Shanghai Cafe Review: Ma Tatin

By Cristina Ng, December 4, 2018

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The Place

An unassuming French bakery has taken over where Oh.My.Burger! once served ramen burgers on Jianguo Xi Lu. Run by a French baker and a Chinese partner, the most unique thing about Ma Tatin is that they do not add sugar to their pastries and breads. Instead of white sugar, they rely on substitutes such as malitol and xylitol for less sweet, lower calorie versions of your favorite treats. If you are avoiding carbs, you should know that they still use wheat flour in their creations.

The Food

Ma Tatin has the standard assortment of viennoiserie, patisserie and bread that you’ll find at traditional French bakeries, ranging from RMB10-49.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

Named for one of our favorite desserts, tarte Tatin, they have two iterations of the upside-down apple tart. The first Tarte Tatin (RMB50) is a more straightforward interpretation which sees gossamer thin layers of shiny apples sitting atop a round biscuit, topped by a thick milk-based whipped cream with vanilla beans (they don’t use heavy cream here either). While it is quite satisfying to unfurl layers of tender apple slices, the tart is missing its characteristic caramel flavor as a result of the sugar substitutes. The same goes for the Apple Tatin Croissant (RMB25).

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

However, we barely missed the sugar in the shop’s excellent Hazelnut Brest (RMB50). A ring of airy choux pastry is filled with a rich and earthy hazelnut praline cream.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

In the savory department, they have Filled Ciabatta and Stuffed Crosscut Bread Boules (both RMB49), and we recommend the moreish Emmental and bacon mixture over the less pleasing mustard, onion and sausage. 

Food Verdict: 1.5/3

The Vibe

The elegant and minimalist café area has good lighting for photos if you like to put your meals on blast. While we can see ourselves returning for afternoon tea or a quiet workspace, we still prefer the original recipes of most items. It'll go over like gangbusters with the locals though. 

Vibe Verdict: 1.5/2

Total Verdict: 3/5

Price: From RMB10-50
Who’s going: Locals and sugar-phobes
Good for: cheesy stuffed bread, low/no sugar treats

[Cover image by Cristina Ng/That's]

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