On Zheda Road, on the ground floor of the Hanting Seasons Hotel, you’ll find the Lotus Café. The interior is minimalist yet comfortable, softened with a mix of woods, art nouveau kitsch, and shabby chic refurbished furniture. Basically it looks like someone opened a café in an abandoned Pier One, and that is in no way a bad thing, but there is more on offer at this cozy little spot than a pleasing décor.
The proprietor is trained in the French bakery and confectionary arts. One look at her dessert menu (Chinese only but there are pictures) and you know she’s got the goods, but that is hardly all. At the Lotus Café there is a shared pride in making as much as they can in-house. The majority of what you’ll order is entirely handmade, including their hamburger which we’re going to spend a lot of time lavishing praise upon.
We popped in for lunch shortly after their 10:30 opening time and perused the menu to see what they had. Coffee, teas, soft drinks, juices, and beer all start around 30RMB. We ordered a cup of their Lotus Café Signature Blend coffee (36RMB), and a couple of set menus which included soft drinks. We can rationalize paying 36RMB for a fantastic cup of coffee, and it was good, but we can’t rationalize spending almost the same amount on a 12 ounce can of soda.
The first set to arrive was the Lotus Café’s Original Curry and Rice (38RMB) which was as flavorful as it was healthy as they use very little salt in their recipe. The other set menu, the show stealer, was the delightfully named, Burger Queen Set Meal. For 58RMB you get a few yummy potato wedges (we wish we got more), a soft drink, and one of the best backyard burgers we’ve had in Hangzhou in almost a decade. The handmade patties tip the scales at almost a half pound and come served atop a top-notch homemade bun, with fresh lettuce, tomato, and onion (ketchup and Dijon mustard available upon request). We almost choked on more than one occasion trying to inhale this behemoth burger. We simply could not get that goodness in our bellies fast enough. This place is worth checking out for the cheeseburger alone.
The desserts are also worth looking into if you’re in the mood for something delicately made and bursting with flavor. They’ve got a wine list and hard liquor but it’s important to note that it’s only by the bottle, not the glass. The food menu is in Chinese, Japanese, and English. Parking available on street. Closes at 11:00pm.