Review: Little Huia Cafe – Shanghai

Little Huia Café – Shanghai

ADDRESS: 403 Dagu Lu, near Shimen Lu, Jing’an (on the other side of apartment complex Top of City)

NEAREST METRO: Nanjing Rd (W), 15 mins. Walk

ACCEPTS: Cash, Local and international cards accepted (No American Express)

WEB: www.littlehuia.com

Where we stayed upon arriving in Shanghai was really close to a few choice eateries. After our long flight from Sydney we decided to wander (in a haze) around and happened across this café, so being true kiwis we thought we should at least go and frequent the café, more so out of curiosity rather than necessity.

The first thing that sprung to mind for me as we entered was how dark the décor was. Presumably to represent the black out of most modern kiwi symbols i.e.: The All Blacks (rugby team), the silver fern emblem (silver fern on a black background), most NZ national sports teams’ attire etc. The upstairs seating area is selectively lit but predominantly dark. The main area as you enter has all the natural light coming in so is consequently well lit. (Not sure if it is to contrast between the silver and black…who knows)

The second thing that struck me was the background or “ambience” music that was being played, not sure about most people but Kiwi music is not Taylor Swift or whatever it was that was playing which sounded eerily like Taylor Swift,(not that we have anything against Taylor Swift or the like) but being called Little Huia and marketing itself as a Kiwi Café you would at least expect some quality NZ sounds a little Dave Dobbyn, Fat Freddys Drop, Rhombus or other equally as amazing NZ Music artists to be played (we are by no means NZ music elitists, but every time we went there it was the same music!)

It’s a quaint little place with lots of Kiwi themed food (i.e lamb, organic etc ) and beverages available and even some Australian drinks as well. As you can come to expect with most Shanghai wait crew, the staff tentativeness is hit and miss, same crew on most days but some days they paid attention to you and were amazing and some days they just looked like you were hindering them from doing nothing.

It’s fairly reasonably priced for laowai/foreign food and seems to get a good trade which is always warming to see. They also do a monthly event where you can head in and have a cuppa with other expats of the same ilk arranged via the Kea network in Shanghai.

Brunch Menu range: 40RMB for Blueberry Pancakes or Omelette to 65RMB for the Big Breakfast (bacon, egg, sausages, hash brown, mushies, tomatoes and toast)

Lunch Menu range: Wraps, pastas, burgers, sandwiches, pizza and soup 45RMB to 90RMB eg.NZ lamb wrap w/pepper, onion, goats cheese and fries 55RMB, Kiwi Burger w/lettuce, onion, cheese, lamb Pattie, side of fries 90RMB.

Dinner Menu range: STD Mains, Salads and Desserts. Salads 40RMB – 65RMB e.g. Rocket & asiago Salad 40RMB. Mains 90RMB to 198RMB e.g. Shepard’s Pie – lamb patty with mash topping and side of steamed greens 90RMB, NZ Sirloin (250grms with a choice of chips, mash and red wine or black peppercorn sauce) 198RMB

All desserts 30RMB – Pavlova, Manuka Honey panna cotta (delicious) Cheesecake, Brownie, Sticky Date pudding or NZ Ice cream.

Drinks Menu range: Alcoholic and non-Alcoholic. 15RMB for Soft drinks through to 60RMB for a glass of red/white wine. Beer is 25RMB local and 30RMB for import – Corona, Stoke gold, Coopers etc.

Given the locale we ended up frequenting the café a few times and tried various beverages and meals.

The best meals we had there was the Kiwi Fish and Chips, the fish (snapper) was fantastic (didn’t taste frozen) and there wasn’t tons of batter coating the pieces and the chips were cooked to perfection and the rocket and asiago salad. Yes, a salad! I think the combination of the asiago with the delicious pacific rose apple slices and the white balsamic vinegar dressing really made this a delicious side dish (or even main if you’re so inclined). Also the Manuka Honey panna cotta dessert was really truly delicious, smooth in consistency with the right amount of Manuka honey and the tartness of the kiwifruit offsetting the creaminess of the panna cotta and the sweet from the honey.

All in all a good little place, we both really like it and we hope they continue their success and that it remains as a mainstay for the expat kiwi community here in Shanghai.

Note: No photos were taken but if we ever head back there again I will endeavour to snap away!

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