Sit back and re­lax

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By YANG FEIYUE yangfeiyue@chi­

The space is small. The decor sim­ple. The menu unas­sum­ing.

That may not sound like a for­mula to cre­ate an In­ter­net frenzy, but Lazy Cof­fee and Bar tops the list of the 10 best places for a tea-time break by ne­ti­zens on Dian­, a popular web­site de­signed for peo­ple to rate din­ing ser­vice.

On the main street of Beijing’s Beilu­ogux­i­ang, the bar is an oa­sis of seren­ity, as op­posed to the hus­tle and bus­tle at Nan­lu­ogux­i­ang, just a stone’s throw away.

The main area is no more than 30 square me­ters and home to sev­eral small ta­bles cov­ered with quadrilled cloth, wooden chairs, a small book­shelf with CDs and books, and a long, com­fort­able couch. A more pri­vate room in the back can ac­com­mo­date three to five peo­ple.

The bar’s cof­fee of­fer­ings are all made from the beans of Ital­ian cof­fee brand Illy. A tiny cup of hand­made espresso, with its dense brown film on top, en­ables you to fully sa­vor the essence of the cof­fee beans. The brewis mod­er­ately bit­ter with a hint of sour­ness, and we’re ad­vised to drink it quickly — be­fore it gets cold, and be­fore the sour edge takes over and ru­ins the bal­ance of fla­vors.

The Blue Love, a cold non­al­co­holic cock­tail, fea­tures a French blue cu­ra­cao syrup mixed with soda wa­ter and lemon­ade made with home­made syrup on the bot­tom layer. The big glass gives a good first im­pres­sion, and the nice bal­ance of sweet, sour and soda re­freshes with­out leav­ing a sticky af­ter­taste in the mouth, as many sweet drinks do. Mo­ji­tos and other al­co­holic cock­tails are avail­able, too.

The ba­nana-fla­vored smoothie boasts nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents: a mash of milk, ba­nana and home­made syrup. Noth­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary but sim­ple and healthy.

Another high­light of the bar is the desserts, es­pe­cially the owner’s home­made waf­fles. But­ter cream, blue­berry sauce and fresh ba­nana slices are poise­donthe side, ready to com­ple­ment the thick, soft-cen­tered waf­fle.

“We mix flour and milk to­gether and don’t add any wa­ter in mak­ing the waf­fle,” says Wang Xiankang, one of the two own­ers of the bar.

The ball-shaped cookie, hand­made by the own­ers, is also popular, says Wang. It has a strong gran­u­lar tex­ture, and a dot­ting of choco­late par­ti­cles on the sur­face.

Other desserts are made by Wang’s friend Cao Kai, for­merly a pas­try chef with the JW Mar­riott Ho­tel. The brownie packs a load of wal­nuts and plenty of choco­late fla­vor.

Most of the bar’s drinks and desserts are no more than 30 yuan ($4.80).

Wang Xiankang and Zhang Sen were long­time DJs, and they opened the shop as a la­bor of love to keep en­ter­tain­ing friends from their mu­sic cir­cle. They didn’t hire any wait­staff — they dou­ble as wait­ers them­selves.

“We didn’t aim to make our small bar too com­mer­cial­ized and all foods are priced within or­di­nary peo­ple’s reach,” saysWang.

The homey at­mos­phere is also de­signed to drawin reg­u­lar cus­tomers. Guests are treated as the shop­keep­ers’ friends.

“I of­ten spend half a day here, sit­ting around and chat­ting with the boss,” says Chi Yu, a 27-year-old woman in the com­puter soft­ware ser­vice in­dus­try.

“It’s hard to find a place with­out chaos for us born and bred in Beijing, and Beilu­ogux­i­ang of­fers us a get­away in the noisy en­vi­ron­ment.”

Peo­ple will au­to­mat­i­cally lower their voices once they are en­veloped in the bar’s am­bi­ence, Chi notes, “so I never feel both­ered”.

Wang Xiankang even banned card-play­ing at the bar, risk­ing the loss of some cus­tomers to cre­ate a cozy and rel­a­tively peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment.

“The boss is very nice, the food here is not too sweet, and drinks are freshly made,” says Xu Jing, a reg­u­lar at the bar.

Xu es­pe­cially loves the home­made cook­ies and will of­ten pur­chase a bag of them to go. She usu­ally spends time here read­ing books.

Both cus­tomers love to play with the dog. WiFi ser­vice is also avail­able.

• Un Livre Cafe

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