Hatching a Caribbean Pop Up

After a very abrupt demise earlier this year, the Hatchery are back! They have moved into a new location just south of Zhangzizhonglu subway station on Dongsi Jiutiao 东四九条 in the dynamic co-working space called 5LMeet. The space itself is very interesting – it offers the use of desks by the day, beds by night (small apartments for short or long term rent), has a gym, cafe, bookstore, events space and obviously a cool concept like the Hatchery housed within. And they have cool plans for a hot Caribbean pop up.

The Hatchery's New Home

Entrance to Dongsi’s 5LMeet

The Hatchery's New Home

A Stand-out Space on Dongsi Jiutiao

The Hatchery's Bar

The Hatchery is Spread Out Across a Cafe Area & Dining Area with Bar

The Hatchery: Dining Tables

The Hatchery team have been busy bees this fall after the sudden move and they’re open again with Soul Bowls for breakfast and weekend brunch starting at 8AM and after 6PM, their menu features original Peruvian concept Buena Onda alongside Gail’s Caribbean Cuisine.

While their Soul Bowl’s breakfast has a great new round-up of comforting eggy classics, I really went was to check out the first collaboration the Hatchery are doing with Gail’s Caribbean food!

Gail's Caribbean at the Hatchery: Pop-Up Menu

Buena Onda x Gail’s Caribbean Cuisine: Pop-Up Residency Menu

Gail Ramroop is a Toronto native whose parents left the warmth of the Caribbean behind to enjoy the freezing climate of Canada, but luckily for her, she went back each summer and was raised on the cuisine which burned a lifelong passion for it into her soul. In her own words –

“I am from the great white north known as Canada. Born and raised in Toronto. My roots, culture,and influences comes from the sunny islands of Trinidad and Tobago. My parents when they were younger had the chance to move to Canada. Growing up I remember my mother cooking these great meals on Saturday or Sunday lunch. During the holidays such as Christmas it was a feast of traditional foods. Some dishes I can remember were souse, curry’s, stews, roasted meats, fried rice, black cake for dessert, sorrel and punch de creme for drinks.” – Gail Ramroop

She previously started catering for friends who missed the taste of home cooking and now, in the Hatchery’s kitchen, has the chance to reach a bigger audience.

“The mission for Gail’s Caribbean Cuisine is to allow people to taste sth different, to experience the Caribbean without actually traveling there – to allow them to try something new and different and I hope to eventually have my own store front where people can come in sit down and feel like they’re in Trinidad or Jamaica or and Caribbean island. All spices [used in my dishes] are sent from Canada from my parents or friends who go back to Trinidad for holidays. I wanted to showcase my culture with Beijing and give the Caribbean nationals a taste of home!”

The menu is pretty straight-forward with the left third of the menu featuring Buena Onda Signatures, drinks in the middle (Pisco from Buena Onda and Rum cocktails from Gail’s) and the right third offering a strong line-up of Jerk, Curries, and Sides for sharing between a few stomachs, “Meals” designed for just one or two and a “sweet tings” Rum & Raisin Ice Cream Dessert.

The jerk chicken is fabulous and vegetarians and vegans will be impressed with the jerk tofu – a clever twist on a classic that is satisfying for everyone (not only vegetarians).

We also sampled the stew meal set which was great. Accompanied by a small sampler of each of the side dishes, it is the perfect way to get a feel for the different parts of Caribbean cuisine.

The Hatchery's Bar: JJ making a Pisco Sour

JJ Pouring a Pisco Like a Pro

Gail's Caribbean at the Hatchery: Jerk Sampler with 6 wings, 6 pork skewers, tofu & chow (RMB 140)

Jerk Sampler with 6 wings, 6 pork skewers, tofu & chow (RMB 140)

Gail's Caribbean at the Hatchery: Jerk Sampler with 6 wings, 6 pork skewers, tofu & chow (RMB 140)

Smoky, Tenderlicious Jerk Chicken

Gail's Caribbean at the Hatchery: Pork Rib Stew (RMB 80)

Pork Rib Stew (RMB 80)

While my food date was all about the jerk chicken and Gail was super proud of her smoked tofu, the real draw for me was her homemade hot sauce. It’s crazy spicy (which, according to Gail, has already been toned down in spice) while also bursting with strong tones of garlic, onion and savoury goodness that makes this sauce worth spreading all over everything. To put it bluntly, I clearly couldn’t handle the spice but was stubborn enough to keep going back for more.

For spice lovers and people like me who are useless when it comes to spice, Gail says she is contemplating offering an even milder version and also offering the full strength for those with an asbestos mouth.

“For me I would want customers to remember the flavors of the food, the atmosphere, the vibes and that one special dish that made an impression on them that they keep coming back for more. I have a few favorites that I love to eat – one is Curry Corn. The corn absorbs all the flavors and when you bite a piece, you get a mouth full of spicy, salty, sweetness and so on, plus it is so soft you could chew everything including the cob. Two would be Jerk Wings – I love spices and mixing spices to make different combinations and with jerk you can do that. I loved grilled meat so I love Jerk. The meat is tender that it falls off the bones. Third is Stew Red Beans because they are easy to make, they’re full of flavor and you can eat them with anything really. The beans are full of spice, sweetness, a hint of salt, and creaminess from the coconut milk.” – Gail on a few of her favorites

Other things to get excited about – Gail wants to use her pop-up as a chance to show people more about Caribbean culture, so expect some fun events where you will get to learn more about this vibrant part of the world in the next few weeks to come!

Contact Details for the Hatchery:

  • Address: One street south of Subway Stop for Zhangzi Zhonglu (southeast corner), 88 Dongsi Jiutiao, 5L Meet
  • 地址:东城区东四九条88号5LMeet
  • Tel: +86 010 8950 8065
  • Hours: 8AM-10:30PM
  • Email: jj@hatchery.asia
  • Website: www.hatchery.asia/