Sometimes you just root for a restaurant to survive. I’m rooting for Bouquet, a new wine bar with an eclectic menu of cold appetizers, salads, a few chef’s specials, mostly of Western influence. What’s visually nice is the glisten of the open kitchen on one end as you walk in, and throughout the rest of the space, varying degrees of hushed restraint, like a spacious mix of evening treehouse, Victorian library, and osteria. The trouble for Bouquet is that it’s back on the third floor of a Chinese bookstore, a half-block off a main street that gets plenty of foot traffic but mainly in transit. So I’m rooting for the place.
The menu was, as expected, as a bit random, but for the most part, Bouquet’s offerings are consistent with the concept of being wine bar food. We got a small sampling of appetizers, and a Peking duck pizza to split.
A hearty beet salad (preferably with strongly-flavored cheese) is very hard to come by in China, so this was a treat, even if the beets were practically diced.
For the main, we had the Peking duck pizza, which came on what seemed more like crisp flatbread, which I’m not complaining about at all. The crust was crunchy (and stayed crunchy), the duck was tender and, as Myra noted, chopped into manageably bite-sized pieces. My favorite bites combined the strong spice flavors of roast duck (five spice?), a bit of skin, and a drizzle of hoisin sauce, the right proportions of flavor (suited to my taste, obviously).
Stick around, Bouquet. We could go places together, you and me.
I’ll be happily surprised if they make it past six months.
Third floor, Xinhua Bookstore, 1829 Beijing Xi Lu (near Wanhangdu Lu)
Entrance after 9pm from 300 Yuyuan Lu