The Place & Vibe
Stepping into Thought for Food on Jianguo Xi Lu is like entering an oasis of calm. Located at the ground floor of Living Room by Octave (a wellness and holistic living concept), you feel the ‘zen’ as soft music accompanies your walk down the sparse concrete corridor to the restaurant. Set around a courtyard, the restaurant’s sliding doors provide great in and outdoor flow and there is an eco-minimalist feel that blends with the rest of the building. Natural wood tables and recycled linen napkins are interspersed with luxuriously upholstered green armchairs, while an attractive buffet of appetizers serves as a centerpiece next to the mouthwatering dessert bar. There is fun among the functionality and the ‘zen’ is certainly welcome if you’ve had a chaotic morning with the kids.
Renowned for organic and healthy dishes, the menu has good variety for a Sunday family brunch. The adults have the options of having one of the three mains (RMB188) or all of them (RMB258). This includes a Bloody Mary, the appetizer buffet (salads, antipasti dishes, breads, cheeses) and the dessert bar. The buffet spread and mains change weekly, and we had a choice of egg, fish, or pork for the latter. My husband tried the organic chicken egg with corn bread, leek and anchovy, and found it extremely tasty with the yolk oozing into the savory broth. I tried the grilled pork neck with homemade sauerkraut, pear and madras curry; the meat was tender and soft, and the curry added both taste and texture to the pork. The Bloody Mary had the right amount of spice, while fresh juices are also available.
The kids menu featured a choice of six dishes: soup, pizza, fried rice, a mash (great for babies), a gluten free option and a ‘safe’ dish (meatballs with tomato sauce). Our toddler ‘hoovered’ her fried rice with pumpkin and peas and our six-year-old happily munched on her mini spinach and cheese pizza.
The dessert bar had a vast range of beetroot or carob cookies, a mixed berry chocolate or banana cake, fresh fruit, coconut mango sago and a vanilla- chocolate mousse. Our toddler was obsessed with the sago and our six-year-old enjoyed the mousse. I was particularly fascinated that the beetroot biscuits, which didn’t taste like the vegetable at all! Best of all, they use honey instead of sugar to sweeten the desserts.
This won a huge stamp of kid approval. Its menu and buffet give everyone a range of choice, and kids can run around the courtyard. An indoor playground (geared more towards toddlers and children under 7) with a ball pit, toddler slide and playhouse is available on site. There is space to run around with ayi’s on duty; although kids under age 3 need parental supervision. For those of you who worry about taking your children out on high pollution days, the restaurant has a sophisticated built-in air filtration system which can give you peace of mind.
Price per person: RMB188-258 per adult, RMB45 per child.
Recommended ages: All ages (high chairs available)
Good for: Sunday brunch, weekend or mommy lunches
Top tip: Book ahead if you want to sit outdoors
See a listing for Thought for Food.