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Most of us who live in Shunyi have just come back from a three-week break from our daily routine. This week, it is back to Beijing for those who left on holiday, and back to school and work. But only for a little while, as we are heading into Chinese New Year which means another vacation and more time to recharge. And goodness knows we need that at this time of the year when all is dry and cold and the skies are often gloomy.
So hang in there for the next few weeks. Spring is about to come soon. In the meantime, there are a few new businesses to check out in our neighborhood to keep the winter blahs at bay.
In the next few weeks, we will be seeing the opening of not just one but three new Italian places, all in Pinnacle Plaza. Two are restaurants while one is a gourmet food deli and grocery. Let’s hope these new eateries will make a dent in the Shunyi dining scene. Good authentic food in a pleasant atmosphere is always top priority for diners. It wouldn’t hurt either if some places could stay open beyond 9pm on weekend nights!
Where Little Italy used to be, right next to Domino’s Pizza, a placed called Galati will be opening soon. A sister deli, Galati Luxury Italian Food, is also going to open soon, located beside Burger King, on the same row as Johnson’s Computers. Check out the website at www.fooditaly.com
Another Italian eatery that is looking promising is coming up behind the old Eton Kids campus. Loft Eatalicious is a stand-alone restaurant that even in its construction phase attracts attention because of its size. A little-known abandoned parking lot at the end of the lane could work well for this restaurant when it opens. For now very few cars park there and it is much easier to navigate than at the cramped main parking area outside of Starbucks. For inquiries, call 137 1762 7663.
Also in Pinnacle Plaza, two more unidentified places that show promise.
In between the old Eton Kids campus and Lakers Cafe, another restaurant is being constructed. As yet there is no signage to announce what it will be. But if the architecture is a clue, then it could be a southeast Asian place, possibly Malaysian or Thai.
A small kiosk outside of Kids Plus and right next to the flower stall is for now only marked Na Ma Ma, with a portrait of an old lady from a Chinese tribal minority. Could it be a take-out place for some local cuisine or drinks? The last occupant at the same space, who sadly did not stay very long, ran a juice bar.
Interesting to see that there is more cuisine from all around the world soon to be on offer in Pinnacle alone.
Beer and Micro Breweries
Beijing is proud of its Yanjing beer, but sometimes we could use a good lager.
Pinnacle Plaza is now home to a small shop that sells beer. Located across from the South German Bakery, in the back row of shops, is Hallendorfer German Draft Beer. Open from 11am to 5pm daily, the shop carries four kinds of bottled beer (Kellerbier, Rauchbier, Bayerisch Hell, Weissbier Hell) on sale at RMB 95 each. Coffee is also available at RMB 25 and would undoubtedly go well with any of the goodies from the bakery right across.
Pinotage Plaza will soon be ready to pour its first batch of microbrewed beer. Taking 45 days to brew, expect a full-bodied beer. The bar is open daily from 4pm to 12am. Pinotage can arrange a taxi to take you home after you have had a mug or two.
Chuangyi Yuan, 3A Shunhuang Lu, Sunhe Township, near Beidong Flower Market (8459 5868) 孙河乡顺黄路甲3号创意园内, 近北东花卉市场
Further away, and in territory more often frequented by locals, is another microbrewery. Set by Roma Lake in Houshayu, Yuji BBQ and Beer boasts several large vats that churn out “homemade” beer. Their two bestsellers: Home Brew Stout which is dark black, with a malty flavor and coffee aroma, recommended as an accompaniment to beef or lamb; and Brigalow Stout which is lighter, pairs well with seafood, and is recommended on the menu for “the elderly, and those with bad intestines and stomach.”
Bread and Coffee (More places to get your bread (or pastry) and coffee fix):
Starbucks at the ground floor of Europlaza has opened, bringing this coffeehouse’s brews to a second location in Shunyi. They serve your favorites daily from 8am to 10pm. Access the coffeeshop via the terrace before 10 am and after the mall closes at 9 pm.
Bakefield in Pinnacle Plaza is in its soft opening phase. You will know it as the new cottage built by the side of the road across from Kids Plus. They make good bread to go, but you do have to be patient as they are working out the checkout process at the cashier. Try the chocolate croissant (technically not a croissant because it doesn’t carry the moon shape, but a pain au chocolat) that is sweet glazed on the top and filled with yummy semi-sweet chocolate inside. The mini French bread was good too, but fans of a real crunchy baguette will be disappointed that this is a soft bread. Soon they should be serving coffee to go. Open daily from 10am to 6pm. Contact- 135 0103 0972.
For a bit of French tradition this week of the Feast of the Epiphany, Comptoirs de France has continued to make its galette de rois (RMB 138 medium, RMB 228 large) as it has in recent years. The frangipane-filled pastry is heavy on the butter. Don’t worry, you will probably only be having a slice or two the entire year, so indulge. The pastry comes with a paper crown. The idea is that whoever gets the token in their slice of pie is king or queen for a day and can have his or her heart’s desires (subject to parental approval, of course).
In France, all children are made to sit under the table while the adults slice up the pie. The youngest child then says which person gets assigned which slice of pie. When all slices are placed on individual plates, everyone comes out from under the table, and the whole family eats together. Whoever finds the token that has been baked into the galette wins. Be careful to watch the young kids, as sometimes the only way to know the token is with you is after you have put a bite of pie in your mouth. Place your order a day before at the branch in Europlaza or above Jenny Lou in Beijing Riviera.
We’d like to hear from you! What are your Shunyi favorites? Any recommendations or bits of news you’d like to see here on Shunyi Happenings, please feel free to send it on to us via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dana is the beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent. Originally from the Philippines, she moved to Beijing in 2011 (via Europe) with her husband, two sons and Rusty the dog. She enjoys writing, photography, theater, visual arts, and trying new food. In her free time, she can be found exploring the city and driving along the mountain roads of Huairou, Miyun and Pinggu.
Photo by Dana Cosio-Mercado