The newest Pak Pak, located in The Office Park just across from the east entrance to The Place, is a serene oasis of smooth leather seats, soft lighting and the beautiful stained glass that one sees with increasingly less frequency in the hutongs.
The design is by Beijing's New Architecture Office. For everything else, we thank the chefs and the staff, for even in early soft opening, servers kept our glasses filled, quietly removed emptied dishes and made excellent cocktail suggestions during our visits, of which there were two because we went back as soon as we stopped feeling full from the first round.
We warmed up with a Muay Toddy (RMB50), a deceptively strong hot cocktail of cinnamon and clove-infused Thai whiskey, lemon juice and honey that lasts long past the inhalation of four crispy spring rolls (RMB45) and the slightly more complicated consumption of the meticulously separated pulp in the spicy pomelo salad (RMB38).
The sour sausages (RMB58), snug little packages reminiscent of boudin, come stuffed with pork, rice and vermicelli. They are best enjoyed wrapped in crisp lettuce with a slice of pickle and dipped in a tangy sauce.
We could wax poetic about the appetizers alone for hours; the only thing stopping us is the need to profess our love of the Gai Too, (RMB98), a generous helping of succulent fried chicken obscured by an even more generous pile of fried, diced garlic, the latter perfect for sprinkling on other dishes like the smooth curry mashed potatoes (RMB48).
Other highly recommended mains include the tender slices of grilled pork neck with tamarind dip (RMB68), or, for pescetarians, the panang curry fish (RMB68), slightly piquant cubed fish thoroughly marinated with spices and coconut milk.
Even the desserts were a hit; chocolate lovers mustn’t miss the mousse with mouth-warming chili pepper (RMB42), or cool the palate with the more traditional Khanom chan (RMB38), pretty green-and-white layers of pandanus, coconut-sweetened rice flour and tapioca.
Our Review: 5 out of 5 stars
What: Pak Pak
Where: Tower AB, The Office Park, 10 Jintong West Road, 金桐西路10号远洋光华国际AB座一层东北侧
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