According to dianping, Beijing is home to 3036 Sichuan restaurant vs. 831 Xinjiang eateries (as of 2010-6-3)! It sure doesn’t feel that way because I see a lot more of the latter than the former but that might just be my own bias and the areas where i go to. It’s also easier to spot a Chuan’r stand form miles away than wok with a la zi ji in it!
Spread all over the city, it’s no wonder that even a clean cut area like Lido has such a restaurant: Silkroad Xinjiang restaurant (丝路驿站)
I would have never heard of this place had it not been for the fact that they had a backyard BBQ music festival headlined by GAWTMY on the same night at day 2 of the 2 Kolegas anniversary! Still, a fellow and friends need eating so I dragged a dozen or so folks with me out there to try things out! If you’re not familiar with the Lido area, I definitely recommend calling the restaurant ahead of time for directions!
The restaurant is freaking gorgeous in a rustic modern way. Big open space, wooden tables and even outdoor seating. This is not your grandpa’s Xinjiang restaurant, one might argue it’s a little too clean and upscale but it won’t be me.
The gang arrived and got to ordering for a a lovely menu, well illustrated and with clear explanations more or less. The prices, as was expected, matched the decor and the neighborhood but were still on the reasonable end of the spectrum. We ordered the usual suspects: a roast leg of lamb, chuan’r, kao baozi, da pan ji, nan, black Sinkiang Beer, a few veggie dishes got ready for a good time.
the place definitely gets an A for presentation and cleanliness. The dishes looked impeccable and the staff was mostly well groomed. How about the grub man?was it any good?
I’d say it was pretty darn solid! Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t match the reigning champion of Xinjiang Cuisine in Beijing, the Kashgar representative office, but it’s quite solid on its own:
The Chuan’r, while pricey at 9RMB a pop were well done and tender with just the right amount of fat. The roast leg of lamb came out with crispy golden shades on silver platter and was discretely seasoned, neither spicy nor bland. The Da Pan JI was a bit of a letdown IMHO being too spicy and missing a lot of Ji… there were more potatoes and noodles than chicken but it still looked good.
The Kao Baozi hit the spot with a good balance of lamb, fat and onions.. this was the one dish that might have been better than at the Kashgar.
so, for 11 people including drinks, the meal came out at about RMB 800 but we managed to get 20% discount for some odd reason bringing the price down to a reasonable RMB 650
Overall, I liked the place and was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere. I’m not gonna go out of my way for it and still like my xinjiang places to feel less sanitized. That said, I’ll definitely go back if I have out of town guests that might be weary of going to Niu Jie or if I’m stuck in LIDO and in the mood for non-western fare.
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