Another new restaurant at Pinnacle Plaza has opened its doors. Tapas Plus is a welcome addition to the ever-expanding range of eateries in this part of Shunyi. The restaurant has a bright and airy setting, decorated in simple black and white hues with a conservatory feel.
The kitchen sits in the center, with the restaurant wrapped around it. The air conditioning was on, but as it was one of those rare great air days, it would have been nice to have had some of the many windows open instead. The staff was very friendly, knowledgeable about the menu, and happy to recommend the right number of dishes for feeding three ladies at lunchtime.
My dining companions felt that the white plastic tables did lend a certain canteen feel to the interior, and that it could have benefitted from some injection of color, perhaps in the choice of seating cushions.
Whilst perusing the menu, we were served breadsticks wrapped in Parma ham alongside some olives. The breadsticks would have been enhanced by a dip, but the olives were delicious. We ordered patatas bravas (RMB 30), which was wonderfully spicy with a rich garlic and tomato sauce. The potatoes could have been cooked a little longer, but the combination of flavors was spot on.
The grilled flat mushrooms (RMB 35) were firm and full of the flavor of garlic and herbs. Cod fritters were incredibly light and fluffy, not at all oily, although a little more cod-to-potato ratio would have improved them further. The accompanying aioli was perfect. An anchovy and olive tapenade was a little firm in texture, but nicely tart and salty and went well with the grilled bread. We had ordered the buffalo asparagus with walnut pesto, but unfortunately it didn’t arrive.
Other dishes include beef spring rolls with guacamole and mint aioli, marinated lamb kebabs with tzatziki, friend egg, chorizo and potato tart, pork meatballs, prawn ceviche, and crab terrine, with dishes ranging from RMB 30-80.There are a few soups to choose from, including gazpacho and chilled white almond. A tapas restaurant wouldn’t be authentic without paella on the menu. Choose from shrimp, mussel, green peas, and chorizo, or chicken, green peas, and asparagus, RMB 180 for two people.The menu has a good balance of meat, fish and vegetable dishes, and the sharing concept of tapas should prove to be a hit amongst the expat and local community.
Portion sizes were perfect for a lunch. If we had ordered dessert, the options were panna cotta, crema catalona or lemon blueberry tartlet. At RMB 50-58, they are a little on the expensive side. Wine can be had by the glass for RMB 48-58 for a Sauvignon Blanc or Tempranillo, with bottles at RMB 200-400. There are a choice of beers, soft drinks, fresh juices, fruit teas, and coffees.
The big disappointment with Tapas Plus is that it has no bathroom. There is a sink for washing your hands, but if you’re dining here with little ones, you’ll have to head off out across the plaza in search of a public toilet or smile sweetly at the staff in Burger King. I don’t know whether it’s a lack of sewage pipe network, restaurants not wanting to set aside space for a bathroom, or assuming that we like the whole communal toilet experience. If Tapas Plus had worked with its neighbor Loft Eatalicious, I’m sure they could have installed something at that location.
beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent Sally Wilson moved to Beijing in 2010 from the UK with her husband and son. Her daughter was born here in 2011 and both her kids keep her happily busy. In her spare time, Sally loves to stroll through Beijing’s hutongs and parks. She is a (most of the time) keen runner and loves reading: books, magazines, news, and celeb websites – anything really. Sally is also a bit of a foodie and loves trying out new restaurants.
Photo by Sally Wilson