A central avenue of all things hip, Sanlitun is known for housing the goliaths of gourmet dining spots in Beijing. But sometimes a foil is what an area needs to call itself truly diverse. Sadly, that’s where Vltava comes in.
Located on the third floor of the Topwin Center, sure, this Czech restaurant sports a very welcoming charm. Upon entering, the omnipresent inhouse brewery boldly pronounces “We make our own beer.” We start off with a Dalesicke brew (RMB48) and a dish humbly named Typical Bread (RMB48) – which was, well, very typical, though a tad over-salted.
While it may not turn your average local Beijinger away, Vltava gently enforces WeChat or the China Merchant’s Bank app as a means to order. Basically, if you don’t have either – you, uh, can’t order. No, really. We tried several times to order the good old-fashioned way but without much luck.
Nevertheless, we fought on: Next up was an assortment of hearty sausages alongside some condiments (RMB120). Alright, we’ll admit, these were solid and complimented the beer – bonus points. The Czech potato salad (RMB38) arrived promptly after, made with decent mayonnaise given the creaminess of it – a nice surprise from the cheap Miracle Whip we’re expecting.
Soon plates where flying out and before we knew it our table was full of Czech delights. From the warm and filling potato dumplings with herbs (RMB20 for three) to the trout (RMB108) – a sad portion for such a high price – we noticed a trend. Potatoes. Everywhere. The big kahuna arrived in the form of a barbecue pork knee (RMB198). Tender and juicy, with just the right amount of fat, this was the saving grace.
All in all, after working out some muchneeded kinks (the bathroom requires a bit of a hunt into the neighboring hotel), Vltava might be a good spot for a hearty winter meal.
[Images via Andrew Braun/That's]