The latest addition to the many small Japanese joints popping up around the Gulou-Beixinqiao area is Koharu Biyori, set just to the left of Beixinqiao subway exit C and directly opposite local Japanese juggernaut, Suzuki Kitchen

Koharu Biyori is a veritable oasis compared to the craziness that is Guijie just around the corner. The space, with seats for around 30, features simple and stylish decor blond wood, ecru walls, assorted pastel tchotchkes, you know the drill.

The one-sided menu (in Chinese only, the staff told us an English version is in the works) holds a selection of skewers, cold dishes, and noodles. A small group of us ate our way through most of the menu and while nothing is groundbreaking, the food is satisfying enough. Highlights included the Japanese-style cold noodles (RMB 32) and some crispy skinned grilled mackerel (RMB 22). The rest of the meal, including a dish of Japanese-style cold tofu and some tasty chicken and scallion skewers, erred a little on the salty side and had us reaching for the cool draft Asahi.

Koharu Biyori may not be the most authentic option in the area, but we are happy to see more fairly priced and well-thought out restaurant options opening in the vicinity of Beijing's hot pot haven.

Koharu Biyori
Daily 11.30am-2pm, 5.30-10pm. 16, 288 Dongzhimen Neidajie (left out of Beixinqiao subway exit C), Dongcheng District (176 0083 1976)

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Photos: Robynne Tindall

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