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“Fantastic Find - Well presented & organised”

Black Sesame Kitchen
Ranked #3 of 12,642 Restaurants in Beijing
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $50 - $50
Cuisines: Chinese, Asian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Local cuisine, Families with children, Special occasions
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Cash Only, Free Wifi, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wine and Beer
Neighborhood: Houhai
Description: We are a reservations-only dining experience offering a set menu of ten courses and two wine pairings in an open kitchen where you'll learn the secrets of Chinese cuisine.
Winchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
34 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Fantastic Find - Well presented & organised”
Reviewed September 18, 2013

As a frequent business visitor to Beijing it's always good to find a good restaurant to ad to the list and this one is certainly in the top 3 and can't wait to go back.
The booking communication was excellent, Michelle is efficient, friendly and attention to the right detail such as timing, directions and the type of evening to expect was useful.
My colleague/friend and I nearly backed out at the last minute but decided to go for it as we'd booked and we are so glad we did. The food was fantastic, the company varied and entertaining - like minded people who want a bit of adventure and are brave enough to enter the intimate environment of dining in a small kitchen at a table for 10 - it works! The wine flowed freely (the white and the red was delicious.
The concept is excellent, watching (in a ceiling mirror) the delicious 10 courses being cooked whilst we drank and made merry - all included for 300RMB per head. The atmosphere was relaxed - we were all getting a snapshot of each others' lives, knowing we'd be unlikely meet again made us all rather more open than maybe one would usually be. Conversation was fascinating between such a diverse group: 1 x neuro-scientist, an anesthetist, horse-breeder, shoe manufacturer, explorer off to Tibet, a couple just completed the trans-Siberian railway journey and ourselves.
Each of the 10 courses was utterly gorgeous, fresh, tasty, spicy, hot, bursting with flavours and each introduced by the bubbly waitress Coco who made us all feel at ease. - however the black sesame ice-cream is unforgettable and we will certainly be returning on our trip in the spring- probably twice if we can get the bookings!
Can't wait to return - such a shame this concept wouldn't work in the UK, but waiting for a traditional English roast to cook in an over while we watched may not have the same atmosphere.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
5 Thank Jemma P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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638 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    520
    79
    27
    6
    6
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Czech first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
41 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Don't miss this experience!”
Reviewed September 14, 2013

We were lucky enough to sneak in to Black Sesame when another guest cancelled. What luck! Black Sesame is the complete dining experience. Some people may be intimidated in trying to find it. It's in a houtong, down a warren of little alleys. We google mapped it, printed the map, got directions from the restaurant itself, and still needed to ask for directions from a kind woman on the street. This is part of the experience. Just go with the flow. You end up walking through a secluded houtong shopping, and eating area. It's totally cool and worth coming to even without the restaurant. But don't miss the restaurant.
Black Sesame seats about 20 people at two communal tables. One table is right in front of the open kitchen. We'd originally planned to sit there so we could watch the chefs but discovered that this table had stools, while the other had chairs with backs, so we opted for the latter. We were delighted with our choice. Our dinner companions were ex-pats from assorted countries all living in Beijing. The conversation was lively, diverse and lots f fun. The $50 set meal (there's no ordering) includes limitless wine or beer. The ten course meal starts with dumplings and moves from one delicious course to the next until you finally arrive at the black sesame ice cream, which you should save room for. The staff speaks excellent English. Dinner runs from 7PM - 10PM. You're kindly asked to wrap it up at 10 since its a residential houtong. All in all a really wonderful and memorable evening. Make a reservation a couple months in advance, and don't miss Black Sesame!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Liz L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Queretaro City, Mexico
Level Contributor
26 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Totally worths the experience”
Reviewed September 13, 2013

This small, tiny spot has earned a great reputation and today we learned why.
It took us several weeks to find a date for a booking, so we had really high expectations. And no disappointment after all.
Great service (thanks Michelle and Coco), great food (live cooking "show"), fabulous place (that you wouldn't pay a penny from the outside), and perfect location to have a flavor of Beijing.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Sergio P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Level Contributor
31 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Fabulous hutong dining experience”
Reviewed September 7, 2013

I have been twice to this restaurant and both times had a fun evening and a unique dining experience. The hostess Michelle was fabulous explaining the menu and making everyone welcome. Drinks and food was plentiful and the black sesame Icecream at the end well worth saving room for.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank LuckyShepherd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beijing, China
Level Contributor
40 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Lovely service and atmosphere. However not worthwhile if you are already familiar with Chinese cuisine”
Reviewed September 5, 2013

The staff was great and the shared table concept is always nice. I think the restaurant is a fantastic introduction to Chinese cuisine for those who are not familiar it. But if you have spent some time in China already and/or have Chinese heritage, then this place will likely not impress. The dishes are mostly standard Chinese family dishes eg. red braised pork and eggs fried with tomato, more authentic versions of which are readily available elsewhere for a fraction of the price.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
4 Thank sarahlee86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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