Crave is a café and wine bar on Xinle Lu. It’s a cozy space with an enviable patio for al fresco eating and drinking. They’ve recently added a dinner menu, serving some crave-able small plates and simple yet comforting bistro fare.
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Crave opened in April last year, a project conceived by power couple/co-owners chef Holly Lian and sommelier Yaniki De Brouwer.
During the day, it’s a bustling café with folks stopping in for quick bite or a coffee and pastries. In the evening, it’s warm and inviting with an excellent vibe set to the soundtrack of an upbeat indie playlist. Tables are intimately spaced and accommodate up to only four people. It’s small, but that’s a big part of its charm. And when the weather is right, you’ll be hard pressed to find a seat on the terrace.
When Crave opened, the highlights were limited to fantastic pastries, sandwiches, and wines. (The mini Kouign Amanns are to die for.) For dinner, chef Holly has added some comforting bistro-esque dishes, including crave-able small plates like the roasted duck puff pastries and a satisfying bavette steak.
Here’s what to order for dinner:
There are also wine bar requisites of cheese and cold cuts, as well as fresh oysters.
When it comes to wine, it’s mostly a natural wine selection with a few conventional gems. Wines by the glass start from ¥60, bottles from ¥300.
As house somm, Yaniki also does a monthly wine “Craving Selection,” a house choice of wines with stories and a touch of education. It’s selection of about six wines, which are available as tasters (8cl), glass (12.5cl), or by the bottle, at a slightly reduced price than per usual. You can also get a flight of four from the Craving Selection for ¥220.
The dinnertime atmosphere at Crave is electric, intimate, and convivial. It’s also a place where you’re likely to run into someone you know, by which time you’d have gravitated towards the bar (or joined tabled) to share a bottle of wine.
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Crave Cafe & Wine Bar
Address: 208-1 Xinle Lu, near Donghu Lu 新乐路208-1号, 近东湖路
Hours: 9am-11:30pm, dinner last order 10:30pm