Article By Stephen Robinson
20m East of Xin Xibei Hotel,Bei Liu Xiang.
(029) 8737 0181
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 130RMB
If you asked many foreigners what food they missed most from home while living in China, the answer would often be cheese. While this food is very popular throughout much of the world, it is decidedly less popular here in China, with only a few examples of processed milk solids that barely passes for the real deal. Outside of the occasional foreign enclave in tier 1 cities, cheese can be difficult to come by except through shady Taobao dealers. Sometimes you just want to be able to walk into a shop and pick out a cheese or two, preferable with some cured meats and pickles. Luckily, Bell Ginkgo Restaurant and Bar offers exactly that, at reasonable prices as well.
Bell Ginkgo has actually been open for some time, but having just undergone a renovation and menu upgrade, it’s now ready to offer up some great food at good prices. Located in a back alley not far from the Bell Tower, this restaurant may not be super easy to spot at first, though once you’ve been, you won’t soon forget it. Upon entering the restaurant, one of the first things you’ll notice is three large glass fridges containing the best selection of cheeses, cured meats, and pickled vegetables that many of us will have seen in a long time. If you can distract yourself long enough to peel your eyes away, you’ll notice that the restaurant is decorated in a classic bistro style – lots of dark wood, a mix of high and low tables, and the kitschy kind of decorations that you would normally find in similar places across the globe. There’s even a pool table, if you’re so inclined.
Just adjacent to the entrance are fridges containing a nice selection of very affordable wines, with everything from sweet white wines to tannic reds and everything in between. There are even some lovely fortified wines, like ruby port that come in at under 100RMB. The price per bottle ranges from under 100RMb to 300RMB, so there’s a bottle for every budget.
After meeting the owner, Ella – who speaks English – we were seated at a table in an alcove to one side. There are a great mix of semi-private tables and more public seating space that allows for different types of gathering to be held here. After being seated, we decided to get right back up and select some of the items from the case. We went with a variety of different cheeses, including a truffle gouda, cheddar, brie, and a cranberry Wensleydale for dessert. For the meats we chose two different types of salami, jamon iberico, and bresaola. Paired with an ice cold Riesling from their wine fridge, this would have been fantastic all on its own.
In addition to the great selection of charcuterie, there are also different types dishes for brunch, lunch, or dinner. The restaurant is currently offering 7 different types of Eggs benedict, ranging from a classic Bacon Benedict to newer creations like Baked Brie Benedict and Italian Beef Balls Benedict. We opted for a twist on the classic with a Slamon Benedict, which was poached eggs with pickles, smoked salmon, and hollandaise on a bed of kale and rye bread.
In addition to this, as if we hadn’t had enough cheese by that point, we tried a Basil Pesto Burrata, a ball of creamy fresh mozzarella on in the middle of a basil pesto sauce with pine nuts sprinkled on top served with crispy bread. Alongside this was an Oxtail Ragu, a mixture of Casarecce pasta, oxtail ragu, parsley, and cream, topped with parmesan cheese.
The final dish that we tried was an asparagus risotto, which was a healthy tasting mix of asparagus and spinach cooked into a risotto. Unlike many risottos, this dish was light and refreshing instead of heavy and stodgy, like some risottos can be.
There is much more on the menus that we did not have time nor space to try, and given the enjoyment that we had with the food we did try, we will definitely be returning to this restaurant. They also run daily deals, offering heavily discounted menu items at different points in the week, including 50% off the Salami Bar on Wednesday and Buy One Get One Free Steaks on Sundays.
If you’re looking for a place to get your meat and cheese fix, looking for reasonably priced food and drink, or just want a nice quiet place to hang out with friends, then Bell Ginkgo is the place for you. And if you have a chance to give it a try, let us know about the experience by messaging us at our official WeChat account or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!
Stephen Robinson is the editor-in-chief at xianease and would love to get your thoughts on everything we are doing. You can contact him at email@example.com
If you have a chance to try this restaurant and you’d like to tell us about your experience, let us know by contacting out official WeChat account or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.