Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Mr Nice Cafe 好好先生西餐厅 - Jingan - Shanghai, China

Mr Nice Cafe is a cosy café located in Jingan, one of the central districts of Shanghai. It’s easily accessible by train and you can’t really miss it cause it situated close to the famous Jingan Temple. 

You wouldn’t expect to find decent western food in China would you? One would usually be acquainted with faux western food that's usually below average or fusion style. You’ll be surprised because we definitely were. Shanghai doesn’t really have a big cafe culture yet, as compared to say Korea where you see an abundance of little cafes serving great food and coffee.

The cafe is extremely popular with the younger adults and does get busy during lunch and dinner. There are limited seats downstairs and more available upstairs. 

They offer bistro food and if you feel like high tea in the afternoon you could do that too.

Given that it was quite humid in Shanghai, the best way to cool down was to have a nice cold drink.

The ‘Grapefruit Green Tea’ was refreshingly tasty and served in such a cute pot with a swirly straw. 

The ‘Orange Juice’ is freshly squeezed. 

‘Spicy Seafood Pasta (RMB 58.00)’ was my dish of choice.  The balance of flavours was just right with a hint of chilli. There was enough sauce to coat the spaghetti and a generous amount of fresh seafood.  The spaghetti was cooked al-dente. I would definitely order this again if I came back.

‘Spaghetti Bolognese (RMB 55.00)’ is a classic dish and usually the safest option when presented on a menu.  This one didn’t disappoint. A good combination of flavours from the mince, tomato and garlic. 

Having stalked their Instagram account, I was drooling over every picture of their Mille Feuille, a French pastry with multiple layers of puff pastry and crème patisserie in between.

And here it is. That was the most anticipated dish of my entire trip. If you know me well, you would know how much I love eating cakes. Who doesn’t love a good dessert? Way too pretty to eat, just look at this beauty!

The ‘Strawberry Napoleon Cake (RMB 38.00)’ is their signature dessert.  Crispy layers of flaky pastry are separated by a smooth and light cream, then topped with fresh strawberries. It's a match made in heaven.Usually these desserts could be too sweet but their version was perfect and had the right balance of sweetness. 

Can I have the whole cake please?

This was one of my favourite restaurants in Shanghai. I enjoyed the laid back atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of city life. You could sit there for hour’s chit chatting away with your friends if you had the time.

280 Yuyuan Rd
Jingan Qu
Shanghai China 200040

Opening Hours
Monday - Tuesday: 11am to 9pm 
Wednesday - Sunday: 11am to 10pm


Sunday, 20 November 2016

Yang's Dumplings 小杨生煎 - Shanghai Hongqiao - Shanghai, China

Our trip to China has been an eye opening experience. 

Shanghai is different to what I imagined it to be and way beyond my expectations. A modern and cosmopolitan city where east meets west. It's the most populated city in China with a population of more than 24 million and growing.

Rapid developments and a massive transformation over the last few decades has seen the emergence of a plethora of high rise buildings everywhere literally. Shanghai is China's financial capital and is on a quest to becoming a global financial hub.

We weren't blessed with the best weather but I'm glad the pollution levels weren't at an all time high.

 I love the mix of modern and ancient architecture. 

The beautiful Yu Garden, believed to have been built during the Ming Dynasty.

The French Concession area is popular with the expats and an expensive address to boot. 

Communication was the most difficult part of travelling in China. The language barrier of not speaking Mandarin meant getting around was difficult. A lot of people don’t speak English so it was either rely on the internet to get information or point at things. There was no easy way around it. Taking the metro is probably the easiest form of transportation as it’s not only inexpensive but navigating through the many lines available is relatively easy with English signage.

We caught the bullet train from Shanghai to Beijing, a 5 hour train ride. I do recommend buying tickets earlier or booking online as getting tickets on the day can be a difficult process and overwhelming for some. 

Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station is huge and there are plenty of eateries within. 

Yang’s Dumplings is a popular chain of restaurants with several branches throughout the city. It has been mentioned in guide books and is a must visit. Yang's Shanghainese style pan-fried dumplings are iconic. 

From a distance you'll see the brightly lit signs and the words ‘Yang’s Dumpling'.

Plenty of seating is available.

There are English words on the menu so ordering shouldn’t be too hard,  point if needed. Everything is super cheap and affordable.

