Cafe Zarah showcases the concept of ‘east meets west’. The building itself infuses traditional Chinese architecture with an European vibe. Its groovy atmosphere makes it the perfect place to chill in the summer.
The cafe is located in the middle of 3 train stations (Andingmen, Beixinqiao and Nanluoguxiang). Getting there is not the most convenient as it’s not located nearby to a train station – it’s about 15-20 minutes walk from all 3 stations. For newcomers in Beijing, I would recommnd to get here via Nanluoguxiang, heading north into the famous alley and walking through all the great shops and restaurants.
As for me, I hopped onto the green line and alighted at Nanluoguxiang. I’ve walked through the alley before and it’s usually very packed. So i grabbed a Mobike (A bicycle sharing start up) and cycled my way using the parallel street highlighted in blue.
The cafe itself is pretty large with different sections. Walking through from the entrance, you can see a courtyard towards the back where there are several booths selling some random stuffs.
At the back, there are two stairs heading to different parts of the rooftop. One of the section was closed for a private function, so I was directed to their other rooftop area.
The ambience at the rooftop was very different from the main cafe. Since it’s open air, you could feel a light breeze while enjoying your meal/coffee (if there’s wind).
They also have dedicated dj’s spinning at a deck! (That guy in white at the back). Their music selection ranged from progressive house to deep house, downtempo and R&B.
During lunch, 70% of the crowd were people catching up with their friends and 30% brought their laptops (including me). I’m actually writing this review at this cafe as we speak 🙂 As the evening approaches (around 3pm), more and more writers and readers start to dominate the space. Also, half the crowd were foreigners and half were locals.
During lunch, their menu was limited to their breakfast menu (until 3:30pm). So I chose to have their Zarah BreaDuring lunch, their menu was limited to their breakfast menu (until 3:30pm). So I chose to have their Zarah Breakfast.kfast.
It’s a pretty standard and complete breakfast set – bread, butter, bacon, sunny side up, smoked salmon, camembert, gruyere, a fruit bowl and orange juice. Nothing very special but it’s not bad either.
As for the coffee, it wasn’t that great. It was pretty diluted for a cappuccino.
They have several wi-fi connections to accommodate everyone, but even so, their internet speed was not fast enough to handle my photo uploads. Shouldn’t be any problem for normal web browsing though.
Overall, it’s a great place to hang out especially during the summer. If it’s a sunny day, I can highly recommend to get a table at their rooftop. Don’t worry about the heat as there are plenty of shades. It’s a lot more chilled as you are surrounded by nature and relaxing music 🙂 The food and coffee wasn’t the best, but the ambience makes up for it.