East Meets West in the Hippest Café 鼓樓老外最愛去的咖啡館@Café Zarah

(Reported on the program ‘FM Lifestyle’ on Radio Beijing International 11/07/2017)
怎樣才算是一家好的咖啡館呢?擁有溫暖的氣氛?還是優質的食品和咖啡?免費無線網絡的信號怎麼樣?今天我們為大家介紹的咖啡館Café Zarah剛剛被Timeout選為2017年度咖啡館的讀者之選,讓我們一起去看看它有什麼特別之處吸引眾多中外食客慕名以來!
Café Zarah是一間位於鬧市裡舒適寧靜的咖啡館。在鼓樓東大街古香古色的四合院內,配合了簡潔的現代主義風格建築,實在是一個中西文化融合的地方。這裡能讓顧客品嚐超過十種高品質的現磨咖啡,更定時推出季節限定的飲品,另外還有其他受顧客歡迎的中西式餐點和每天自家製作的新鮮蛋糕和冰淇淋。這裡的美食的一大特色就是“新鮮、新鮮、新鮮”和“好吃、好吃、好吃”!Café Zarah還會定期展出來自中國和國際藝術家的藝術作品和舉辦音樂及其它文化的活動。 
These years, new cafés sprout out everywhere in Beijing. We love that there are more options for our café-hopping adventures, however, it is with much regret that some of these places are substantially empty in many terms.What makes a café a good café? Is it a warm and inviting atmosphere? Or is it quality food and coffee? How about free Wi-Fi?
Located in a beautiful old-Beijing style courtyard house in Gulou area, Café Zarah has been newly awarded the Readers’ Choice of Café of the Year 2017 at the annual Time Out Food Awards. It’s said Zarah serves up killer coffee and the city’s best ice cream. Today, please follow FM Lifestyle’s foodie reporters Chloe, Kiko and our Hong Kong intern Richelia to find it out.
Cafe Zarah
Renovated with steel and concrete elements, its hippest Bauhaus-style interior reminds people of the 798 Art District. However, its wooden ceilings and tables as well outside courtyard and the terrace provide a homey comfort and invites for a warm summer evening to sit and enjoy.
Seda, the manager of Café Zarah from Germany, has been living in Beijing for seven years. She leads us to a meeting room on the second floor where we can see tables set on the terrace.
Starting from only a coffee place in 2007, Zarah insists offering authentic freshly house brewed coffee as their top priority. From cappuccino to Vietnamese coffee, Zarah serves more than ten kinds of coffee. They serve seasonal coffee as well, currently serving caramel sea-salt cappuccino.
As Seda said, cakes and coffee go very well with each other. “Everyday we come up four different kinds of cakes,” she said. “They are all homemade so you can have fresh cakes here every day. We also serve lava cake and tiramisu, which are also freshly made.”
During our conversation, we are served with a glass of alien dark green juice and Vietnamese dripping coffee.
The green juice is made out of fresh ingredients in the kitchen when customers place an order. As for the Vietnamese dripping coffee, we wait for a couple of minutes until the dripping has finished. Then we can stir in the condensed milk at the bottom. People should definitely give these special drinks a try.
Now Zarah is not just a café but also a restaurant. People also come by for authentic North European breakfast, as well as delicious lunch and dinner offerings with inspirations from European and Chinese cuisine.
What else Café Zarah provides to improve people’s overall experiences and distinguish it from competitors?
Zarah is a café, restaurant, event space, lounge, and art gallery in the center of Beijing. With regular photo and art exhibitions and other cultural events, they are a platform for art and culture between Europe and Asia.
“We see Zarah as a place of exchange,” Seda said. No matter it’s an art exchange or an idea exchange, it is the main focus of Café Zarah.
Seda said on Fridays and Sundays there are DJ nights. “Sometimes we have people came in and asked if they could play some of their music,” Seda said. We can see music is also a part of Zarah’s exchanges.
As a platform for art and culture between Europe and Asia, Café Zarah has a mixed team of Chinese and foreign staff and it tries to be a good neighbour in the community by hiring local people to buy locally sourced food materials for them.
Julia, a German designer, and Zhanglin, a Beijing DJ, are the original owners of Café Zarah. Not only the partnership between the two original owners, we can also see elements of East meets West on their menu. Apart from coffee and cakes, they also provide traditional Chinese food like hongshaorou (Red Braised Pork Belly) and Beijing zhajiang noodles (Beijing Fried Sauce Noodles).
Café Zarah occasionally invites local Chinese to teach customers how to make original Chinese festival food. On Chinese New Year, they are throwing dumpling parties.
Zhanglin’s mother came and taught customers how to make Chinese dumplings last year. They also teach people how to make zongzi (Sticky Rice Dumplings) on Dragon Boat Festival.
At this lazy afternoon, customers come and go with Chinese and expats being half and half. Some of them concentrate on working on their laptops, others chat quietly or simply do nothing but sit there to enjoy some me-time.
With four Wi-Fi networks to choose from, here people can enjoy a strong Wi-Fi signal and fast connection.
They say it is the combination of the various factors – good coffee and food, relaxing atmosphere, welcoming staff and inspiring space– that contribute to the popularity of Café Zarah, a café that definitely deserves a try from you.
Read the original article here.
(Reported by Radio Beijing International reporter Chloe Liu and Intern Reporter Richelia Yeung / Article by Richelia Yeung/ Photo credits to Café Zarah / Richelia Yeung)

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