Cute salad packaging at this new cafe
Published online at City Weekend Shanghai (14/08/2016).
Ina Jar on Fumin Lu, as you may expect from the name, serves a range of salads in well-presented glass containers.
The space is tiny, but the floor-to-ceiling glass doors let in plenty of natural light so it doesn’t feel claustrophobic. Cheerful yellow benches and quirky cat pillows also help keep the space bright and airy, and the charging points under each table makes it a convenient place to work from. There’s a young, playful energy to the café, which ties in well with their gimmick and menu.
With space for only 16 in store, most customers opt for take out or delivery, which is available over WeChat. The glass jars are replaced with smaller plastic containers for easier handling and transporting though, so you won’t be privy to the full experience of the concept. On our visit, the staff was attentive and friendly. They weren’t particularly fluent in English, but communication wasn’t a problem as the menu is in both English and Mandarin.
Ina Jar prides itself on its use of high-quality ingredients and organic vegetables. Single salads range from RMB48 to RMB88 while salads big enough to share are RMB58 to RMB106.
They currently have seven different salads on the menu. The stand out ‘Summer Fresh’ (RMB 68/80) is comprised of poached shrimps, and a delicious combination of soft-boiled egg and avocado; the grilled baby potatoes are complimented well by the sweet chili and kelp sauce.
The ‘Golden Pastarol’ (RMB 58/70) came with seasoned pan-fried chicken breast that was extremely tender, walnuts and orange. Sliced cucumbers were stuffed at the bottom and layered with hand-made hollandaise sauce, which gave the dish a sweet and sour kick.
We also ordered the Detox Drink (RMB22) which customers should remember to mix well first before consuming. On our first sip, it tasted like regular soda, and only after giving it a vigorous swirl did the fruity flavors emerge.
Ina Jar has both classic and more innovative combos that all mesh well together, and the ingredients they use are clearly fresh and of good quality. However, we can’t help but feel that the jars would benefit from better layering. The concept itself is cool and pretty to look at, and would make for a great Instagram or WeChat post, but we found ourselves having to fumble around each jar to reach the ingredients located lower down, as well as having to constantly shake our salads for the sauce to be distributed evenly.
Having said that, Ina Jar is still worth a pop-by. We’re all for healthy eating especially when it looks cute. They have a deal on at the moment, where you can get a set of theSummer Fresh jar and Super Energy jar (smoked salmon, mango and grilled broccoli, RMB58) for RMB106 instead of the original RMB126. All salads currently come with 50% off drinks and a side of toasted rye bread.
Photos by Zhoe Zhang
Our Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
What: Ina Jar
Where: 183 Fumin Lu, near Julu Lu