Pinnacle Plaza has seen a plethora of eateries open up since the start of the year, making this part of Shunyi a great choice for dining at any time of the day. The latest café addition is called Palatable, and is located next door to Domino’s Pizza. The sign outside promotes Palatable as an organic, healthy, natural, and palatable, and states their supplier also serves the French and US Embassies in Beijing. Well, the French certainly know a thing or two about cafes, pastries, and cakes, so I decided to take a look and sample some of their offerings.
The café has outdoor seating, which for the time being enables you to admire the adorned flag bunting, reminding us there is a certain football tournament on at the moment. The main part of the café isn’t large, but extra seating extends along the side of the kitchen area. It has a light and bright interior and good Wi-Fi connection, making it perfect for a quiet spot to catch up on your emails. If you’re dining with little ones, there are highchairs available. All drinks, cakes, and pastries can be purchased as take out and opening times are Monday-Friday 10am-9pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am-9pm.
Palatable’s claim to healthy and organic food comes from their range of fresh juices and drinks, which include papaya, guava with green apple, pomegranate, kiwi, and vegetable. Prices range from RMB 30-45 and you have a choice of serving sizes. I tried the apple, which was not too sweet and pleasingly refreshing. My companion chose the pomegranate, which was wonderfully sharp and acidic as pomegranate juice should be. If you prefer some calcium in your juice, they serve a red dragon fruit yogurt drink and a banana milk drink. If it’s a hot beverage you’re after, the cafe serves a range of teas, which include pu’er, green tea and rooibos, all from RMB 26-30. Coffees include latte, macchiato, and macha.
There are no savory food items at Palatable apart from croissants, as their focus is on good quality cakes and pastries – although you can buy a French baguette to go. I’m not sure a chocolate tart can be described as healthy, but it was certainly palatable. A well-made buttery pastry case was generously filled with a bitter chocolate ganache. The lemon tart had a thick lemony curd, which was perfectly sharp in flavor. The pastry on the lemon tart could have been crisper, but it was nice and thin, just enough to hold the delicious filling. The tart was topped with small squares of marshmallow, which were too sweet for me but my companion loved them.
Palatable has slices of cakes too, including gateaux and tiramisu, chocolate and coffee éclairs, crème brulee, a choice of muffins, and mini pastries including a chocolate tart, strawberry slice, and coconut ball. There are a range of pastries available, including croissants, cinnamon swirls, and apple slices.
Housed in a glass display stand are pyramids of brightly-colored macaroons. Available in all flavors imaginable, try green tea, lime, blueberry, raspberry, coffee, and chocolate. These bite-size morsels were soft and chewy in the center, with a light and crisp exterior.
I took some pastries home for my family to try, and by far the favorite was the French apple, which was large enough for two people to share. The pastry was crisp, lined with an almond paste, generously topped with a mix of both tart and sweet apples, and finished with a syrup glaze. The fresh fruit tart was also a great hit with the kids.
Prices are similar to those at Comptoirs de France and Le Baker. For me, I feel the cakes and pastries at Le Baker are more authentically French in both flavor and execution. However, I would certainly return to Palatable to enjoy their great range of juices and that fabulous French apple tart.
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.
Photos by Sally Wilson