At first glance, Me Café fits the mold of what you might expect from a “café”. The design is modern and open and the entire space is surrounded by floor to ceiling windows. Aside from the German flags on the counter (to promote the upcoming German football match), it is a bit generic with a lot of white, a sleek curved counter top and shelving lined with cup ware. It is a nice space and feels clean and new. The only caveat is that you do feel a little bit like a lab rat that the entirety of Sanlitun is staring at (that’s an exaggeration, but you get the picture).
Mercedes Me Café Interior Design
So from the space’s design and vibes (a whole lot of Katy Perry) the place makes sense to be called a café, but unlike all the other cafés in the city that serve up healthy salads, sandwiches and wraps alongside a lot of unhealthy pastries and desserts, this one is a Southeast Asian cafe. Not only is the theme totally different from your standard cafe menu, it is more reminiscent of a restaurant menu than a café menu with a range of small plates, bigger plates and giant plates (titled “sharing plates”).
Of course their beverage menu has a selection of cold-pressed juices and coffee for those who want a place to sit and people watch in Sanlitun, but you’re being a waste of space if you’re not going to town on their creative and tasty food menu.
Cold-Pressed Juices (RMB 32 each)-
Refresh Me (Orange, Green Mango, Ginger, Lime, Cayenne Pepper, Gouqi Berry) &
Detox Me (Green Apple, Bitter Gourd, Spinach, Kale, Kiwi Fruit and Lime)
Me Café’s Food Menu
The menu is an attempt to cram the entirety of the Asian continent onto one document and throw in some odd bastardisations of some western fare for good measure. It is actually pretty tasty and can be good value if you come with a big group!
LDS Snapshots of Dishes at Mercedes Me Café:
Squid Small Plate with Otak Otak, Bell Pepper, Garlic Aioli (RMB 68)
Our first sign that this café was nothing like other cafés. This dish looks more like something out of a fine dining restaurant in terms of presentation and complexity. A fantastic first impression, this first dish we were served sets the stage for the rest of our dining experience.
Pork Consummé with Black Garlic, Ravioli, White Pepper (RMB 45)
The sad thing about soup is that it never looks that great, but this pork consummé was an absolute highlight. Packed with flavor, this is an incredible soup – I was only a bit confused why it came served with chili, dark soy and crispy youtiao 油条 because it was really just lovely on its own and didn’t need anything else at all.
Chicken Rice with Chili, Dark Soy, Ginger Sauce – Poached with Bean Curd and Coriander (RMB 88)
The rice from the not Hainan chicken was delicious and full of flavor and the chicken itself was tender and a generous portion. Already de-boned, every juicy slice was ready to be smothered in the different sauces. Note that the dish also comes with a bowl of chicken broth.
Baked Potatoes with Shallots
Pork Knuckle with Tamarind, Blue Ginger, Gula Melaka (RMB 318)
My advice is go for the shared plates. Our waiter was horrified at the idea that we might eat the 4 dishes we ordered between 2 people, but honestly if you are hungry you could easily finish the mains. The shared plates offer a great portion for a much better price point if you are with friends.
The pork knuckle was superbly tender, if a little late to arrive at the table. None of the dishes disappointed, though they could have paced the meal much better. We waited around 20 minutes after eating the squid starter, pork consommé, and chicken before the pork came out.
Overall, our meal was excellent and this place is worthy of more substantial title than “café”, which I find very misleading. Rather than branding it as a café, this space should have been turned into a vibrant Southeast Asian as the menu is a much better selling point than trying to fit the mold of another café in the city.
I mentioned this briefly above, but as good as the food was, the dining experience was lacking in a lot of other departments. The service wasn’t great and the music was awful. In a nutshell, Katy Perry on repeat. They actually switched to a great song from the Offspring album, but this was quickly cut short after about 20 seconds before hurriedly returning to commercial pop. Nothing against Katy Perry, but hearing “Teenage Dream” for the third time was too much.
Also note, it is kind of awkward in the evening when they lock the front doors and force you to walk of the alternative entrance, conveniently filling your eyeballs with more car paraphernalia. Repeat after me: I will not waste money on random Mercedes merchandise, I will not waste money on…
Me Café Contact Details:
- Address: 1nd Floor of Topwin Centre, Next to Mercedes Me Showroom – 1 Sanlitun Nan Lu
- Tel: 8588-7150
- Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm
Kristen Lum has an accomplished background in PR, communications and events in China. Born and raised in California, Kristen has been based in Beijing since 2006 and is founder of the lifestyle blog called LumDimSum, covering mostly restaurant news and reviews alongside upcoming events around town that relate to Beijing’s muti-faceted, quickly-developing creative industries like art, music, film, health and fitness, fashion, nightlife, charity events, and travel tips.