Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shipyard Cafe...a true Wuhu Road sanctuary!

Marc walking down Wuhu Road, Hefei
Beautiful rows of trees on Wuhu Road, Hefei

Wuhu Road in downtown Hefei is filled with trees....just rows of endless trees on each side that beckon you to walk through them especially in the autumn when the leaves turn yellow and bright orange, which not surprisingly fires up the appetite as well. It was lunchtime, my stomach was growling and the hunt for food was on. Being conveniently located downtown, naturally Wuhu road is filled with restaurants, mostly Chinese fare and coffee shops, but Marc and I were looking for something a little bit different from the usual. Having read about a charming place called Shipyard Cafe that serves great coffee, freshly made teas and some tasty dishes such as chicken wings and fries, we tracked it down in no time.

Shipyard Cafe is inconspicuous to say the least. Wuhu Road is also quite a long road but if you start walking on the right side of Wuhu just off Jinzhai Road, you will see it eventually. It can be easy to miss the outside sign written in green letters but if you walk slowly and look closely, it'll be worth the search. 

Shipyard Cafe's owner Jeremy with Marc by the bar
The moment we entered, we were greeted by Shipyard's friendly owner Jeremy. Jeremy is orginally from England and opened the cafe in April 2011 together with his lovely wife who designed the place. The entire place just envelops you in warmth and a feeling of joy. It has a very cottage-like and homey feel to it much like if you were in a French countryside cafe surrounded by flowers and sunlight. The place has several cozy nooks and private rooms and a nice general sitting area with one wall displaying a huge wooden book shelf with an assorted amount of books and even board games (I think I saw a Chinese monopoly!). The other walls are also decorated with Jeremy's beautiful photographs taken from his many travels. At the heart of the cafe lies the bar which was my favorite as it had a fantastic coffee machine, some pretty good wine and the most adorable hanging lamps with a beautiful design pattern resembling mosaic and stained glass. There is also a small outdoor area with one table for guests who want to enjoy their coffee al fresco when the weather is warm. The whole place was just screaming happy and cheery and I was glad we sauntered over for lunch.

The bar's beautiful hanging lamps
A table in the main sitting area
A private room
A cozy, relaxing nook
The charming book shelf
A lovely cabinet
Looking at the menu, we realized that the cafe doesn't normally have a regular menu for food but Jeremy revealed that if customers were hungry, they could happily whip up some dishes such as Steak and Chips (French fries) and Chicken wings. We each ordered the Steak and Chips which was great and the fries were just about the best we've tried so far in Hefei. They were made fresh and what a difference it makes. Real fresh potatoes! Marc ate all of his and half of mine! I glared at him and promised I won't be that nice next time, but I knew he was enjoying the fries so much so I gave in just this once. The main menu offers a really great selection of coffee and tea. I was impressed by the abundance of the tea list ranging from classic English teas, Chinese herbal teas and Fruit infused teas. I decided to try the Rose tea which came in a nice pot. It was fresh and delicious. 

Freshly made Rose tea
All in all, it is a great place to hangout with a cozy fresh atmosphere and we truly enjoyed our Saturday lunch. We will definitely be back soon and if you find yourself walking down Wuhu Road one of these days, why not check it out?

Shipyard Cafe 
377 Wuhu Road, Hefei, Anhui Province, China. 
Phone: +86 5512866895
Closed on Mondays