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Coffee, cocktails and codfish in the city

By Li Yingxue | China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-24 08:57
The newly opened Lincey Italian Cuisine in Beijing offers a variety of Italian specialties, including (clockwise from left) Tiramisu Classic, Lincey Salad and Parma ham with honey melon. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Italian restaurants are a popular choice for five-star hotels in Beijing, yet it's rare to find one in the heart of a business district.

Located in Chaowai Soho in Beijing's busy central business district, Lincey Italian Cuisine opened on April 1, with a painting of a peacock peeping through its windows helping to differentiate it from its neighboring vendors.

Owner Wang Danfeng, 31, wanted to create a warm yet elegant atmosphere that combined some home comforts with a dash of luxury.

"Traditional Italian cuisine is like Chinese cooking, as it often has a sense of a family reunion. So I wanted to create a place where young people striving in the capital could come to relax and enjoy company," says Wang.

The restaurant's manager, Cristian Rojas, is also Lincey's barista and bartender. As an Italian restaurateur who grew up in Argentina, Rojas received 12 years of training as a barista in Ireland and jokingly admits to being a self-confessed "coffee geek".

His signature drink is Irish coffee, which contains whiskey, brown sugar, hand-pressed coffee and fresh cream, giving it an aromatic scent combined with a smoky flavor.

"Irish coffee is the most popular and well-known liqueur coffee," says Rojas. "Although many places make it in different ways, I like to keep it traditional. We don't use a machine to make it - every ingredient is handmade."

The Mount Fuji-like cream float on top of the Irish coffee presents a poetic sight to the eye and also helps to soften the kick from the coffee and liquor on the palate.

Irish coffee is traditionally paired with Jameson whiskey from Ireland, but whiskey lovers can try upgrading it to Kilchoman single-malt Scottish whisky for a stronger punch.

Selecting the right ingredients is the key to perfecting Irish coffee, and Rojas has to pair the right coffee beans with his choice of whiskey to get the flavor right.

"In a sense, it's like Italian cuisine, as it consists of just a few ingredients, but they match and complement each other very well," Rojas says.

Lincey also offers a variety of classic Italian coffee and cocktails. For cocktails, Rojas likes to recommend each person the right cocktail to suit their taste.

His Prado cocktail is another signature work he makes using silver tequila - a particular kind of maraschino liqueur - and egg white, among other ingredients, to create a unique flavor.

The restaurant's other specialties, such as codfish and seafood in tomato sauce, Lincey salad, octopus linguine and four-cheese gnocchi, as well as beef fillet in black pepper sauce, have all proved popular with younger diners.

Lu Haibo, the chef at Lincey, is one of the first chefs in Beijing who received training in Italian cuisine. Lu has been working in Italian restaurants as an executive chef since 1999, and his passion for the job has never waned.

Lu cooks roast chicken leg with baked potatoes in a way that suits Chinese preferences. "I want to make dishes that appeal to young people while at the same time remain true to the traditional tastes of Italy. I am open to adjusting our menu accordingly to provide finer and more tailored service," says Lu.

If you go
9:30 am-11 pm, 0105A, 1F, 6B Chaowai Street, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-5869-0078.

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