Kommune is my favourite friendly courtyard cafe in the middle of the Taikang Lu art and cafe precinct. It’s saved me with good coffee and banana bread many times, and the owner has an ironic sense of humour I appreciate – he’s Australian, after all.
They have a simple menu of good cafe classics, which you can tick off with a red wax pencil and hand to the waiter if you’re feeling uncommunicative. Their breakfasts are excellent, hearty and filling, and their coffee is made with skill. Strong, too. There are nice retro touches too – water is served in enamelled tin cups, smoothies come in heavy glass jars with a straw, and in winter their soup of the day is served in a decorated Chinese thermos, with a crusty bread stick tied to the side.
Inside they play old Chinese movies all day, and have a great collection of Revolution-era posters and figurines. I love their fish tank full of Communist heroes. The Chairman has a bad case of algae on his head though – someone needs to take him out and give him a good scrub with a hard bristle brush.