On July 22, 2015, nearly 100 half-naked laowai paraded through Sanlitun. The (predominately white) foreigners sported Spartan warrior costumes, were fully shirtless, and held to-go boxes of leafy greens from Beijing-based salad-delivery company, Sweetie Salad. It was a bizarre publicity stunt the likes of which the Chinese saladmaking industry never seen. Naturally, the police stepped in. Did the guerrilla marketing pay off, though? To answer that, ask yourself: Have you yourself ordered Sweetie Salad? Have you heard of anyone else ordering Sweetie Salad? And, finally, did you know that Sweetie Salad has just opened its first proper restaurant, in Liangmaqiao? No, you likely did not. But the brand-new store in The Grand Summit is attracting attention regardless, for a reason entirely less scandalous: its design.
A solid step above your usual fair, but not demanding the time and table etiquette of fine dining, La Rosée is the latest restaurant by the group behind Maison FLO and F. Bistronome. The new concept isn’t fusion, exactly – it’s more like French techniques, given freedom.
See a listing for La Rosée
The quick and dirty XLB are gone now. Fittingly, however, the former Bar Street welcomed a new Shanghai-style joint more suited to its new look: Yipin Xiaolong. The xiaolongbao joint is a citywide chain (though this Sanlitun one marks their first in central Beijing), and their vibes are more corporate, accordingly.
Just steps from both Great Leap and Jing-A, Australian brewery Little Creatures has opened its first Beijing location. For us, this makes a lovely craft beer trifecta. For them, this makes a challenge – can Little Creatures ensnare Beijing’s discerning beer drinkers? The brand has already done so in Hong Kong and Shanghai, thanks to a winning formula. Little Creatures serves beer by, well, Little Creatures. From their full-on IPA to their mellow Rogers’ Amber Ale, you really can’t go wrong with your choice (beers are RMB50 for a pint, RMB35 for a half).
With a rotating cast of DJs playing different styles of music every night (special props to Funk night on Thursdays) along with guest DJs, Aurora is gunning to be the spot you show up to after a drunk dinner and leave from with someone to be fruitful and multiply. The club plans on mostly playing various styles of house music and nudisco, along with regular helpings of funk. As far as vibe goes, think more Lantern and Dada than Sirteen or Kokomo. And, oh, Aurora also has a kitchen with burgers, steaks, and Mexican food provided by Chen Wen Cai, formerly of Luga’s.
East Canteen at The Taco Bar
A new pop-up turns The Taco Bar into a Chinese-inspired lunch joint on weekdays.
Chuanqi Grassland Shield Barbecue is not a bad spot. While we are unsure as to the level of authenticity at this Mongolian-style BBQ joint (kimchi bewilderingly appears with the sides), the food is definitely tasty.
See a listing for Chuanqi Grassland Shield Barbecue
Tasting Moments is the little sister of popular Taiwan joint Taoyuan Village, but, unfortunately, doesn’t live up to expectations. Their stylish modern decor looks great, but even its minimalist, pale adornments seem to have more flavor than the food on offer.
See a listing for Tasting Moments
Side Street, on the premises of the former Ron Mexico, looks a lot like, well, the former Ron Mexico. Side Street does, however, offer a change in terms of food – simple, satisfying burgers are on offer alongside sides such as chips and chutney. Choose from a decent selection of craft beers or reasonably priced mixed drinks.
See a listing for Side Street