Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Shanghai] Anna Maya

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Anna Maya

Add: 3 Taojiang Lu, near Hengshan Lu / 桃江路3号, 近衡山路
Tel: 6433 4602
Hours: 10am-10pm
Price: 110~150 RMB/set
Visited: Nov 2010 (visit 2)

Anna Maya has caught my eye several times before with its vibrantly yellow wall, but it wasn’t until this past week that I decided to give it a try. This vegan cafe is all about natural, whole, and unprocessed food – macrobiotic philosophy, if you know what that means (I didn’t). Let’s see what it entails.

The owner of the cafe, a cute little Japanese woman, greeted me as I entered the door. Upon my request to see the menu, she made detailed recommendations and explanations on the dishes, which all sounded surprisingly delicious even though there is absolutely no meat or dairy involved. The menu is of course hand-written and updated regularly with seasonal changes.

Anna Maya serves three kinds of sets ranging from 110 RMB to 150 RMB, but you can also order a la carte. I picked set 2, which includes soup, salad (four choices), main, and dessert. The salads are a variety of interestingly attired vegetables, and you can pick four to be served in small portions. All were delightful:

Sweet potato apple and black beans, ??? (not on the menu), grilled mushrooms with coriander, beetroot with lemon juice.

Tofu with apricot & Chinese camomile, mustard pumpkin, gobo & carrot, White beans with basil tofu cream.

The cauliflower and white cabbage in soy milk sounded suspicious, so of course we ordered it to feed our curious souls. This soy milk-based soup with hearty chunks of cauliflower, white cabbage and black beans turned out to be both filling and soul-warming. The pumpkin puree was also nicely flavored and much lighter than the usual pumpkin soup, since there is no milk or cream added.

I tried a little bit of Thai yellow curry, which was more like a light soup and didn’t exactly taste Thai as it lacked spice and coconut milk. Not a fan.

Avocado & beetroot donburi, on the other hand, was lovely. The lemon dressing gave the beetroot a nice zest, while generous pieces of avocado added a soothing richness to the mix. The dish was simultaneously sweet and sour, warm and cold, creamy and zesty, with all the ingredients blending nicely together.

I didn’t exactly know what “tofu lemon with peach” entails, but I was expecting something similar to the zesty but creamy lemon panna cotta-like dessert from Dan Cafe. Actually, the tofu lemon with peach looked more like cheesecake, but the cheese part had a sandy texture and tasted like it was made from the residue you get from making soy milk. It was undoubtedly a healthy tasting piece of pie, but I think I’ll choose something else next time.

Anna Maya is not for everyone – needless to say, this will not be a favorite for the carnivores – but if you are looking for some light and healthy food, give it a try. For me, the beetroot donburi itself is worth another trip back to Anna Maya.

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Written by sugarednspiced

November 13th, 2010 at 9:25 am