A Closer Look reviews the winners from our 2015 Reader Restaurant Awards, which were announced March 16. Since brunching almost amounts to a national sport in Beijing, we thought it prescient to take a look through the winners of the city's Best Brunches. This year we divided the category into hotel and non-hotel brunches.
Best Hotel Brunch: Feast (Food by EAST), EAST Beijing Hotel
Feast's brunch really lives up to the restaurant's name. For RMB 238, you get both starters and desserts served buffet style, but don't fill up too quickly – the a la carte main courses, which have just gone through a refresh in time for summer, are pretty formidable. Whatever you do though, don't leave without grabbing a slice of their signature pavlova. They recently added a free-flow package for RMB 118, including Lapostolle wines and Chandon sparkling wine. Feast to your heart's content on Saturdays and Sundays from 11.30am to 3pm.
Outstanding Hotel Brunch: Bubbalicious, Seasonal Tastes, Westin Beijing Chaoyang
Westin's Bubbalicious brunch is the first introduction to the crazy world of Beijing brunching for many expats. The huge spread, available Sundays 11.30am-3pm, includes a seafood counter, sushi and sashimi, Indian curries, fry-ups for Brits abroad, roast meats, and a whole room full of desserts. Let's be honest with ourselves though, the reason most people are here is for the free-flow Veuve Cliquot Champagne and cocktails. It wouldn't be a Bubbalicious brunch if you didn't end up with four or five different glasses on your table as the 3pm order deadline approaches.
Outstanding Hotel Brunch: Kerry's Kitchen, Kerry Hotel Beijing
Brunch at Kerry's Kitchen is a favorite with families thanks to their Adventure Zone play area, entrance to which is included in the price for kids. But there is plenty to like here for adults too, including free-flow Champagne and a good selection of hot and cold dishes. Go during one of their frequent promotions to find expert renditions of dishes from countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, and Peru.
Best Non-Hotel Brunch: The Rug
Brunch on the terrace at The Rug's Chaoyang Park location is one of Beijing's great pleasures, and it's this, plus their reliable menu of brunch favorites that netted them the top spot in this category. Our favorite dishes on their brunch menu include the crisp rostis, the sizeable shakshuka (eggs poached in a spicy tomato-based sauce) and their organic yogurt, which has the perfect texture somewhere in between yogurt and cream. You may have to wait for table during brunch hours, but the courteous staff will keep you well supplied with water while you wait.
Outstanding Non-Hotel Brunch: Capital M
The terrace at Capital M is my personal favorite place to eat in Beijing come the Spring. Regardless of the weather though, you can still sample their brunch every Saturday and Sunday (11.30am-3pm). RMB 248 gets you two courses from a selection of appetizers, mains and desserts, plus a welcome cocktail and limitless tea and coffee. We love M's Big Weekend Fry-Up (steak and bacon!) and the rotating selection of Danish-style smørrebrød.
Outstanding Non-Hotel Brunch: Agua
Relative newcomer to the brunch scene Agua caused quite a stir last year when they introduced their Infinity Brunch. For RMB 298, you order to your heart's content from a menu of Spanish-inspired, tapas-sized dishes. All the dishes are cooked fresh and brought to your table, which is a welcome change from the usual buffet options. The brunch is available Saturdays and Sundays from noon-2.30pm and you can add free-flow Cava, wine, Spanish Mimosa, Bloody Mary and Sangria for RMB 198. During the summer months you can keep the party going by heading up to rooftop bar, Fez.
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Photoc courtesy of Kerry Hotel
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