With the food and beverage industry developing at such lightning speed worldwide (not least in Asia), and culinary boundaries becoming ever more blurred and hybridised, it’s comforting to find a restaurant that not only revels in its provincial history but actively promotes the ethnic minorities of the region through its ingredients and recipes.
To anyone who has visited or lived in Shanghai, the name of restaurant Lost Heaven will be a familiar one, specialising as it does in the cooking of Yunnan province, and encompassing flavours from as far afield as the Mekong regions of Thailand, Laos and Burma.
Beijing’s chic sister branch nestles in the exclusive Ch’ien Men 23 complex, the former US Embassy close to the Forbidden City. Its striking interior is a vision of pu-er tea-coloured, brick-clad walls, and high-backed dark wood chairs with hot pink seats and jewel-coloured lanterns.
The richly flavoured and spiced recipes like steamed cod with Dai tribe salted black beans, Da Li-style chicken with chilli and green onions, and sticky sweet pork ribs in black rose sauce arrive in pretty, hand-painted ethnic ceramics. Weather permitting, try for a seat on the alfresco terrace and don’t miss the delicately aromatic pu-er martini. Heaven found!