The hardest part about eating healthily isn’t taking the first bite – it’s the preparation that goes into making that first bite possible. When we say ‘preparation’ we don’t mean cooking. God no. Nobody has time for that anymore. We’re talking about the effort required to put on pants, trek across the city and find an affordable restaurant with nutritious food that tastes reasonably close to something humans should be eating. And sorry Sexy Salad, but your tofu just doesn’t fit the bill.
Until recently, our options included an overpriced superfood mecca, Cali-themed organic cafe and Somewhere Else. With the arrival of Wagas, however, which recently took over Costa’s spot at Taikoo Hui, there’s enough kale and cold-pressed tonics in this city to detoxify one square meter of polluted Beijing air. Okay, maybe more like one square foot, but still.
A popular brand in Shanghai with more than 50 outlets in China, Wagas suits the health-conscious digital nomad who wants to upload a gigabyte of data online and write a press release by the time she finishes her carrot and mung bean salad (RMB40/58). She’ll leave feeling a tad more accomplished than she is full, unless she decides to splurge on the well deserving lemon tart (RMB35) served atop a hefty crust and guarded by a mound of heavy cream.
If you haven’t gotten the hint, the cafe is a great spot for afternoon dates with your laptop, thanks to free fast Wi-Fi and a wait staff that keeps to themselves until you need something. Coffee is a good deal at RMB22 for a large Americano, but other fancy beverages seem overpriced, with the Lean & Green juice coming in at RMB36-40 for a puree of celery, spinach, lemon and apple.
Highlights on the lunch menu include the smoked salmon sandwich with cream cheese, capers, onion and rocket (RMB58) and the falafel wrap stuffed with mango kale salad, red peppers, yogurt dressing and carrot humus (RMB55). If living in China has opened your eyes to the joy of a sandwich-less lunch, try the grilled salmon quinoa salad (RMB68) or savory penne with pesto, chicken, pine nuts and feta for RMB58.
Though not our favorite cafe by any stretch, Wagas does offer another nutritious option for those working near Taikoo Hui – and we dare say it’s better than the food court.
Who’s going: health-conscious dudes on lunch break, unemployed shoppers
Good for: fancy fresh juices, edible dishes with kale