Walking in, we are greeted with billowing clouds of steam as chefs hand pull fresh, chewy noodles and steam piles of dumplings. The hefty menu is packed with hearty northern favourites, dishes packed with starchy potatoes and noodles and a large dose of chilli. The thought and care Country Kitchen puts into sourcing their ingredients is clear, as all eggs and some meats are organic and locally sourced from Shunyi Farm.
As we settle into one of the comfortable booths, the arguing over what to order commences. Heated discussion over, the waitress is flagged down and we place our sizeable order. First to arrive is a plate of dark green spinach (40 RMB), piled up and doused with a thick, treacly sesame sauce. The saltiness of the sauce is perfect for the very green tasting spinach (for lack of a better word), and alleviates our guilt about the very oily meal we are about to consume.
The 鱼香茄子, or fish-fragrant eggplant (50 RMB), a Szechuan dish, is piping hot, a riotous mess of colours in the claypot. Despite the name, the dish does not contain any fish and gains its complex flavor from a mix of aromatics such as garlic and spring onions. The interpretation at Country Kitchen is one of the best in recent memory. The eggplant, a very thirsty vegetable, has absorbed all the luxurious flavours of the spices, giving the dish a wonderful depth and complexity.
The potato slices with beef (60 RMB) are oily and delicious, each potato thinly sliced so that the flavours of the oil soak in. There are a few different types of noodles on offer at Country Kitchen – hand cut, pulled, knife cut and rolled, all 50 RMB each. The generous portion of hand cut noodles with eggplant gravy has an almost meaty texture because of the chunks of tender, simmered eggplants. There is a daily selection of fresh market vegetables on offer for 60 RMB. The okra we ordered was crisp and slimy (in the way okra is), and pleasantly light.
The service is representative of the high standards the Rosewood holds themselves to, and is quick, unobtrusive, and unfailingly polite. Country Kitchen is a perfect introduction to Northern Chinese food, and the ambiance makes it great for dates or fun dinners with friends.
Location: Rosewood Beijing, Jingguang Centre, Hujialou, Chaoyang District