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Check Please: Le Pain, Coffee In, Midnight Burger

Pastries on Huaihai Lu, another Jing'an cafe and late night burgers

 

Check Please is a quick round-up of some of the latest café and restaurant openings around town. In here we spotlight Le Pain, a bakery/cafe replacing CU2+ on Huaihai Lu, another Jing'an cafe and late night burgers. 

 

Bakery in Shanghai: Le Pain

 

Le Pain

Address: 1502 Huaihai Zhong Lu (near Wulumuqi Zhong Lu) 淮海中路1502号 (近乌鲁木齐中路)

Chef/owner Michael Wendling of Cuivre has revamped his gourmet burger shop, CU2+ on Huaihai Zhong Lu, and has turned it into Le Pain, a bakery/café. Wendling has moved CU2+ and sandwich concept Saveur upstairs, sharing the space with his other venture, T For Thai, calling the space “Kitchen 1502”. Cuivre remains unchanged. 

 

 

The bakery is gorgeous, and takes inspiration from the gold and copper tones of Cuivre, stacking gold-tinted racks that stretch upwards on both sides of the store, lined with fresh baked goods. On offer are baguettes (RMB15), Danishes (RMB18), pain au chocolat (RMB16), croissants (RMB14), and the like. Whatever you do, be sure to grab one of those meringues (RMB8 each), available as original flavor, lemon, matcha, almond, and chocolate. These crunchy bars of whipped sugar and egg white are just the thing you need for a mid-afternoon energy boost. 

 

Bakery in Shanghai: Le Pain

 

They also serve coffee (long black for RMB24, espresso for RMB19), teas and smoothies. The tables aren’t what you’d call comfortable for all day lounging—bar top tables and stools—hinting that it’s more of a grab-and-go spot. Based on the price per baguette, it’ll do swimmingly in this neighborhood. Opens at 7am. 

 

Cafes in Shanghai: Coffee In


Coffee In

Address: No. 2, 607 Shaanxi Bei Lu (near Xinzha Lu) 陕西北路607弄2号 (近新闸路)
Tel: 5235-1016

If you thought that Jing’an didn’t need another coffee shop, you thought wrong. Coffee In is a cozy two-story hut a street up from Sumerian that does solid coffee. They even have a small patio with seating. In addition to the regular coffee (RMB18 for an espresso), they have a few house specialties. These include a Salt Nutella Latte (RMB28), Lavender (RMB32), and Peanut Butter (RMB32). Understandably, these are filling and rich, and the kinds of caffeinated drinks that are more like dessert in liquid form. For hardcore coffee lovers, you can also get your brew as a hand pour or drip. 

 

Cafes in Shanghai: Coffee In

 

Coffee In also stocks a number of teas and juices, and make their own bottled kombucha. Try the grapefruit kombucha (RMB25). 

 

Cafes in Shanghai: Coffee In

 

The proprietors are three Russian friends—and it’s by no surprise that the café has garnered a strong following from the Russian community. The three entrepreneurs made their money years ago when they opened White Rabbit, a still-popular puzzle room near Zhongshan Park. They're also about to launch Cake Home, a bakery and casual café, serving baked goods and simple meals, located across the street from Coffee In, right next to Italian restaurant Da Camilla.

 

 

Check, please: Midnight Burger, Storefront

 

Midnight Burger

Address: 97 Xiangyang Bei Lu (near Xinle Lu) 襄阳北路97号 (近新乐路) 156-1893-0597

Tel: 156-1893-0597

Over the past couple of years Midnight Burger has evolved from a makeshift sidewalk stand catering to drunken nightclubbers on Fenyang Lu to a brick-and-mortar operation on Changle Lu. Now it resides just north of the corner of Xiangyang and Xinle Lu in a space that is home to a really awful pizzeria, a really mediocre Shanghainese restaurant, and host of other forgettable eateries. That's not an auspicious beginning Midnight Burger, and we're not sure if they have the chops to outlive their predecessors either. 

 

Check Please, Midnight Burger, Hamburger

 

The menu is a concise collection of burgers and other fried and starchy items designed to either thwart an impending or relieve an existing hangover. You've got three choices for their namesake dish. Their beef burger is a patty of "Austrian" [sic!] ground beef with cheese, lettuce, onions, and tomatoes. You can swap out the beef with a chicken thigh marinated in a fermented tofu sauce and then deep-fried. Or there is the veggie option: sweet potato, quinoa, spinach, chickpeas, and lettuce. All of the above are RMB48 and available all day. If you're dining during daylight hours, you get a few other handheld options, like the "Elvis Sandwich" (RMB58). That's bacon, peanut butter, Nutella, banana, and fresh lettuce (?!?).     

 

 

To go with all of this there are starters like "Midnight Chicken Wings," which get the same treatment as the chicken burger (RMB38), and Mexican spring rolls stuffed with beef, jalapeños and avocado sauce (RMB58). You can also get an order of fries doused in truffle oil or served with a side of "Sichuan sauce and cream cheese paste" which, as far as we can tell, is just Bolognese sauce seasoned with a bit of chili pepper and Sichuan peppercorn. Both go for RMB38. Some prefer breakast at Midnight. For them, there are dishes like homemade "Rainbow Cereal" with Greek yogurt (RMB48) as well as weekend brunch items like an English breakfast or eggs Benedict (RMB78). 

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Rachel Gouk
Rachel Gouk is the dining editor and digital content manager at City Weekend Shanghai. She's a ball-buster, but manages to charm her way back into people's good graces. Likes food, cooking, photography and heavy metal.

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