If you are particularly into food enough so that you may regard yourself as a foodie, then it is important to stay informed about what this magnificent city of Beijing has to offer. What we will focus on here is the family-friendly side of the spectrum, with a little dose of adventurous spice to slightly nudge you from your culinary comfort zones. Whether it’s the latest and greatest or something a bit off the beaten path, we’ll try to give virtual access to these places so that you can figure what best suits the tastes of your foodie family.
We understand that brunching in the hutongs isn’t always a pleasurable experience with all your little monkeys in tow. Considering there’s usually an obvious lack of western toilets, occasionally dirty facilities, and even navigating the maze of alleyways to find your destination can be a cumbersome task for some. This isn’t always the case though, and there are plenty of great eateries in these old neighborhoods just a stone’s throw away from convenient subway stations that are guaranteed to delight. One of our favorites is, of course, The Hatchery.
For the uninitiated, The Hatchery is a platform dedicated to supporting and growing China’s next generation of food entrepreneurs and concepts. Throughout their time in Beijing, they’ve tackled everything from burgers to Caribbean food, with a couple of different brunch offerings in the mix and have continuously been a crowd-pleaser throughout their tenure.
Last weekend, they kicked off their new brunch featuring Chef Simone Thompson’s take on classic weekend dishes. We were pleasantly surprised by the range of decadent mid-morning offerings, that would please the entire fam and didn’t hesitate a moment when they invited us over to check it out. Just feast your eyes on these pics for the moment and begin salivating before we continue to describe exactly what you are seeing.
We ordered the Buttermilk Breakfast, featuring a fried chicken thigh, maple syrup, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, 12-hour baked beans, and spinach. This plate pleased with its protein power and hearty but photogenic plating. Of course, the star of the meal was the buttermilk fried chicken, of which we no doubt wished there was more of than just a thigh, but we can’t blame them for not completely satisfying our overly gluttonous (and very much American) tendencies. Other than that, the scramble, sautéed mushrooms with spinach, and baked beans mixed nicely with each other and the occasional contact they made with the flow of maple syrup.
Next up was their take on French toast. As ubiquitous as it is necessary, this effort went far beyond what we typically see on a brunch menu. As we sat waiting for it to arrive the staff came over to express that it was currently being plated. We were slightly perplexed at why this bit of info was divulged, but when it arrived in all of its sweet grandeur, it became clear as day. Consisting of brioche pastry, chocolate butter, bacon, banana, candied pecans, and maple syrup, it was enjoyable destroying this delightfully conceptualized, abstract expressionistic display on the plate with our fork and knife.
The final thing that we would like to let you know as a figurative cherry on top is that in addition to having delicious offerings for mom and dad, the little ones can eat for free off the kid’s menu during brunch hours (11am-5pm). This gives the adults a bit more financial leeway to explore the satisfying brunch plates The Hatchery currently has on offer.
8am-10.30pm, Sun-Thu; 8am-late Fri-Sat, 88 Dongsi Jiutiao, Dongcheng District (8950 8065) 东城区东四九条88号
Photos: Courtesy of The Hatchery, Kipp Whittaker