Sunday, April 11, 2010

New Places: Song Fang Tea House

I have a new favorite cafe. If you know me, then you'll know that isn't terribly shocking. I'm continually surprised by the fact that, in a city with so few Western cafes (relatively speaking), there are still some that escape me...for years. Song Fang Tea House is one of those places. The reason I've never been is that it's not in the most obvious of places, it's down a small-ish street and not in direct line of the metro nor anything else. Also, no one I know has been there, yet this little shop has been around for two whole years. It's a find. You should book a ticket (or hop in a cab) right now to experience the quiet, peaceful, beautifully and simply decorated haven.

Song Fang Tea House is a 1930s lane house situated on Yongjia Road amongst a host of old buildings and was started by a French woman with a love for tea. I tell you, there is a certain design ascetic in which West and East meet that is hard to balance, but this cafe does it. Each of the three floors (one the tea shop, the other two cafe) features accents of bright provincial blue along with the traditional flower prints of Northeast China. The space itself is inviting with lots of light, views of the old neighborhoods, and worn wooden floors. Antique tea tins, wall hangings, and teapots evoke the feeling of Old Shanghai and the wicker seating and padded sofas are just the right level of comfort for an afternoon of reading and chatting.

The menu is just right too. There are several pages of teas, Chinese and French, some blended, some flavored. I had a black tea with hints of almond and chocolate. The food is limited to French pastries and cakes, which one can't really complain about. I had a nice light apple cake that perfectly accompanied my tea. The staff was really lovely too (although they wouldn't let me take any pictures on the first floor.) I'm dreaming of a day when I can return and while away the hours.


eva said...

great find! will definitely check it out. :)

scs said...

oooh la la! make a ressy (reservation) for you and me when we return. i love the provincial blue accents...reminds me of the farmhouse in Guilin where we stayed once.