Fit to be Thai'd: Mulu Review

By Holly Baer, July 6, 2018

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Those of us used to the cliche of a ‘hidden gem’ in the hutongs know to expect a certain atmosphere. Mulu, in a lot of ways, meets expectations. There’s a welcome cleanliness and chic decor that immediately separates us from the bustle of hutong grannies and rambunctious children outside. 

If you recognize the name, that's because there used to be a restaurant named Mulu in this very spot – though it was shut two years ago, and the reopening is helmed by a new team, which will also open a location in Wangfujing. At this Mulu, we choose a rooftop table to get a view of the houses below and the alleyways around us. Go at sunset and you’ll find a breezy, third-date vibe – the kind of place you’d bring someone you want to go steady with before you’ve found the words to tell them. 


We start with the prawn and scallop pancake (RMB58), served with red curry dip – one of the most exceptional starters we’ve had in Beijing. The scallops taste like the sea, the pancake leans crispy and the curry dip is so good that, when the waiter isn’t looking, we drink it with a spoon. 

We follow up with a roast duck and lychee salad (RMB78). When we hear “duck and lychee,” we expect maybe two or three pieces of duck and a lychee on top. Mulu bucks expectations by giving us so much duck and lychee that we think we’ve ordered another main course. What’s lacking is salad – the duck works here, but it could use more greens. While the sweet lychee compliments the savory duck nicely, the aftermath look like a puddle of plum dressing. Duck is a finicky bird – if you’re not careful with it, you can duck up your whole dish. 

For the main course, the venison rendang padang (RMB108) doesn’t disappoint, featuring New Zealand venison slow-cooked for five hours. Add yellow rice to soak up its juices once you’re done. Finish up with the mango sticky rice (RMB58), a Thai classic. Mulu’s version has a thick caramel shell to crack, like a Southeast Asian creme brulee. 

With the food comes warm service. We are delighted by impeccable, attentive hosts all evening, with waiters quick to answer our questions and explain the menu. 

Ultimately, nothing goes better with a view than a cocktail, and we enjoy the passionfruit mojito. The RMB88 price tag is a bit steep for a drink served in a tin can with metal straws, though the aesthetic will definitely fulfill your hutong hipster dream.

See a listing for Mulu and read more Beijing Bar & Restaurant Reviews 

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