keep one eye open at night

Besides Henrici, the only other cafe (not counting Starbucks) that I visited while in Zurich was Babu’s Bakery and Coffeehouse, that is also within the city centre, but on the other side of the Bahnhofstrasse. In fact, this is much closer to the train station as compared to Henrici, and also closer to the main shopping area. I was sort of expecting to see a more traditional-looking cafe but then after a while I realised that Lowenstrasse (near where this cafe was) belongs to the newer part of Zurich. Niederdorfstrasse on the other side of the shopping area is where the old town is, and it’s also the part that I think is more beautiful. As much as I am totally a city and skyscrapers kind of person, I think I am also easily captivated by the old world charm when I see it.

It was still very warm when Sunday swung about that weekend, so it was an effort that I made to trek all the way to this place. As I was still rather full from breakfast in the hotel I thought I’d walk around before heading to some place for coffee/lunch, so I went to the old part of Zurich first and took in some sights and pictures along the way before I finally made my way here. Initially I was tempted to just snuck into Starbucks but I resolved to check out some place new, so here it is!

When I got there, the brunch crowds were just starting to clear out. I was rather lucky to get this table near the counter, a small table that was just perfect for one or two (table for one as usual), but after I sat there for a while the crowd started to thin out after they were done with their breakfast/brunch. The menu was all in Swiss-German, but thankfully the big chalkboard that hung above the counter had some familiar words I could read. Coffee names can’t be that hard right? So I ordered myself a mocha.

As for food, yes I can’t read German so the brunch menu they gave me was essentially useless. Since I wasn’t going to order a big meal anyway, sitting next to the display meant I could easily see what other stuff they have available. The concept here is that you look at the menu and after deciding what you want, go to the cashier to order and pay and the food and drinks will be sent to your table.

This was what I ordered. A lemon sponge cake that they called a pie. Again, this isn’t very sweet and I liked it because it was soft and freshly-baked. I love the smell of fresh bread and pastries and coupled with aromatic coffee, it can only be bliss.

The mocha I ordered also was not really that strong, perhaps having that amount of milk in it explained this. But it was still chocolatey goodness with a tinge of coffee bitterness. It was not bad. Babu’s was also a place I read about in the tourist information I got from the airport, and it is really worth a try with their wide selection of pastries and breads. The brunch I saw on the other tables looked great too, and the interior decor of the place had a country focus which somehow made the breakfast feel stronger. Maybe it’s just me but I always feel that breakfast/brunch places should have this country feel about them? Haha. The staff there were also friendly and courteous, even to a foreigner like me who spoke not a word of German, maybe except for Danke.

After coming out from the cafe, it seemed as though I had walked out into another dimension because from what I thought might be the country whilst in the cafe, outside was just modern buildings and cars all shining under the bright sunlight. For this, I actually prefered it if I were in the old town side and could come out to cobblerstoned sidewalks, still thinking that I am part of the dream I’d woven, instead of straightaway being thrown back into reality.

Perhaps this was the best part of Zurich, whatever free time I had, and of course meeting up with the friend I hadn’t met in years! Zurich had given me a lot to be unhappy about and I am glad to be home, but the cafes are always something I look forward to when I travel.

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