You know, a precious time when two bearded dudes can share a heart-shaped Tiffany blue cake with a brilliant-cut faceted surface and a chocolate mousse filling. Special moments where two men can sit in awkward silence while avoiding their growing feelings of personal shame and picking around topics that would require them to reveal any real emotion, while sharing a BLUE BOX CELEBRATION CAKE FOR 4-6 PERSONS. So that’s what I'm doing for the Special Period.
I won’t put the other bearded dude on the spot, but at least one of us was exactly the type of customer the Tiffany Blue Box Café is undoubtedly trying their hardest to attract: overweight expat male food writer. Yep, it seems obvious. The light and airy décor, the windows overlooking the X crossing at Huaihai Zhong Lu, the delicate desserts in the shape of gems and diamonds, the super colorful and dainty dishes shouting at you to TAKE MY PICTURE — all of it carefully conceived and deployed to trap me, a man seesawing his way to 40, to bring another man, also around 40, wearing plaid flannel and jeans, in a jewel encrusted hunting snare.
Well, they got us. They caught us by the WeChat Wallet and turned us upside until even the loose diamonds shook out, as we begged them for more. More dainty raw and cured fish dishes with split raspberries and tiny lily pads!
57th Street Seared Tuna: Winter citrus, chicories, avocado, soy-yuzu vinaigrette, 158rmb
Lemon & Dill Salmon Gravlax: beets, fennel, horseradish cream, raspberry vinaigrette, 148rmbMore carefully composed and well-executed foie gras on toast with delectable caramel apples!
Seared Foie Gras: pickled cranberries, spiced apples, brioche, 158rmbMore cod fish cakes with celeriac, more sliced sirloin with morels, more moist chunks of barramundi with lentils, more! more! more!
Smoked Icelandic Cod & Potato Croquette: arctic shrimp, trout roe, celery root, apple, 148rmb
Barramundi: arctic shrimp, artichoke, black trumpet mushroom, lentils, black garlic sauce, 198rmb
1837 NY Strip Steak: celery root, morels, black truffle sauce, 358rmbAt this point, date going well, finally settling on a topic of common concern — the qualities and traits of Cages BBQ — emotions neatly side-stepped, it felt like I could finally bring out a little something special to show my bro-hood and firmly cement the bond.
The Afternoon Tea Set, 399rmb per personAfternoon tea. The ritual of the male species. 399rmb per hairy man with a cup of coffee or tea.
The Blue Box Celebration Cake (4-6 people), 588rmb
Signature Chocolate Heart (for 2), 158rmb; background: Tiffany Diamonds Cheesecake, 118rmbI can’t speak to your background or experience, but for me, a man on a platonic date with another man I don’t know that well, the Tiffany Blue Box Café is really there for me. It grabs me by the rough hand and leads me into comfort, into soft banquettes of light blue, where I can spend the afternoon gossiping about tech gear and credit card reward offers, while dining on the haute café cuisine du chef consultant Anna Bautista. It gets me.
So, see you later The Shed. Au revoir, The Camel. Toodles, Boxing Cat Brewery. Bro you later, The Rooster. I’ve got a new date to dance with. And his name is Tiffany.
The Tiffany Blue Box Cafe, 2/F, Hong Kong Plaza, 283 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Huangpi Lu, is not really for men. Click here for more details. Reservations must be done by WeChat and may be hard to get. Alternatively, show up at 11am and hope for a table.