New & Noted: Grains
What: A coffee shop by F&B powerhouse, Franck Pecol
Where: 202 Wukang Lu, near Hunan Lu
Why: Great coffee in an upmarket part of town
Another player in Franck Pecol’s F&B empire on Wukang Lu, this coffee shop offers premium cups of coffee in the French Concession. As one would expect from such a distinguished restaurateur, the coffee beans are of extremely high quality and come from Yunnan, Ethiopia and Panama. The beans are also roasted fresh each morning, onsite, to ensure that the shop has the best blends around, and also gives that fantastic coffee aroma to the store. Single origin and house blends of the single origin beans are available with cups starting at a reasonable RMB 25 for brewed coffee up to RMB 50 for an iced mocha.
Apart from the coffee, the store also offers a variety of tea, smoothies and juices as well as “vinegar to drink”, which is surprisingly moreish and refreshing, in peach and ginger or raspberry flavours. Pastries, scones, cookies and muffins are also sold from RMB 8 upwards.
The shop itself is small, comprising of long, communal, high tables and stools, therefore not particularly conducive to staying all afternoon nursing a cup of coffee. However, the reason for going to this space is for a high quality cup of the strong stuff, not for whiling away an afternoon.
Our favourite part of the store has to be the clandestine hatch, which opens out onto the side of the road. Part of the store, but only accessible from the pavement and named What Is Your Flavour, this little hole-in-the-wall currently serves up artisanal ice cream, although this concept will change when the colder weather sets in. Now open seven days a week, at the moment there are four flavours to choose from, peach and cream, dark chocolate and almonds, salted caramel as well as raspberry and balsamic sorbet (RMB 30 per scoop). Pecol himself hasn’t even decided what the winter concept will be for WIYF, however, he has conceded that it will be something warming.