Tartine began as a business school assignment for German national, Louisa Birkhahn. When she came to Shanghai after finishing her studies, she decided to bring the concept to life. After a successful pop-up at The Fellas, the hunt for a location began.
Since taking over the space formerly occupied by Cafelito on Jianguo Xi Lu, Tartine has quickly become a regular haunt of Anken office occupants and local residents.
Influences for the concept include the famous San Francisco bakery of the same name, Melbourne’s café culture, and raw desserts from New York. Simply speaking, Birkhahn is serving up some of her favorite fresh and wholesome treats.
Open-faced sandwiches (tartines in French) are the core offerings at the cafe, while some other brunch items and baked goods complete the menu.
Using rye bread from La Boulangerie by Le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire down the road for her tartines, the salmon beetroot (RMB98) is the most satisfying, thanks to a generous schmear of cream cheese, some juicy caper berries and plenty of hot jasmine tea smoked salmon. If carbs are not your jam, the salmon is also served on the omega plate (RMB98) with poached eggs, avocado, kale and cherry tomato.
The goat cheese tartine (RMB55) is another good option with a tangy lemon herb chevre, asparagus, peas and pistachio. The obligatory avocado tartine (RMB55) gets flavor from tahini, parsley, feta, tomato and chili. Less interesting options are the cheesy eggs (RMB60) and ham and cheese (RMB70) tartines, which could use more oomph.
Cakes are on the healthier end of the spectrum with options such as a raw raspberry dream cake and vanilla cheesecake (both RMB40). The latter is totally vegan and features a rich ganache of raw cacao, coconut butter and coconut milk. The lemon oil cake (RMB35) has a surprisingly tender and moist crumb for a dessert made of whole-wheat flour, thanks to the use of house-made yogurt in the batter.
Beverage options include organic coffees using Earth beans (from RMB25), wellness shots (RMB20), smoothies (RMB38), Farmhouse cold pressed juices (RMB35) and alternative coffee-free lattes (RMB40) such as matcha, turmeric, beetroot and cocoa.
Food Verdict: 2/3
The décor is minimalistic and takes a cue from the green hue of the tree-lined street outside. Those with time and energy can make food of a similar caliber at home, but Tartine offers convenience in a relaxing environment that is well worth a visit.
Vibe Verdict: 2/2
Total Verdict: 4/5
Price: RMB100-200 per person
Who’s going: health-conscious locals and home-sick expats
Good for: all-day brunch and coffee breaks