With its cold-fighting stodge and preponderance of wheat, the food of northern China is not often mentioned in the same breath as the word “refined,” so it may seem like an odd choice for a flagship Chinese restaurant in a high-end hotel. Yet the Rosewood Beijing has managed to take this rugged cuisine and elevate it to greater heights, by virtue of rustic-casual restaurant Country Kitchen. No fancy water glasses here. Instead the tables are set with burnished copper mugs and hand-crafted earthenware dishes, giving the restaurant the feel of an upscale canteen.

Country Kitchen’s short but sweet menu focuses on the staples of northern cuisine – dumplings, noodles, roasted meats – with hints of the cuisines of more southern climes thrown in here and there. For example, the kitchen shows its southern chops with a soup of organic black chicken (sourced locally in Shunyi) and yam. Some may love the dumplings, others may prefer their local hole-in-the-wall (and surprisingly the pricing is not that far apart), but that’s up to you. The absolute standout dish however is the whole roast organic Mongolian lamb leg (RMB 190), enough to feed a rampaging hoard of barbarians (or alternatively, six hungry diners). 

Don’t leave without trying one of the short selection of desserts, which combine traditional Beijing flavors and dishes with modern Western plating. The crispy peanut pancake (RMB 50), served with banana ice cream, ends on slightly savory note from the peanut, the perfect antidote to a meal of fatty lamb and hearty dumplings. 

More stories by this author here.

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Photos: Ken

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