Hutong sips ‘n’ bites | Orange Hour, Wild Kite & the new Taco Bar

The new Taco Bar is open in the same Andingmen courtyard that houses natural wine bar Orange Hour and craft brew pub Wild Kite.

Kin Hong says they are working out the details but Taco Bar will offer deals during the day, including some geared to the crowd that works regularly out of cafes, plus big lunch sets for rmb65. Expect a bright decor with table and bench seating.

The happy hour deal runs from 3 PM to 7 PM: buy a cocktail or pint and get a free taco. Taco Bar opens from 11:30 AM (closed Mondays).

Veteran food scene friend The Worm went for lunch today and had a one-word review: “Great!” Plus, I saw a photo of the filet-o-fish looking dish below–that’s going to be the first thing I order.

A few steps away, Orange Hour has 50-plus bottles on offer starting from ~rmb230. While most stock is imports, there are a dozen-plus options from local producers such as like Xiao Pu and Puchang.

(Expect lots more locally produced natural / pet nat / biodynamic / whatnot wines as winemakers here increasingly try their hands at these. I’ll write a separate post about this.)

I had a German Pinot Blanc, one of three options by the glass at rmb90, and it was bright and crisp. A truly delicious pour.

Orange Hour also does hot dogs from rmb28. I was impressed at how diligently the team grilled the tube steak, which arrived with a slightly crispy skin and sesame seed-festooned bun, and loaded with condiments.

I grabbed a high stool at the bar and enjoyed my wine and hot dog. There is also table seating plus an outdoor space when the weather behaves.

Also a few steps away, I grabbed a house blond ale at Wild Kite and tried the burger, which ended up sloppier than me after that fifth martini. This one is served halved, with nice texture and heft, and ample saucing. A worthy effort although I believe a touch more salt, and spiciness, might be even better. The beer-battered fries were the stars of the meal and will become your new best friends.

Wild Kite has seven seats at the counter, with lots of small tables for two to four behind, a fairly spartan outlay, and lots of hard edges, so it’ll get quite noisy–shades of the former Prodigy Bar. Music is eclectic–Foreigner’s “Hot Blooded” to an “If I Had a Hammer” remake to, if my ear is on, Lou Reed.

With Taco Bar now open, looks like it’s time to return for a courtyard tour.

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