There is a dearth of fine dining options in Shunyi. Most of the area’s residents are resigned to going downtown for a sophisticated culinary experience. So when something close to home catches our eye, we jump on the chance to give it a try.
I was initially wary about what a lunch at Liang He Fang Restaurant would be like. We didn’t know anyone who had tried it and couldn’t find any reviews of the place. But how could we not be drawn in by the entrance to the hotel compound where the restaurant is housed?
It is a non-descript turn-off from the road next to the river separating Shunyi from Chaoyang; the same river that runs parallel to River Garden, Capital Paradise, Gahood and Yosemite. Over on the other side, on Huosha Lu (towards the exit to Jincheng Gaosu) is a sign for a hotel called Heyuan Royal Garden Hotel.
To get to the restaurant, you drive nearly two kilometers into a compound along a nice wooded lane. The path was full of cars on the Sunday we went exploring, so we assumed that the restaurant would be crowded but it turned out that they were visiting the gardens adjacent to the hotel. The grounds are clearly a well-kept secret among locals who were milling about on that gorgeous October early afternoon. One family had cleverly taken over a huge tree and set up balloons and a picnic table for their child’s birthday party. The guests, a mix of foreign and local families, had fun playing around the area by the lake and on the sandpit.
When we stepped into the restaurant, we were given a choice between a Chinese hotpot and a Japanese teppanyaki lunch. While we love Chinese cuisine, hotpot is not exactly a family favorite, so we decided to go with the latter. We were led into a teppanyaki room that we had all to ourselves. The table for five was perfect for our family of four, affording us a little extra elbow room.
As is usually the case when I am out dining with the boys, I did the ordering and we proceeded to sit back and see how everything unfolded. Our first impression was that the table and the room itself were very clean. The dining area was set next to a glass window, affording a view of the gardens, and yet it was cleverly-designed to be a half-floor above ground, set off by an elevated terrace. This meant that the kids running around outside couldn’t come up and gawp at us like they would fish in an aquarium. We proceeded to enjoy our lunch in relative peace.
When the food came, I realized that I had again ordered a little too much, but everything was so delicious and finely-cooked that we gamely tucked into everything. On our grill was thinly-sliced Angus beef, so fine that as soon as the hot spatula touched it, the meat browned. When quickly seared on both sides and seasoned with salt and pepper, it melted in the mouth. We also had cubed steak, fish fillets, mushrooms and onion rings. One of the adults’ favorites was a whole turbot wrapped in an aluminum foil packet and steamed with water and Chinese rice wine, also cooked in front of us on the table. Japanese-style fried rice and some soup rounded off a very filling meal.
While the quality of the food was excellent and the cooking show was a treat, the meal was not cheap. Expect to shell out upwards of RMB350 per head for lunch. The servings are small but the pause between courses gives your stomach just enough chance to tell you if you don’t need much more.
Liang He Fang would be a great place to visit for a special occasion. Call ahead for reservations if you want to try for dinner. 6954 2348. Open daily.
Liang He Fang 两河舫
57 Bianhe Lu, Houshayuzhen, Shunyi (inside Heyuan Royal Garden compound) (6954 2348）
To get to Liang He Fang, take An Hua Jie between ISB and BSB. Keep driving towards Huosha Lu, past Yosemite, Dragon Bay and Rose and Gingko villas. Turn left on Huosha Lu, stay to the left when you cross the bridge. Just past the river, turn left into the entrance to Heyuan Royal Garden Hotel. Drive in and you will see the signs for Liang He Fang 两河舫 (no English name on sign, but you will see “high class restaurant” in black). You can park right across the Heyuan hotel on the main lane and walk down the path to the restaurant, past the tennis court that is still under construction.
Photos by Dana Cosio-Mercado
Dana is the beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent. Originally from the Philippines, she moved to Beijing in 2011 (via Europe) with her husband, two sons and Rusty the dog. She enjoys writing, photography, theater, visual arts, and trying new food. In her free time, she can be found exploring the city and driving along the mountain roads of Huairou, Miyun and Pinggu.