Sips & bites: Taps’ awesome lunch, Blue Frog’s opening bash, plus Ciro’s Pomodoro, Brussels, Fubar

TAPS BAR & GRILL, the relatively new and revamped German-themed space below Luga’s Villa, has an excellent lunch special from 11 AM to 3 PM, seven days a week. Patrons get the following for a mere rmb48:

  • Two pieces of dark German-style bread
  • Cream of broccoli soup or beef goulash
  • Choice of four mains: 1) Jagerschnitzel and fries or 2) curry sausage and fries or 3) beef goulash on homemade noodles or 4) Schwabentopf, a noodle stew with cream and mushrooms and topped with pork fillet.
  • A soft drink or 200 ml draft German beer

I recommend giving the Schwabentopf or the beef goulash and noodles a try.

Seating options include the patio out front, the lower level (you might have to swat a few mosquitoes) and a zone in-between with tables and lounge space. The wait staff  is polite, the wireless signal is good, the chairs are relatively comfy and the self-serve beer taps are nearby in case one wants to invite one’s friends for an impromptu drinking session. The only downside: a kitchen staff that can easily be heard shouting and, perhaps worse, sneezing despite the moderately loud music.

Other specials at Taps:

  • Monday: Buy one, get one schnitzel (4 PM to midnight)
  • Tuesday: Buy one, get one German draft beer, with  Gaffel, Radelberger, Eibauer and Paulaner as options (4 PM to midnight)
  • Wednesday: discounts on sausages, with plates starting from rmb38 (4 PM to midnight)
  • Nightly: Four meat and bun options, including sausage, breaded pork and meat loaf, at rmb18 (midnight to close)

The food menu includes giant pretzels at rmb18, cheese and meat plates from rmb58, 300-gram sirloins with potatoes at rmb135, and much  more, not to mention a good range of German beer options.

Nali Patio first-floor original CIRO’S POMODORO has closed shop, joining the likes of Let’s Burger and Pantry Magic. The veteran continues to be The Saddle Cantina. I’m not sure why Ciro’s closed — perhaps, like Let’s Burger, lease renewal coincided with a rent increase? — but this situation caught many by surprise, mainly because they never thought this place would last so long. Me, too, given my first three visits included witnessing a member of the kitchen staff through the restaurant with a dripping plunger (see Ciro’s Pomodoro: As its slogan goes, ‘Expect the Unexpected’). The burning question is what happens to all those photos of the

BLUE FROG will hold an opening bash at its Indigo branch in Lido on August 31, from 7 PM to late. If this party is anything like the last one, expect plenty of food, drink and fun (see Jump-start: Twelve notes from the Blue Frog You-Town launch). Entry is rmb100 for adults and rmb50 for children, with all proceeds to Operation Smile. The last bash raised more than rmb35,000.

BRUSSELS no longer includes a drink with its Buffalo chicken burger lunch special, though at rmb20, it still offers good value (and comes with fries). The rmb58 fish fry on Fridays, from 5 PM until close, has proven popular. Brussels has also started serving rmb10 Mojitos from 9 PM to 10 PM on Saturdays. “They are real, full-size Mojitos and we don’t skimp on them,” says Kenn Bermel.

Fans of the rmb50 Hendrick’s Gin and Tonic at FUBAR now need an extra ten-kuai note when the bill comes. The budget conscious can always go from 1 AM to 4 AM on Fridays and Saturdays for the rmb100 all you can drink deal — and the Double Dawg deal: two wieners, one bun, rmb25 –  though I’d take a return to the original Hendrick’s Tonic price instead. Fubar has rmb10 Mojitos on Wednesdays from 7 PM to 9 PM and rmb10 Sangria on Thursdays from 7 PM to 9 PM.

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