This place is one of the few cafes that roasts its own beans and creates its own house blends. It's a pretty place, clean and bright inside, with wood-beams in the ceiling and a pebble-dash floor, but it's the coffee that really excels. The espresso is fiercely strong but packed with flavor, the mocca is sweet but not overpowered by its chocolate. It's run by a friendly American / Chinese team who are happy to chat with coffee aficionados or interested amateurs.
I'll keep this review short and to the point, since I'm only reviewing the bagels here, and I didn't try any savory breakfast sandwiches.
I'm not reviewing the guy who sat next to me eating his bagel with a knife and fork (!), but I'd give him 1 star if I could. Or zero stars. Eating a bagel with a fork deserves no stars.
Plain bagel w/ scallion cream cheese and smoked salmon - just...ok The portion of cream cheese portion was laughably small, which is consistently a problem of bagels in Shanghai (among the few bagel places we have). The thick serving of smoked salmon was appreciated, but it made it more like a smoked salmon sandwich with a bit of cheese. Not bad value for money, but poor ratio of salmon to cheese. Plain bagel itself was alright - I would have liked it a bit chewier. 7/10.
Cinnamon bagel with walnut cream cheese - was not good. The bagel tasted old - wasn't chewy at all, just kind of dry and pulpy in my mouth. Maybe the dough was overworked? The serving of cream cheese was also very skimpy, but it didn't have any other fillings to balance things out, so it was mostly a mouthful of dry, pulpy bagel. Not a pleasant experience. 3/10.
The final verdict: it's ok if you're craving a bagel in this part of town, but prices are high-ish and the bagels appear to be hit or miss. Considering Spread the Bagel seems to have found a new temporary home inside of Al's Diner on Xiangyang, that would be a far better choice for a bagel fix, as long as you don't mind making a trip over to that part of town. 3 stars of 5.
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