Last autumn, the new shopping mall Indigo and Hotel East emerged, right opposite my house in Jiuxianqiao 酒仙桥 in Beijing. Ever since then, the area has quickly gentrified. New offices opened up like mushrooms after a spring rain, bringing in smartly dressed young men and women. New restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries came into the scene to meet the new demand.
A little over two years ago, when I first moved to Jiuxianqiao village, it was a rather run-down but lively place populated by many migrant workers.
Overall, I am pleased with the transformation. As a foodie, I have keenly tried all the new establishments. My favorite is, by far – Feast, is the stylish restaurant on the second floor of Hotel East, a boutique hotel, a younger sister to the Opposite House. I tried it out ever since I heard the former chief chef Rob Cunningham. It didn’t disappoint. The restaurant offers a selection of Western, Asian and Chinese dishes, made from fresh ingredients and cooked in an open kitchen. All super healthy. The menu isn’t very long. Once when I half-joked and half-complained to the restaurant manager, he said they could try to make just about anything I want. Sure enough, they produced grilled vegetables to go with my scallops. Personally, I quite enjoy simple food from cheap eateries around the corner from the house. From time to time, it is fun to have fine dinning for a change and make it an occasion, dressed up and all. And my girls, who somehow got more expensive taste than myself, adore Feast, especially its semi-buffet style brunch. Partly to please them, I often take them there as a treat. At other times, when my kind friends offer to treat us, we’d go for Feast.
Tonight, I took my girls there to try out the new spring menu, focusing more on seafood and vegetables compared to the more meaty winter’s menu. I ordered Thai style grilled tiger prawns. Like many dishes here, it was richly flavoured with fresh herbs. Kirsty had veal, which was so tender that it melted in your tongue. May, who was having mild stomach problem, had creamy tomato soup, which she declared as the best soup she ever had.
We finished the satisfying meal with hot chocolate cake and Pavlova, Aussie Rob’s signature dish.
We returned home, heavier and happier. In our courtyard, we could see the Hotel’s big sign East winking at us in the darkness. We’ll surely return soon. Well, we just have an appetite for life.