It was inevitable that the dusty alleyways of Dashilar would eventually begin to gentrify. Thankfully, rather than generic brands, the local powers that be have favoured local designers, boutique vendors and chic cafes – and Spoonful of Sugar manages to neatly package the lot into one beautifully designed space.
The café’s up-cycling ethos utilises tossed-aside junk to create a rugged aesthetic. Reclaimed baijiu vat lids serve as seats and reused discarded glassware as lights, alongside limited-edition prints by local artists. The space is the brainchild of Lin Lin, the founder of creative agency Jellymon – and clearly the work of a creative crew at the top of their game.
Their homemade sodas (20RMB), infused with earthy pu’er tea or prickly Sichuan peppercorn are as addictive as a bag of potato chips. Sandwiches are small, but satisfying; the tender chicken breast (35RMB) is melded with bursts of sweet, glazed onions and garlic mushrooms. The duck sandwich (40RMB), however, is dominated by the arresting taste of the tart star anise jam; too strong for our tastes. The quiches (30RMB) are worth the trip alone: soft, hearty beauties hiding chunks of sweet pumpkin, red pepper and aubergine atop a flaky crust.
The organic coffee (latte 28RMB) is best paired with one of the delectable sweets. Migas’ pastry chef Pol Anter has designed a series of low-sugar cookies in some interesting flavours: kumquat within chewy oatmeal (6RMB) and soft black sesame (3RMB) are two of our favourites.
There’s plenty to take home, too, with stacks of bagged cookies, homemade jams and eco-friendly lotions for sale. Come for the pleasant, design-led space, and stay to gorge on the fine produce.