Billy Bolton tossed — and I do mean tossed — a steak into the pizza oven today at THE PAVILLION, which will soon reopen on Workers Stadium West. A few minutes later, that slab sat on a plate – sliced, medium-rare, tender and delicious. The thing is, Bolton explained, the restaurant will probably use the oven for everything but pizza and, as if to prove the point, produced a dish that included duck, bacon and roasted beetroot, with the bird coming from the oven, and some flat breads, including one with mozzarella and rosemary.
The Pavillion has come together nicely and is nearing completion. The restaurant, overlooking the treed patio, is nearly done and waiting on art work and some seating. The outdoor area has five tents, a pair of wooden patios with table seating, and a fountain. And the bar, which added an absinthe drip and saw Slow Boat Brewery set up its taps today, will have high-end house pours, with Belvedere, Grey Goose and Beluga the vodka options. Louison has created a list of house cocktails, including one with orange juice, Earl Grey tea and beer that seems like the ideal breakfast beverage — say, if you’re still on the premises at 6 PM. I’ll update when I have a firm opening date.
Meanwhile, two new sports bars are opening for those seeking to watch Euro 2012. One is Cuju, which will kick off in Xiguan Hutong tonight with Tiger draft (rmb15 for 330 ml, rmb25 for 500 ml) and Vedett and Liefman’s by bottle, with that list to quickly grow, says Badr Banjelloun.
The other is a place helpfully called Soccer on the east side of Workers Stadium, just north of A Hotel. The staff says they will have Carlsberg, Tiger and Tsingtao, French food, several TVs and a projection screen.
Work is coming along on The Big Smoke / Uncle Otis combo that will soon be opened by Kris Ryan (The Saddle Cantina, former Rickshaw) across from Frost on Xingfucun Road. Much of the décor has been finished and the place includes numerous rooms — one with booths, one in a boardroom style, one with a bar, etc — off a long hallway. At one entrance, there will be roast chicken (eat in or take out), while the rest of the place will have steaks and other fare, the kitchen headed by Saddle chef JP.
And Ocean Grounds in You-Town has three sandwiches and two salads on the menu. I tried a panini with chicken, provolone, jalapenos and homemade mayo last night for rmb55. While that is pricey for a panini, the portion is big and the ingredients decent, though I found the chicken too dry. I also saw a bacon and turkey sandwich and a Cobb salad, and will try those soon. While coffee is the focus here, I noticed that Ocean Ground is also offering everything from T-shirts to shampoos from California.