For those that have been to the west end of Binjiang recently, some will have noticed a new café spring up next to Subway notable by its suspiciously similar signage. Called Yuan Café, the similarities between the two ends at the logo - which we would later find out was actually at the request of building management wishing to maintain “building harmony!”
Upon entering the café we were greeted with a warm, English, welcome and a big, familiar smile. To fill in, last year we reviewed Lucerne Café, a cool and relaxed café made all the better by the host, Rebecca. Well, she has since left there and has turned her attention to set up her own café.
With a menu taken from the previous place, many of the favourite options we tried last time are once again available in Binjiang. Therefore, not wanting to skimp on our reviewing duties, we ordered up a feast:
Starting with a Cobb Salad (48RMB), layered and presented appetizingly, the rest of the food came thick and fast for it seems that Yuan Café understands that tables like their food delivered at the same time. Trying to cover all sections of the menu we ordered Borsch Soup (think Minestrone, 28RMB), a meat lover's pizza (M 52RMB, L 98RMB, with a choice of sauces - BBQ for us), Seafood Pasta (45RMB), Garlic Bread (18RMB), chicken tenders (26RMB). Ordering a lot more than this, it was all good Western comfort food, perfect for the not perfect weather we are having at the moment.
A hot drinks menu includes a full range of fresh coffees, hot chocolate, and English tea (all 18 - 26RMB). Rebecca was quick to point out that they are still in the opening phase and the two-for-one-beers (Tsingtao, Heineken, Corona 18/20/26RMB) are in lieu of beer on tap and the extended menu which is in preparation. Further probing mentioned that UK Chef Ben of Ex-Fanny's fame is advising on some of the menu - full English breakfast or fish and chips anyone?
All in all, with good food, ok prices, chilled atmosphere, comfortable sofa chairs and great service, Yuan Café is probably one of the better places in Binjiang to go and chill out and spend a few relaxed hours near forgetting the bustle of China outside. Full English service is already there to greet you, an extended menu and limited delivery service is to follow shortly. It is definitely worth popping past if you are in the area.