With the bricking up of the hutongs, it is easy to get depressed and believe that all your favourite small spots are going to be forever snatched away from you. Thankfully, The Orchid looks to be in no danger and indeed has gone from strength to strength.
If you haven’t been, the Orchid is one of my favourite spots to send visiting friends from abroad.
A gorgeous courtyard boutique hotel on Baochao hutong, it is not just a beautiful setting. The staff have always been attentive, helpful and personable in a way that large hotels never quite manage.
Did I mention that they also happen to have one of Beijing’s very best rooftop terraces?
The Orchid on Baochao Hutong
Add to this picture the upgrade that their restaurant Toast has just undergone, you’d have to be mad not to visit over the summer.
Toast restaurant features Indian-Mediterranean inspired Mezze dishes (small dishes designed for sharing), but one that takes a cheeky glance at China every now and then. There is hummus, tagine and shakshuka but at the same time there is the “Barbarian’s Fish Flavoured Eggplant”- a dish that comes directly from the Chinese palate.
A Wall of Potted Greenery
Menu with Cold and Hot Mezze Dishes
Without further ado, check out that and some of the other highlights from our visit.
Muhammara, a famous pairing of whipped up walnuts, roasted red peppers and olive oil (RMB 48)
We had the Muhammara and the Non-Greek salad to warm up. The muhammara is a Middle Eastern dip similar to hummus in consistency but with a pepper base that gives it a much different flavour. A little spicy, I really enjoyed this as an alternative to the usual hummus.
Non-Greek Salad, Topped with even crispier tzatziki (RMB 58)
The Non-Greek Salad lived up to its name. Some deep fried tzatziki on top of a salad tossed with a unique dressing, I’m not sure why they named it Non-Greek, but owner Joel’s subversive sense of humour definitely has something to do with it!
Barbarian’s Fish-Flavoured Eggplant with Icelandic cod and crispy eggplant in a bold, tamarind sauce (RMB 118)
Based on its name alone, we couldn’t resist ordering the Barbarian’s fish-flavoured eggplant. The cod with the fish flavoured eggplant was beautiful and pairs surprisingly well with the classic Chinese 鱼香 flavour.
Puffed Beef Tagine with slow-cooked beef, Persian dates and almonds on a puff pastry (RMB 78)
Pastry with a tagine I hear you say… yes, and it works! It helps that the beef is melt-in-the-mouth tender and suffused with the richness of the herbs and spices, but the pastry is not a distraction. It complements the dish nicely.
Spicy Coconut Chicken with boneless chicken thigh soaked in spice…and coconut (RMB 78)
Let me mention the spicy coconut chicken that isn’t actually new, but is one of my favourites. I love this dish! Such a great combination of sweet and spicy, the coconut balanced out by the chili.
Coconut Panna Cotta with dark rum-infused stewed figs (RMB 58)
We finished up with the ice cream and the coconut panna cotta. The coconut panna cotta is more subtle, no bash-you-over-the-head sweetness here. It creeps up on you slowly. This is a dessert for people who don’t want to be overwhelmed.
Cakes and Ice Cream (RMB 58)
Joel asked us to ask to sample their new ice cream flavor, which was a treat! Came served alongside some sticky rice rolls that reminded us of a dessert you’d find somewhere in Southeast Asia.
All the dishes are great for sharing and I am dying to go back to Toast on a clear evening to sit on the balcony. A glass of wine and a couple of plates accompanied by the sun setting over Beijing. Doesn’t get much better than that!
The Orchid’s Contact Details:
- Address:#65 Baochao Hutong, Guloudong Road, Dongcheng District, Beijing, 100009
- Chinese: 北京市东城区鼓楼东大街宝钞胡同65号
- Map and Directions
- Website: http://www.theorchidbeijing.com/
Kristen Lum has an accomplished background in PR, communications and events in China. Born and raised in California, Kristen has been based in Beijing since 2006 and is founder of the lifestyle blog called LumDimSum, covering mostly restaurant news and reviews alongside upcoming events around town that relate to Beijing’s muti-faceted, quickly-developing creative industries like art, music, film, health and fitness, fashion, nightlife, charity events, and travel tips.