The ‘Pork Dumplings (RMB 8.00)’ which are also known as shengjian comes in parcels of 4. In a fluffy bread like skin and coated with sesame seed and spring onion, the bottoms of the dumplings have been shallow fried to a crispy golden brown.

The pork mince and hot soup filling is delicious and tasty. Be warned the juices could be hot and burn your tongue!

The ‘Shepherd's Purse and Pork Dumplings (RMB 10.00)’are similar to the pork dumplings but contains a lot more greens and it isn’t as juicy nor as flavoursome.

This dried chilli is a must have if you like spicy foods. It adds a whole new dimension to the flavours.

‘Pork Wonton (RMB 10.00)’ is a generous portion of slippery smooth dumplings with small pieces of meat encased in a soft pastry skin. The bowl is filled with a light broth which we found to be a bit bland.

The ‘Fish Ball Soup (RMB 9.00)’ has tender and bouncy fish balls. We were so full from the dumplings that we didn’t fully get to enjoy these soups.

You can trust Yang’s Dumplings to deliver on taste and consistency. It’s a must have and a decent place to get your fix of authentic Shanghai dumplings with branches located throughout the city. I would personally just stick to the dumplings. 

Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station (Shanghai Hongqiao)

Opening Hours
6:00am – 10:00pm
7 Days a Week


Saturday, 12 November 2016

Devon Cafe - Surry Hills - Sydney, Australia

Devon Cafe is a casual eatery located in Surry Hills, only a short stroll from Central Station. It's a place that has had numerous rave reviews and a favourite among many. They are expanding their business and have recently relocated to Barangaroo after closing their popular cafe Devon on Danks in Waterloo.

We visited Devon Cafe on a winter weekend morning and it was packed. We anticipated a long wait time given the number of people standing outside but we managed to get a table in less than 15 minutes, only be squished together on a table meant for two when we were a party of three. Though, we didn't really mind.

From the outside, the cafe looks small but upon entering you'll be surprised as it goes all the way to the backyard.

There is plenty of natural light in the sun-drenched courtyard so I took more photos than I needed to.

Their menu changes seasonally and deviates from the usual dishes we see on typical brunch menus offering a fine dining twist to the traditional breakfast and lunch options. They pride themselves on using quality ingredients that are locally sourced or house made.

It was truffle season so that meant there were special offerings of dishes with truffles. Oh what a luxury!

The 'Ultimate Toastie ($33.00)' is an expensive dish but when you include truffles in anything, the price seems to skyrocket. This is for your mushroom lovers out there cause there was a whole load of mushrooms.

It's a heavy dish and not for the faint hearted. You got melted cheese on top of a heap of mushrooms and two slices of crusty sourdough bread. Then there's the double serving of eggs on top with a generous shaving of truffles. A dish made for sharing as it could be too much for one.

'Breakfast with Sakuma's ($26.00)' is a top rated dish here and has made its rounds through Instagram and I now know why. Just look at the beauty of it.

The 63 degree egg is poached perfectly leaving a translucent texture. The miso grilled salmon is well seasoned and cooked to perfection. The meat is moist and falls off easily. While I'm not a salmon fan, I found the fish to be fresh and not fishy as some have previously commented.

'Crab Gone Chili ($25.00)' is my dish of choice. Angel hair pasta with blue spanner crab, garlic oil and a zesty herb crumb is deliciously tasty and wonderfully balanced. The specks of chilli gave it a nice flavour hit.

The words fries and truffle caught our attention. The Super Fries ($18.00)' were served with gruyere cheese, garlic, tasty cheese and truffle. Unfortunately this was disappointing. The chips were moderately warm and soggy. With the addition of two cheeses, it was saltier than expected.

Coffee here is brewed well. A strong cuppa is a great start to the day.

The matcha latte is smooth and rejuvenating.

A nice cafe offering something different from traditional breakfast and lunch menus. While I do find that it is over hyped, the food combinations worked well together.

76 Devonshire St
Surry Hills NSW 2010

Phone  no: 02 9211 8777

Opening Hours
Monday - Friday 7:00am - 4:00pm
Saturday - Sunday 8:00am - 3:30pm
Public Holidays 8:00am - 3:30pm


Devon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato