Brunching in Beijing: When, where and how much
Brunch has been a Sunday institution for more than a century, since the term was first coined in England in 1896. A hybrid of breakfast and lunch, brunch has come to symbolize an indulgent, lazy Sunday afternoon of good eats, perhaps a few cocktails to put out the fire from the night before, and for social twenty-somethings, an opportunity to trade gossip and rehash the events of the weekend.
This trend has caught on like wildfire in Beijing, with a range of restaurants offering elaborate brunch spreads that cater to all manner of customers.
At The Cut, the fine dining restaurant at the Fairmont Beijing, guests enjoy an all-you-can-eat brunch that consists of made to order entrees, an appetizer bar that includes fresh breads, cheeses and sushi, and an ample dessert spread. Chef Marcus Routbard says he bases each seasonal menu on the freshest ingredients available at the time. From his summer menu, he recommends the Pacific Steelhead seafood dish, though the Eggs Benedict with salmon and Quiche with Wagyu beef and fresh mushrooms are also delicious. Brunch at The Cut runs from 11am–3pm and costs 388RMB (US$60), which includes a glass of champagne upon arrival, as well as free-flow Bellinis and to-die-for spicy Bloody Marys. 8 Yong An Dong Li, Jian Guo Men Wai Avenue, 8507 3617
The stylish pentahotel Beijing, which opened earlier this year and caters to an international young professional set, launched their new brunch special on July 22. Held from 11 am–3pm each Sunday, pentahotel Beijing diners can sample Chinese and Western foods served buffet style and through live show cooking. Snack items include pan fried pork dumplings, Sichuan chicken wings, Merguez sausages, corn battered Frankfurters, and Quiche Lorraine, among several other dishes.
Brunch also includes a main course that guests can choose from a menu that consists of eggs cooked to order, The Deli Frittata, the massive and flavorful pentaburger, seafood curry, and sesame chicken salad. A DJ will spin tunes throughout the meal, and drinks at the bar are half price. At 128RMB ($20USD) for adults and 64RMB $10USD) for children, the pentahotel brunch is one of the most afforable stylish Sunday afternoons in the city. 3–18 Chongwenmen Wai Street, Dongcheng District, 86 10 67081188
Seasonal Tastes at the Westin Beijing Chaoyang hosts a decadent Bubbalicious brunch each weekend. Living up to its name, the all-day Bubbalicious brunch includes unlimited champagne, as well as wine, cocktails, milkshakes and juices. Menu items represent an array of tasty ethinic dishes, such as Japanese teppanyaki style foods, Indian cuisines and dim sum. For those traveling with young children, there is a kids’ area, where they can enjoy games and magic tricks in addition to their meal. The cost for food and free-flow drinks is 428RMB ($67USD) plus service charge. 7 North Dongsanhuan Road, 5922 8189
For something a bit more quirky and low-key, there is the retro brunch at Switch Grill. The fare at this brunch is American-themed, so for those craving good old-fashioned breakfast foods, this is your place. The reasonably priced brunch (198RMB for a three-course set plus coffee and tea; additional 98RMB for free-flow wine and beer) includes such offerings as pancakes, waffles, Eggs Benedict, french toast, hashbrowns, Steak Dianne, Steak & Eggs, and ice cream sundaes. Those who opt for the free-flow drinks will also be able to make their own Bloody Marys, the quintessential brunch drink. Brunch is available Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Regentland, 66 Gongti Beilu, Across from the Swissotel, 6553–5691