Launched in 2011, The Temple Restaurant Beijing (TRB) is one hip place to go in the capital of China. To get there, you’ll have to walk through a long narrow alley lined with vegetable and grocery stores before finally reaching the dead end. Doubting the setting a little, I actually called up ahead to reconfirm its location.
Ignace Lecleir, the restaurant’s owner, also launched Maison Boulud – Daniel Boulud’s outpost – in Chien Men 23 in Beijing five years ago. This time, Lecleir renovated a 600-year-old Buddhist temple to a chic hidden garden that serves French cuisine in a contemporary setting.
I recall a nasty experience at Maison Boulud when it was first launched – the idea of western fine dining was something new to the city, but food and service quality was quite a disaster back then. If you’ve been back since, you can tell improvements have been made throughout these years, especially when it comes to service. Still, it’s lagging behind Shanghai, let alone Hong Kong and Macau where the fine dining scene is well matured.
There are a few critical points TRB can improve on, but then again I don’t think it is fair to judge the restaurant with a harsh standard given the maturity of the fine dining scene as I’ve mentioned above. Taking this point into consideration, it’s still a remarkable fine dining restaurant, with good service and atmosphere.
Temple Restaurant Beijing
Address: 23 Songzhusi Temple, Shatan Beijie, Beijing, China (北京市东城区沙滩北街嵩祝寺23号)
Tel: +86 10 8400 2232
Visited on: 13 June, 2012
Price: Lunch: RMB135 -178; Tasting Menu: RMB458
Hours: Lunch – Mon-Fri 11:30 – 14:30, Sat-Sun 11:30 – 14:30; Dinner: Mon-Sun 18:00 – 22:00