB) had a light sauce and came between two nice slabs of brown bread, my only criticism being that there wasn’t enough. The Chili Paste Chicken & Bacon Spinach Wraps (38RMB) were a little more substantial, lightly toasted and filled with egg, tomato and bread pieces, the spice very mild. The Spinach Cheese Pizza (78RMB) was covered with a generous amount of greenery. Currently, a lunchtime meal deal (10am-2pm) is available that includes an appetiser, coffee and sandwich for a measly 58RMB.
Kale’s cakes are worth a mention and are a pleasure to see and taste. The Caramel Passion et Chocolat and the Lemony Mouse Aerienne au Citron Vert (both 34RMB) disappeared very quickly after only a short stay on the dish. These desserts and more can be enjoyed at half price with any purchase of their Italian coffee during weekends.
Smoking not permitted, on-street parking available.