Cook Me Beijing

Food Blogging in Beijing.

Going back to l’Atelier

The more I go to L’Atelier in Central Park, the more convinced I am that it is the best bakery in Beijing as of today. I have talked a little bit to the owner Constance and she has experience working in luxury hotels in France, which is reflected in the attention to detail she puts in her pastries.

I recently tried two more pastries there: the strawberry tart and the “galette des rois”, a special cake that we eat in France for Chandeleur. It is basically a flaky pastry with a frangipane cream inside. The quality of both cakes was very high. I was particularly impressed with the quality of the pie crust. I wish I could make a dough as thin, regular and visually flawless as theirs. The only thing I didn’t like at L’Atelier so far is the hot chocolate. It is to me more of a ganache, or very reach hot chocolate, and I just find it too rich to my liking.

As most good things in Beijing those pastries come at a hefty price. The croissant is almost double the price of other bakeries (12 RMB for plain, 14 RMB for chocolate croissant if I remember well). My favorites so far are the chocolate croissant for the perfect chocolate consistency inside and the good butter taste, and the focaccia to make a quick grilled panini for lunch. For other breads I usually prefer to go to Pekotan.

  • Unit 102, Tower 20, Central Park, 6 Chaoyangmenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District
  • 朝阳区朝阳门外大街6号新城国际20号楼102底商
  • 6597 0724

Southern Barbarian

Beijing is really getting its fair share of Yunnan restaurants. Southern Barbarian is one of the latest additions to the list. It opened in the second half of 2012, in the same space that Haney Restaurant (another Yunnan place) used to occupy in Baochao Hutong. The space looks completely different, much more modern.

Southern Barbarian is a good place to come with a group of friends, and enjoy some drinks and food. The food is maybe not the best Yunnan food I’ve had in Beijing, but the extensive selection of beer and good cocktails make up for that.

I tried the Basil drop (55RMB), a very green cocktail that had the perfect balance of sweetness and freshness. I was also happy to see some international beer selection such as Rogue Dead Guy for a reasonable 38 RMB. The owner obviously cares a lot about his drinks and asked us our comments about it. Please note that every Monday in March is Ladies’ Nights, which means free flow cocktail or house wine for free if you get dinner there. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me, ladies!

As far as food is concerned, the dishes were hit or miss. I found the cold dishes better executed than the hot ones. I appreciated the cold tofu, mint salad and stuffed lotus root. We tried many of the hot dishes (ribs, jasmine buds, pineapple chicken…), and even nothing was bad, nothing also stood out as really good. This is more the kind of place where you can go knowing that the food won’t be bad, the drinks will be good, and good company will make your night. The proximity to the Gulou bars is also a selling point, but I might just be back for that Ladies night and get my fill of Basil Drop…

  • 107 Baochao Hutong, Dongcheng District
  • 东城区鼓楼东大街宝钞胡同107号
  • Daily 11am-11pm
  • 6401 3318
#homemade curry puffs with my #first homemade puff #pastry! I was so happy I finally did it and managed to get it very flaky and puffed #food #foodie #cook #cooking #thai #home #dinner

#homemade curry puffs with my #first homemade puff #pastry! I was so happy I finally did it and managed to get it very flaky and puffed #food #foodie #cook #cooking #thai #home #dinner

Nola: a good place for brunch (and more?)

Nola is known as a New Orleans restaurant close to Ritan Park. They are famous for their Southern-style food, such as Jambalaya, fried chicken and waffles etc. I had read mixed reviews about the place before I made my way there for a Sunday brunch. My first impression was really good. The restaurant is tucked on a street corner in the embassy area, it feels really quiet, peaceful, and green with all the trees around. The perfect setting for a brunch, or a lazy afternoon.

We ordered their special fried chicken and waffles, as well as some eggs benedict. Also, I couldn’t not order their beignets, after I had some really delicious ones during my trip to New Orleans two years ago. The beignets arrived first, piping hot. Beignets are pretty much just a square of fried dough, powdered with icing sugar. They were maybe a little more doughy than my perfect Louisiana beignets, but for Beijing standards, they were very good. The eggs benedict were satisfying: the egg was well poached and the hollandaise was tasty, but there was room for improvement on the biscuit. I was surprised to see that Nola uses slices of steak instead of bacon or ham in their eggs benedicts, but it was not bad.

Finally, we were all looking forward to the fried chicken and waffles. I had never had this combination before, but I had had tried fried chicken a few weeks before at Apothecary for their specials on Sunday nights, and I knew this one would be hard to beat. Unexpectedly, Nola’s fried chicken didn’t beat Apothecary’s. Although quite tasty and perfectly fried, it just tasted more normal, like something I could do myself, rather than the very special taste of Apothecary’s chicken that keeps you going back for more. However, Nola’s chicken costs maybe half the price of Apothecary’s, and is available all the time. The waffles were just ok, at least for a picky waffle maker like myself.

Overall I rather enjoyed my visit to Nola. The food is quite good and the charming setting makes for a perfect brunch. I actually returned there a few days later to take advantage of one of their evenings specials: 50% off burgers on Monday night. This time as well, the service was very good. I didn’t enjoy the upstairs decoration as much as downstairs. However, there was something about the burger that prevented me from really enjoying it. After thinking about it for a while, I realized that the patty was most likely made at least with half pork meat, giving it a very sausagey taste. I first liked the different experience, but then the taste got too overwhelming with the amount of meat on my plate, and I couldn’t finish. I didn’t ask for confirmation from the staff, so does anyone know more about this? I don’t know if it’s a way to cut costs on the 50% off night or just a normal thing, but I wasn’t a fan. I will also have to return to try their andouille and their jambalaya.

#homemade potato #soup with fried #chicken and #cheese #biscuit

#homemade potato #soup with fried #chicken and #cheese #biscuit

Homemade #chocolate stout bundt cake, #beer is the secret ingredient #food #foodie #cook #cake

Homemade #chocolate stout bundt cake, #beer is the secret ingredient #food #foodie #cook #cake

Homemade Thai style meatballs with pickled vegetables #cooking #food #homecooking

Homemade Thai style meatballs with pickled vegetables #cooking #food #homecooking

Homemade carrot and butternut squash soup with mushrooms wrappers #food #cooking

Homemade carrot and butternut squash soup with mushrooms wrappers #food #cooking

Homemade Japanese curry with udon #japan #food #cooking

Homemade Japanese curry with udon #japan #food #cooking

I made my own #hongkong style pineapple bun! #food #cooking #cake

I made my own #hongkong style pineapple bun! #food #cooking #cake