Last Sunday, as every other venue in Courtyard Four (except maybe The Bookworm) was packed with people watching the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, I walked over to 京A to try their new Sunday brunch menu.

The weather was absolutely perfect for an alfresco brunch, except when the wind, and dust, kicked up. The 1949 courtyard where the 京A Taproom is located is underrated, despite big names like Duck de Chine and Okra operating there.

Joined for brunch by Jim Boyce, I started off with a Beer Belly-ni, their take on the bellini, which adds peach pulp to 京A's Mandarin Wheat beer. In retrospect, I wish I had ordered the Beergarita, if only so that it didn't come in a wine glass. It was sweet, tasty, and a little too small, it seemed.

The brunch as it was served is a three-course meal for RMB 98. It starts off with an antipasto board that includes prosciutto di Parma, Italian-style pickled mushrooms, broccoli frittata, and asparagus with roasted tomato dressing, along wtih a bread basket with hummus. If this board with the bread basket were doubled in size and sold separately, it would be a perfect afternoon item for two if coupled with some beers. It brought to mind some of Enoterra's boards and the antipasto platter at Amaroni's in Hong Kong.

Nine mains are available: eggs Benedict; poached salmon salad; hungry man's hash; one-pot sausage and beans; the breakfast sandwich; eggs florentine; NY-style bagel with lox; Laoban's eggs; and the fitness freak. Boyce had the eggs Benedict and responded positively to it, and I had the fitness freak, which was both delicious and satisfying. Portions are generous for all the items we saw.

Then came dessert, the 京A Ice Cream Sandwich. It's described as being made with Vivi Dolce's chocolate raspberry and vanilla stout or Flying Fist IPA lemongrass sorbet. What arrived were two pieces of lemony hardtack with what I think was some melted chocolate ice cream in between. Wow, forgettable. One bite and that was that.

Service was very slow. Yes, it's a "soft opening," but it appeared there were only two servers on duty, at least for people seated outside.

For RMB 98, the antipasto board and the main was worth it. I'd rather it just included one 京A beer instead of a contrived beer cocktail, and please, don't serve that dessert anymore. For RMB 98, I'd go again. However, as this appears to be an introductory price, for more than that, I'd have to think about it.

Photo: Jessica Rapp

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