FRIENDS comes to Shenzhen
Friends. A TV show watched in dozens of countries around the world. The series coffee shop ‘Central Perk’ is possibly the most iconic and well known coffeeshop in the world. And now it’s in Shenzhen. Named ‘Smelly Cat’ its not an exact replica but instead it’s a fanboy created haven for friends fans. The owner, aptly named Monica, spent 3 months finding the location and another 3 months decorating it. This has been a planned out opening and one that will hopefully spread enthusiasm through Shenzhen like a wildfire.
Opened 6 weeks this is a newcomer to the city’s cafe scene and a welcome one at that. Upon arrival you’d think you were actually in New York with Monica, Chandler and the gang. The resemblance is uncanny. All that’s missing is Gunther bringing over your coffee. It’s a small intimate venue, perfect for a relaxing sit and a caffeine hit. The tv show is on in the background should you want entertainment with your coffee. It’s a great place to work too, you can type away undisturbed as this is a relatively quiet place. The attention to detail here is quite staggering. The pieces, many of which are factory made bespoke pieces especially for this venue, will remind you of key parts of the friends series. From the obvious in your face references, to the little nods only hardcore fans will know.
The coffee here presents great value. So often coffee is overpriced in this city, much to the chagrin of coffee lovers, but not so here. The coffee beans are a blended mix from South America and have a smooth taste and a rich body. The cup size is very big, similar to the sizes served in the iconic TV series, and at 30 RMB for a latte it is excellent value for money. Tea is also available here (no surpsrse there it being a coffeeshop) however this tea comes from Fortnum & Mason an old well known brand from the UK. The aroma and scent of this tea blew me away and it screamed luxury. At 30RMB a cup it again screams value. The owner wants cheap prices because its ‘how you would treat your friends’. It’s a place to come, relax with friends and not break the bank in doing so. Refreshing to hear that!
Theres a beer selction available too. It’s a Beijing based craft beer company and the beers are each named after famous friends episodes such as ‘regina phalange’ or ‘you are my lobster’. Ranges from 30-50 RMB so its again a good price especially for the Shekou area. Cocktails are also available for those who want more of a New York feel to their café visit. Each cocktail is named after a friends main character and each has distinctive characteristics. The evenings have a café bar vibe to it, with future plans for open mic sessions and acoustic jamming. The perfect hang out venue.
There is a selection of food available, from burgers to pizzas. With the theme of sharing in mind, in keeping since its all about friends. The Friends burger was a built up of daily fresh handmade bread for the bun. It was soft and tasted very fresh. The meat is bought daily from the local market, it was well seasoned and juicy. The interesting part about the burger was the blended cheese sauce, made for a different taste sensation, but a welcome one. The burger is cut in half ready to share, and at 39RMB again I think it’s a great price point. Difficult to find a fresh filling burger for less than that. Only downside is the burger has mushrooms on and I hate mushrooms
I of course was in my element. Couldn’t resist a few photos
Shuiwan metro station exit C
Smelly Cat cafe&bar. 1F, Block B, Technology Buliding2, Gongye 6th Road, Nanhai Avenue 1057#, Shekou, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, China.
深圳市南山区南海大道1057号工业六路科技大厦二期B座1楼 老友记主题店 王楠 15013603617