This restaurant recently received Time Out Beijing's Best New Restaurant for 2013 so we went for a set menu at lunch on a weekend, followed by a visit to the Lama Temple. The restaurant is located at the entrance of a hutong about 150m down from the entrance of the temple.
The restaurant itself is beautiful, in a wonderfully restored siheyuan, the traditional courtyard complex. The interior is a great mix of east and west and is very spacious and light filled. The service was attentive and professional.
We chose to have the set menu for RMB499 pp. There are many set menus to choose from for RMB199, RMB299, RMB499, RMB799 and RMB999. There are two versions of the set menu at each price point, a standard set and another which is more strictly "vegetarian" in the traditional sense which means the flavours are more clean and pure and therefore excludes stronger tasting flavours (spices, soy sauce) and ingredients (herbs, garlic, etc). We were recommended the RMB499 standard set menu as it was a good balance between tasting the restaurant's specialty dishes, but also not having too many courses. This set menu included 6 courses plus entree, soup, and dessert. It was very filling.
The food was simply exquisite and exceeded all our expectations. We are not vegetarians but enjoy vegetarian dishes. In everyday life though, it is often hard to find great tasting vegetarian food which leaves your tastebuds and hunger satisfied. Not so here. The dishes hit all the right notes - they were delicious, lovingly made and the textures were clever and varied - the mushrooms, tofu and lotus balls often had the texture and feel of meat but fresher tasting. Standout dishes for us were the fried tofu balls dipped in homemade chilli sauce and mushrooms cooked sanbei (three cup) style. The set menu also features matsutake with melons. Given that the RMB499 set menu does include matsutake, I think it is actually good value for money.
This is a relatively new restaurant but I hope it will receive more reviews on Tripadvisor as it really is a fantastic restaurant. I will definitely be taking visitors to Beijing here.