The second location of laid back hutong favorite, serving up some of Beijing's only Mexican-Korean fare.
Arriving in the dark, the new Palms
LA emerges as a gentle dusting
of lights in a tree-filled garden, a
couple of hundred yards and a whole
world away from the fluorescent
restaurant strip that houses the
original Home Plate.
The original Palms caused a stir
when it opened a year ago in Gulou,
bringing an LA-style blend of Korean
and Mexican to an under-taco’d
Beijing. No moulds have been broken
with the new branch. Rather, it feels
like the frustrations that built up in
the cramped hutong space have now
The menu is fuller,
more varied and even more tempting.
And that’s just the cocktails.
Our margaritas come spiced
rather than salted and made with
tamarind or passion fruit. The
white port Portonico is a long
draught of sweet refreshment, all
Things take a dip for the worse
when the first of the food arrives.
The kimchi and cheese spring rolls
(32RMB) are more of a Cantonese school
dinner fusion than Korean-Mexican. Panic is averted, however,
as soon as the mains begin arriving.
The new Miso Dog (45RMB) is a
globalisation taste bomb. An English
sausage in Japanese miso paste
sharing a sweet Chinese bun with
Mexican avocado, heaped with fried
onions. Korean barbecue pork tacos
(42RMB) are gone in a snap.
Our first truly recognisable taste
of Korea comes folded in the kimchi
quesadillas (48RMB). The idea is
better than the execution, but before
they go soggy (it’s kimchi in a tortilla)
they do provide a heavy hit of Korea. The fish tacos (45RMB), also new,
are filled with slivers of roasted fish,
blissfully free of breading with a
crispness felt through the crunch of
the veg. However, if you hadn’t read
‘Korean spice rub’, you might miss
the Korean element again.
The best is saved till last with the
baked bibimbap (52RMB). Slowcooked
pork with coriander, rice
and, controversially, cheese. This
new dish delivers confusion at first
bite – lasagne? Chaofan? – and
delight with the second. We end with
more delicious and pleasingly priced
cocktails because – hola! – tamarind
is also a digestif.
Service is excellent; the outdoor
setting one of the most romantic
dining spots in Beijing. Forget the
fusion theme that was a novelty a
year ago and just go with the (miso)
Zoom in on the map to see exactly where the pin points as Palms LA is a little tricky to find.