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  Beijing Scene




BEIJING'S BEST BRUNCHES

Brunch has got to be one of the best epicurean traditions ever invented. Neither breakfast nor lunch but something in between, it is a ritual that can often occupy a whole afternoon. What better way to recover from the previous evening's partying than by sleeping late, and then spending the rest of the day eating and relaxing? If you've ever needed an excuse to overindulge, this holiday period is certainly the time to do it. Here are a few places in Beijing worth whiling away the middle of the day over food and drinks with friends:

The Den

A real hit with the dance-til-dawn crowd, the tables are usually occupied non-stop during weekend days as weary party-goers slump over a cup of freshly-brewed coffee or indulge in zesty Bloody Marys. The rustic orange walls and Chinese wood panels lend a balmy Mediterranean feel to a meal, taking the sting out of arctic Beijing. Due to the Den's popularity, the food does take a while to arrive. However brunch is supposed to be a leisurely affair, so kick back with champagne and listen to soothing live jazz while you wait.

A favorite among many regular Den-izens is the Eggs Benedict, poached eggs resting atop an English muffin and covered in a creamy hollandaise sauce. Another gratifying dish is the Gravalax Salmon, thin strips of smoked salmon cushioned by a fresh bagel. The triad of Western-style breakfasts - American, British and Australian - are generous in portion and true to form.

The Big Easy

In contrast to The Den, The Big Easy is extremely quiet. So quiet in fact, you may find yourself the only party enjoying Sunday brunch. Nevertheless, a table upstairs overlooking the lake in Chaoyang Park is not a bad way to polish off a plate of fresh eggs.

Although brunch is advertised as a "Sunday Jazz Brunch," the jazz band seems to be on vacation. No matter, the fare offered at the New Orleans-style restaurant is quite magnifique. Brunch includes a choice of dishes from the menu in addition to an all-you-can-eat buffet. The 'Eggs Toulouse' is a good choice for those in dire need of a starch fix. It consists of poached eggs on a thick English muffin topped with artichoke and a blackened filet mignon, smothered in a rich bearnaise sauce. The 'Eggs Sardou' is also a good choice and slightly lighter than the 'Toulouse.' The buffet offers a variety of salads, fresh fruits, and cheeses as well as a choice of breakfast staples like eggs, sausages and toast. But the highlight of the buffet has to be the authentic creole dishes. The supply of coffee and juice is unlimited, although being something of a coffeeholic I was in need of a strong espresso and not the brown coffee-like liquid that tasted like it had been left sitting for hours.

Brunch does not come cheap at The Big Easy. But if you're the type that can drink and eat twice your weight, the unlimited champagne brunch at RMB225 per person might be your best bet.

Schiller's 1

Brunch at Schiller's is a simple affair. If you are in the mood for a straight-up no-frills breakfast then look no further. This is the place for a fried breakfast minus the fear of having to decide which nouvelle cuisine sauce you would like on your eggs.

The decor is similar to the food, simple but sufficient. A comfortable German restaurant-bar with an eclectic mix of American knick-knacks adorning the walls, Schiller's is a perfect place to nurse a groggy noggin. In addition to the breakfast menu, Schiller's also offers a large selection of German and American food including frankfurter sausages and the ubiquitous hamburger.

Authentic schnitzel aside, Schiller's is also offering possibly the best value-for-your-money breakfast deal on New Year's Day. Only RMB50 per person for a set breakfast meal, or if you have dinner on New Year's Eve, then breakfast is thrown in for free.

The Garden Court restaurant

If you are really in the mood to treat yourself right this holiday, then The Garden Court Restaurant, located on the ground floor of the Beijing International Club Hotel, is without doubt the place to do it. Not only is the ambience incredibly comfortable and the waitstaff constantly on hand, the food is outstanding. Brunch at The Garden Court is an enormous buffet which includes almost every kind of dish imaginable. In fact it is difficult to decide what to eat. There are cold cuts, cheeses, and a large selection of breads and salads - and that's just for starters. An enormous table piled high with international dishes is loaded with cuisine from around the world including Western breakfast sets, pasta (cooked for you on the spot), omelets with a variety of fillings, and a multitude of other treats to sample. This is the perfect place to sit back, recuperate and slowly gorge yourself on the all-you-can-eat special for RMB200. The coffee is rich and the fruit juice is freshly squeezed. In fact, the only drawback to this place is that you'll have a difficult time pushing yourself away from the table.

Restaurant Guide


Arisu Korean Restaurant

Sipping and Swinging
Taiwanese Tea-Shake

Book's Cafe

French Cuisine en Chine

Green Tianshi Vegetarian Restaurant

Smoothly Sweet
T-Bone at St. Mark's Steakhouse

Imperial City Old Mom Chafing Dish

Celestial Court

Red Capital Club

The Blue Lotus

Club Vogue

Le Beccassine

Triumphal Arch

Hotline 1950

Timbuktu

Coffee and Books at Sculpting in Time

Rotary Sushi

Jintaiyuan Restaurant

The Mother of All Theme Restaurants

Waterside Cafe

Sushiya

Tian Gen Yuan Authentic
Beijing Restaurant

La Place

Havana Cafe

Alamuhan Authentic Xinjiang Cuisine

Scandanavian Food

Real Spring Rolls
Real Beijing Food