Anonymously Yours: a Dinner at the No Name Yunnan Restaurant
Nice play on word when “no name” becomes a name, ain’t it? It’s even more fun when the managing company runs two establishments within a minute of each other, both called “No Name” albeit one is a restaurant while the other is a fancy Yunnan restaurant: The NO NAME YUNNAN RESTAURANT 无名云南餐厅. (map)
To say that the place is hard to find is an understatement! Your best bet is to make it to their sister establishment, the No Name bar, and look at the map next to the entrance. Otherwise, you might end up roaming the hutongs of Houhai for a while.
The place is classy, gotta give them that much! The interior is a mix of rustic and traditional with wood and green being the prevalent themes. The restaurant is clean and the staff well groomed, wearing semi-traditional uniforms so they’re easy to spot on the floor.
We went in on a monday night with a group of 20 people for a friend’s goodbye dinner in Beijing and the initial ordering was chaotic to say the least. The staff was not ready to handle such a large group and was quite confused as to seating, ordering to the point where the whole group seriously considered leaving for warmed pastures. By 9:00 p.m. , almost 40mn after we walked in, we were able to place our order. I’m hoping it’s not an indication of the restaurant’s practices and that smalled groups will have a better experience but at the moment, I’m not impressed!
The menu was clear and illustrated with pictures, it also had name of dishes in chinese and English making it easy to read and order. One great point was that the looked very much like their pictures and that is not something we see everyday.
We had a vegetarian in our midst so the selection of dishes was a bit unusual but nevertheless good:
The mint & beef salad was fresh and spicy. Quite reminiscent of Thai cooking with the onions/beef and definitely an improvement over the one offered at Yunteng Shifu, the Yunnan Provincial Restaurant.
The sliced roasted mushroom were next. It looked like giant portobello slices in a delicate sauce, quite tasty and crunchy as opposed to the usual gooiness that we get with mushrooms. Also a good dish!
We got another couple of mushroom dishes which are so characteristic of Yunnanese cuisine. Again, the presentation was spotless
The crossing-the-bridge noodles were a bit of a surprise: The noodles came already pre-mixed and the sauce had a strong tomato taste which is definitely not authentic. It doesn’t take from their taste but nevertheless a disappointment. The ones at Dali Courtyard and Yunteng Shifu are definitely superior in every way possible.
Lastly, we had some of the best chicken wings i’ve had in a long time! grilled and wrapped in greenery. The taste was full and the meat fell off the bones. I ended up going for seconds and thirds.
Overall, I must say the food was good, very good! I was not impressed about the attitude of the staff or the prices which were on the higher spectrum of things! I expect better service in that price bracket including water when asked for and napkins. The food was not 100% authentic, one could say it was sanitized and expat friendly in many ways.
The quality of the dishes will have me going back and giving them another chance but I still believe that Yunteng Shifu reigns supreme as king of authentic yunnan cuisine in Beijing.
No Name Restaurant 无名餐厅 (map)
Xīchéngqū Dà Jīnsī Hútòng 1 Hào
Tel: 6618 6061