As a general rule, I don’t like going to buffets. Family friends often invite us out to Beijing’s weekend buffets, always touting, “It’s all you can eat!” as if that makes a difference. When is the last time you left a restaurant feeling hungry? Trust me, every restaurant will serve you food until you have eaten all that you can. My gripe with most buffets, and the weekend ones in particular, is that they focus less on the quality of their food and more on the volume of alcohol they will serve you. As a general rule, hotel buffets are the worst in this case. It’s hard enough to get a couple of cuisines perfect, let alone food from a dozen regions of the world.
Feast takes a different tack from most other hotel brunches in Beijing. Rather than charging an exorbitant sum for the buffet that includes “free” flow of wine or bubbly, Feast only charges for the food and lets you order drinks separately; a refreshing idea, particularly if, like us, you don’t drink alcohol. The experience also differs from the competition by allowing guests to choose from a dozen mains that are cooked to order while providing a variety of starters and deserts in its buffet line. The result is a more limited selection, but better tasting choices.
Like other hotels, Feast has a kids play area, though not as grand as some, where kids can play, color, or watch something on TV. Although our daughter brought things to keep herself occupied at the table, she spent most of the two hours we were there playing in the kids area. When we finally decided to leave, she was sitting next to the female attendant watching a favorite cartoon as if they were best friends. Naturally, she didn’t want to go.
For baby services, the staff tried to make sure we had everything we needed. There are 8 high chairs, but we noticed one couple had trouble getting one once the restaurant filled up, so it’s a good idea to book a high chair(s) when you make your reservation. There are no changing tables in the men’s room (I didn’t check the ladies), but there is a large counter near the sinks that is dry and provides ample room for changing diapers. The other spaces outside the restaurant also give toddlers lots of space to roam.
All in all, we enjoyed our outing to Feast and everyone enjoyed his or her meal. It is no surprise that Feast won the Beijinger award for Best Brunch in 2013. Despite being gluten-free, I even managed to stuff myself.
Feast Food by East brunch is RMB 198 for adults and RMB 99 for kids 6-12 (+15% service charge). Children 5 and under eat for free. For reservations, directions, or questions call 8414 9820 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of Christopher Lay