Sips & bites | Lucky, Awaguli, Seesaw & Jing Yard in South Sanlitun

Lots happening in Sanlitun South these days as any stroll reveals. The former 1949: The Hidden City, now called Jing Yard, is set to launch with a party on Saturday. Expect a Chinese restaurant, bakery, a lounge called Amid, a Perrier-Jouet bar, and non-F&B outlets.. We’ll see if these draw as well as the likes of Okra, Jing-A and Duck de Chine. (Anyone remember some of the other opening venues? Taverna? 1/5? Sugar Bar?)

Awaguli Bar is set to officially open beside The Rug. The entrance, design and desert art gave hope it might be a (much-needed) Afunti-type place in these parts but word is the food focus will be Italian. At least our neighborhood has finally got a beer keg waterfall thing-y.

Meanwhile, a branch of Shanghai coffee operation Seesaw has opened across from Tiens Tiens. Will check it out soon. And will add that Tiens Tiens has one of the most sublime rooftops in the city.

The Salsa Caribe space is going to do Mexican comfort food? With lots of ABN InBev brews, namely, Goose Island and Boxing Cat? That’s the word. Sounds like Q Mex is going to be surrounded by places kind of trying to be like Q Mex.

That brings us to Lucky, directly above Q Mex. I first met the Lucky staff two weeks ago as I walked by with a breakfast jianbing, and they were as friendly then as during my first visit this week. The menu is American comfort, with burgers in the lead and pizza to come. There are also lots of super-sized items, like massive desserts studded with candies and Oreos, and a burger mountain with four burgers stacked on top of each other (see photo). It’s all a work in progress, though the place did have its super-hero / super-villain theme down, from the murals inside to the guy dressed up as Deadpool out front.

Lucky has a range of buns made with the inclusion of spinach, beetroot or [insert food here] for colorful effect. Head chef Yong told me he spent eight years in the UK restaurant trade and recently consulted in Beijing at Rodeo.

I got a chicken burger, a nicely breaded tender thigh on a spinach-y bun, with onions, tomato and more. The waffle fries had a nice amount of bite and spice.

Along with cocktails, Lucky stocks six craft beers. The black tea lager had just sold out–I did get a whiff of its floral goodness–so I got passionfruit gose. This one intensely represents its namesake fruit and has a nice sour edge.

The Lucky theme becomes evident when paying. Roll a triple at the craps table or get your number at roulette and eat for free. Given the weather, with a nice breeze, it was a nice spot to grab a beer and a bite and gaze at the action on the street below.

I returned the next day to try the lunch deal. It’s drink + salad + side + main, starting from rmb36, depending on which main you order. A soda water, a garden salad (with some jalapeno zip), potato wedges (fine), a huge hot dog (not too chewy and probably better grilled and smoky given the caramelized onions below) for rmb36. Sometimes I wonder how anyone makes money in this business.

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