In an area still waking from a post-construction stupor, cafe For Times 2’s wide, windowed front looks out on a square where grandparents and kids make use of afternoon light.
The spacious cafe sees low tables that seat four and are spaced far enough apart to lend a bit of privacy, heightened by the piddle of a mock waterfall running along a front window.
A baking area allows for classes, with printed photos of grinning, cake-fondling students decorating a hallway wall and hung above bags of unroasted coffee beans.
In a city with cafes that have either been squeezed miniature by soaring rent, or packed solid with hard seats to maximize profits – For Times 2 has is undeniably comfy, but how’s the menu?
A pensive looking ‘roasting expert’ grips a stopwatch and snorts at the rattling Vortec Pro he has wheeled outside during our visit – part of what we’re told is the expert operation of the cafe, and fair enough, the rich dark roast latte (RMB30) hits all the right notes. Menu-wise, however, there isn’t much setting For Times 2 apart from other well-run coffee shops.
Cakes served change daily, sometimes the handiwork of the cafe owner and always priced at RMB29, a reasonable ask for the slice of green tea log cake we try, though it’s clearly geared to locals by landing south of the sweet side.
But the RMB29, almost saccharine, kumquat lemon drink will make up for any lack of sugar in the pastries.
Asked, the proprietress says she wants her cafe to feel like home, seeing as she grew up with busy business parents and childhood loneliness – this may seem like an odd thing to say, but it's the narrative Chinese audiences prefer, and speaks to the cafe's target customers.
Long to short: don’t expect a bohemian nexus of alternative attitudes and outbreaks of slam poetry, it’s not that kind of cafe. Instead, you’ll find a coffee shop where patrons nap in the sunlight to the tinkling of piano music piped through the speakers.
Who’s going: selfie hungry makeup experts, long-legged coffee drinkers
Good for: spacious relaxing, cake discussions
Nearest metro: Dengliang (Exit E), 40 minutes (bus to Shekou Walmart recommended)
Daily 9.30am-9pm. See listing for For Times 2 Cafe.