Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The High Place and Flatwhite Cafe at 798 Art Zone, Beijing

Walking through the exciting and visually stunning 798 Art Zone in Beijing is thirsty work.
It was late afternoon, the sun was going down and the air had turned from cold to
brrrr cold!
Time for a hot cuppa!

Tree houses have been my fascination since I was young and had one in our back yard. What luck to find this glass "tree house" right smack in the middle of 798! Called the High Place, it's a gallery cum coffee shop.

The small gallery downstairs greets you with a sign -- coffee on the roof!

Serendipity! My friend and I find cozy armchairs right by the glass windows overlooking the street. With ceiling to floor views, it's almost like floating on air!

We look out across the street to more galleries, artists' workshops, art installations ...

Some street selling action is happening below us as a vendor pulls up with his trolley laden with coffee table art books.

I look up on the glass ceiling and the leafless branches form a striking silhouette against the gray Beijing sky. On a less cold day, you can actually go up on the roof and climb the platform and have coffee al fresco. And why not, this is a modern tree house after all!

Our hot drinks arrive! I order hot longan honey tea and it is fragrant, sweet and delicious. The warmth soon spreads through my fingers and all the way down to my toes!

My friend orders a mochaccino -- the star art on the foam reminds me of our very own parol.

The High Place Coffee House is not very big -- it's got nooks and corners and it's very cozy (ooh, I hate that word but this is just what it is!) and the ambience is just perfect for a wintry afternoon.

After coffee and walking around for another hour, we find that it's almost dinner time. 798 Art Zone is 20 kilometers from Beijing center but with the horrendous traffic, it can take more than an hour to travel back to our hotel. So we decide to check out the Flatwhite Cafe for something to eat before we leave.

Just like the High Place, the interiors are contemporary and modern. You could transfer Flatwhite Cafe to any global mega- city and it would blend right in.
More paintings line the cool beige walls.

The menu is western and built around pastas and sandwiches. For starters, we order the bean nachos. Crisp tortilla chips come with a huge dollop of salsa, cream and melted cheese. Gooey and good!

My friend has this vegetarian pesto with lots of green vegs and slivers of emmenthal cheese on top.

The menu lists a vegetarian carbonara (!) which is actually penne with lots of chilies, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and more vegs! Who knew carbonara came in a vegetarian version?

Afternoon shadows had given way to dusk -- we lingered at Cafe Flatwhite -- relishing the good
food, the warm and comfortable atmosphere -- it was a heart (and tummy) warming way to end our visit to the 798 Art Zone!

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