I don’t go out to eat at fancy restaurants in Beijing. Who has time with two kids under four? But, recently, I was a guest at King’s Joy Vegetarian restaurant at Yonghegong—on a coveted afternoon without kids—and, well, I was completely blown away.
Let’s just start with constant dry ice billowing up from the enclosed courtyard in which the sunken seating was positioned under wide skylights; add the live harp and cello player to the ambiance; factor in the array of flavors and tastes combined in the combo meals; and then, top that with a sophisticated (and charmingly antiquated) feedback system in which they provide you with a piece of paper, a calligraphy pen, and the opportunity to play with stamps as you write out your impressions of their establishment and you have a remarkable dining experience very unlike your average luncheon.
The restaurant was pricey, this I also concede. But, despite having been treated to this delicious and impressionable meal, I will now most certainly return for a special event prepared to pay from my own wallet. Unlike many expensive restaurants, this one truly delivers in all arenas: food, environment, design, service, ambiance, finishing touches, and philosophy.
Photos: Ember Swift