Top Picks… Midday Mouthfuls
The only thing Maomaoland does better than culture is cuisine, and with summer on her doorstep, the city's brunch n’ lunchers are lighting up like a pre-industrial skyline. Go on, hop aboard that bicycle and get your leg over these top locales...
You’ll find all the local flaves your appetite desires at whitewashed loft Madam Zhu's Kitchen, where the glam namesake stars in hanging portraits, and her entourage of regional chefs serve up provincial faves with a twist, including ‘lion’s head’ meatballs packed with crab roe and freshwater bass. Or, cycle on to cutesy Hidden City string-slinger Noodle Bar where pudgy dough transforms into light, bouncy threads, pulled right before your eyes. But you’ll need to step on it, Sally, because this mianguan mainstay only seats 12 at a time in her hidden courtyard.
Feeling like Buddha without the luck? Try your chances over in neighbouring Dongcheng at the dependable Lei Garden. This classic HK-import will rub your bulging belly with mouth-watering yum cha, including its beloved baked soft-shell crab with egg yolk between 11.30am and 3pm. Or, if you’d rather swap your wonton for jiaozi, a quick scoot on to Xian Lao Man you go for an all-encompassing lineup of flavour-packed parcels spanning pork and garlic-chive to carrot, cilantro and frozen tofu. Phew!
But there’s a lot more to the Sino capital than just dim sum, Suzie. If you’re up to your eyeballs in dumplings, fret not. A taste of Beijing’s Nippon neighbour awaits but a chopstick’s toss away at Cali-style sushi perch, Hatsune. Here, you’ll find plenty of palate-pleasing umami including the eye-watering 119 stuffed with spicy tuna and hot sauce, and the soft shell crab, avocado, torched unagi and white tuna packed ‘Rolls Royce’ of rolls; G rollin’ (their words, not ours).
Or, simply call it a day at vibey terrace flop The Rug Café, replete with fresh bagels and organic, locavore lunch staples ranging from waistline-friendly treats to the all-indulgent doughnut sandwich ready to be devoured on her outdoor patio. Go!
Madam Zhu's Kitchen / B1/F / Bldg D / Vantone Center / 6A Chaoyangmenwai Dajie / Chaoyang / +86 10 5907 1625 / 11.30am-9pm daily
Noodle Bar / The Hidden City / Courtyard 4 / 1949 Gongti Bei Lu / Chaoyang / +86 10 6501 1949 / 11am-10pm daily / elite-concepts.com
Lei Garden / 3/F / Jinbao Tower / 89 Jinbao Jie / Dongcheng / +86 10 8522 1212 / 11.30am-3pm & 5.30pm-10.30pm daily / leigarden.hk
Xian Lao Man / 252 Andingmen Nei Dajie / Dongcheng / +86 10 6497 2097 / 11am-10pm daily
Hatsune / 3/F / Taikoo Li South / 19 Sanlitun Lu / Chaoyang / +86 10 6415 3939 / 11.30am-2pm, 5.30pm-10pm daily / hatsunesushi.comThe Rug Café / Bldg 4 / Lishui Jiayuan Xiaoqu Gongyuan Nanlu / Chaoyang / +86 10 8550 2722 / 7.30am-10.30pm daily