After visiting Dali Courtyard – Yunnan cuisine restaurant, we had another foodie experience in the TRB – Temple Restaurant Beijing. We just really had to go there as it was ranked in Top 3 of dining venues of Beijing. As the birthday dinner was approaching we decided to try it.
The restaurant TRB is located in a hutong in Nanluguoxiang. It can be accessed either by taxi or walking/Mobiking from metro. It is located in between Nanluguoxiang and Dongsi, after you need to take 15 minutes walk. Make sure you know your directions or you have Apple Maps ready. Otherwise, it is quite difficult to find.
In the evening the entrance is lightened with red shade lamps, making it quite noticeable. When we approached we saw the front area being filled with Mercedes and Audi cars.
At the entrance you are being welcomed by a very nice hostess that takes your jackets and escorts to your table. The dining ritual starts with wet hot towels, water of your choice and a small amuse-bouche. Each of guests gets 3 small bites which are quite unusual: cheesy marshmallow, tomato jelly and crisp with anchovy mousse.
As for the menu choices you get quite a few options. Firstly, there are three choices for the set menu of 4-5 dishes priced at RMB588 to RMB699. However, I had to reject this offering as one of the menus had caviar, another one had food items that I didn’t know.
The other way you can order is to make a self-tailored set menu of 3- or 4- courses. I decided to go for this as choosing what you like is more preferable. After finally selecting what we would like, we have got the second amuse-bouche (never happened before!) – baked cheese towers – very creamy and crispy at the same time.
For the main menu, usually a wine degustation menu of 5 pairings is offered for RMB200. However, as we are not drinkers, we decided to to skip that.
Dinner – Cold Starter.
Before we started, as we were there on a special occasion, we were served two glasses of sparkling wine as a welcome gift and brought in the third amuse-bouche – Red Wine mousse with bacon and egg yolk. It was quite unusual, pleasant, but not my type of a dish – I took out bacon and yolk to eat but wine mousse I just couldn’t.
For the starter we have ordered two plates of Gravlax – raw salmon marinated in salt, sugar and dill, normally served with mustard sauce. However, in TRB it is served with marinated onion, capers and olive oil, the horseradish sauce is served on the side. It is a trolley service, when they bring the entire salmon fillet to you and carve it right in front of you. Followed by a ritual of spicing it up with condiments.
It tastes heavenly good – fresh and rich. As it is the first course all you want is to replace the rest of the courses with the same one.
We did not want to order dessert as we had a birthday cake, so we have chosen two starters. The second started we also agreed to be the same one – eggplant ravioli. When they served it, we were quite surprised as it was not ravioli at all – it was tomato wrapped in slices of eggplant served with zucchini and pine nuts in vegetable broth. The dish was a little sour but also refreshing. While zucchini added some bitterness to it, pine nuts made it unique and original.
The service of this dish is also quite nice. Firstly, the “ravioli” are served and then they bring the broth, which they add in front of you.
So then they cleared dishes and prepared the table. Surprisingly, they added wrong cutleries, and while I was just wondering the soup was served as a compliment from the Chef.
The tastes mix of the soup was unusual. However, I have to say it made me feel like trying more. Potato and leek cream soup with eel and fresh cream. Honestly speaking, it sounds like it got too many ingredients inside, but the combination of tastes was intriguing. Potato and leek cream is a great combination – simple and great, however when you bring eel in it adds some sweetness and it changes the entire palate of tastes. The small cream pearls were the only disappointment – the texture was just out of the place, and no special taste was added.
Meanwhile, my boyfriend did not appreciate eel at all. He just refused the soup, waiting for the main course. For me, the dish seemed interesting and still quite surprising.
Finally, the mains. We ordered two choice – Salmon braised with cucumbers and Beef Fillet with Carpaccio and Mashed Potato. When we got to the main course, we were so full already that it did not seem like a good idea to have it. But we would never leave food – that is just not our style.
The salmon seemed so healthy that I felt like it was out of the line with other dishes. Braised cucumbers were also quite unusual as in Russia we only eat it fresh and raw, never cooked. I have to say it was a special dish for me… If I come back, I probably would not order it as I believe that there are better ways to cook salmon.
As for the beef fillet (which was additionally charged) I was quite surprised as well. You think I am picky? Well, maybe but just imagine… I was impressed with a mini size of carpaccio and mashed potato. I mean even though it is a fine dining, there must be at least a little bit to eat? Carpaccio was so tiny that it was just one bite – good thing they brought two pieces. As for the mashed potato, we literally had one spoon per each of that.
But here is a good part – Fillet. It was so tender and amazing that it was melting in your mouth. Easy to chew and juice – it made it just perfect after all the other dishes.
I am a sweet-addict, however, yesterday I was not even able to eat dessert as I was so full. And as I could not handle dessert I actually got so many. So first, I got my birthday cake from Waldorf Astoria Beijing (I will have another post on cakes), and the second birthday cake from the TRB – berry mousse. I don’t know whether I was too full or it was just that way but it didn’t impress me.
After that we also have got another dessert sampler platter – mint marshmallow, strawberry marshmallow and Opera cake.
Finally, we got a basket of home baked madeleines, which apparently you can only find in TRB. I could not eat more than one but at least I tried.
When we have finally decided to leave, we were offered a taxi service (which is needed as you can’t get a taxi anywhere close by). When we were leaving we got a gift of French pastries – Canele, which can last up to two days.
I have to say that service is the most impressive about the TRB Hutong. All staff members speak perfect English, extremely polite and knowledgeable. Working in a five star international hotel, I was pleasantly surprised about that. I mean out staff does not speak English that great but they do.
On top if it is a special occasion, they really try to make it memorable with all small complements and details.
Price and General Impression.
When you visit TRB be prepared to pay at least RMB1000 per person as menus itself are around RMB500. As for the value, I would say it was a nice experience – simple contemporary design, delicious food and amicable service.
If you ask me I would come here again, I would probably say no. I am not a big fan of fancy restaurants. However, working in hospitality I need to know the market around me. The food was good but not amazing, Service was great but over the top at some moments, but still impressive. The prices are quite high. If you would like to know more, read more reviews on Tripadvisor.
Next on the list is Capital M in Qianmen with their afternoon tea.