Shopping in Taikoo Li is a task that calls for caffeine, and Elephant Grounds is here to meet the call with a healthy breakfast to boot.
It is easy to spot with its wooden plank siding that sticks out among the sleek shops of the mall. The woodsy aesthetic extends indoors, where seating surrounds a large, moss-covered column, resembling a bird’s-eye view of the rainforest. Patrons can choose to sit either at the marble bar underneath the moss or at the wooden tables that line the large windows.
Toward the back, modernity takes over with an all-white coffee bar where a barista serves up hipster coffee options to rival the specialty shops in the area: a choice of Chemex and V60 pour-over brews, Aeropress espresso, and a nitro cold brew that easily gives Starbucks a run for their money. Even the iced tea will put a skip in your step as two different types of oolong threaten to replace your morning coffee.
Staff is friendly and eager to serve you with a menu card appropriate for the time of day. The breakfast menu includes a matcha yogurt parfait for your morning dose of antioxidants and probiotics, and there is no shortage of healthy fruit with the acai bowl – banana, strawberry, acai berry, blueberry, apricot seeds, and coconut shavings are served with oats and their specially made blueberry yogurt. Those who prefer protein can opt instead for the eggs, which come in omelet, benedict, and florentine form.
Admittedly, we found the pop music soundtrack a bit jarring for breakfast, but it could work well for later in the day. Stop by during a hot afternoon for a scoop of their artisanal ice cream – some adventurous flavors include the Japanese taro and Thai iced tea. Try it in a waffle cone or in one of their creative efforts to add ice cream to cold coffee or tea. For the evening, choose from a binary selection of craft beers: cranberry and cherry or “Roman Holiday” wheat.
Elephant Grounds may not provide the full ambiance of nearby competitors, but its volume of drink and food choices reward repeat visits, and even offers diners the option to eat healthy as long as they take it easy on the ice cream.
Door s5-15, 1/F, 19 Sanlitun Courtyard, Bldg 5, Taikoo Li, Chaoyang District
Photos courtesy of Elephant Grounds