Upmarket Alley Cat
Xiao Ju Courtyard
Though hutong dining is one of Beijing’s most time-honoured and humble, yet utterly fabulous dining experiences, there’s been a trend in recent years towards more upscale and varied derivatives of the classic home-style institution – veggie-focused King’s Joy, Vietnamese Susu
and Yunnanese Southern Barbarian
being just a few of the more successful iterations. And now into the fray steps Xiaoju Courtyard, situated in the heart of bustling Nanluogu Xiang alley, and offering a Chinese take on the classic French wine bar, with a fusion food and beverage program plus charming fit out to boot.
In true European fashion, Xiaoju Courtyard embraces all of its indoor and outdoor space, which includes rattan and pale-wood pavement-side dining sets at the restaurant’s entrance, warm and rustic-esque tables inside, plus a breezy courtyard out back perfect for whiling away crisp autumn afternoons with a glass of red in hand. A selection of set menus is available (including a vegetarian option), but be sure to book ahead as some kitchen preparation is required. Although menu items are seasonal, standout dishes include Sichuan fish fillet in hot chilli oil, spicy roast organic lamb chop, plus hams, cheeses, terrines, tapas plates and pastries, and needless to say a bottle chosen from the extensive French wine list is the obvious default accompaniment. Santé!