Bistro 108: Brilliant French Brasserie

There are certain restaurants that appear that everyone knows about as soon as they open. Then there are others that seem to fly under the radar but that you get told about by the fans. Bistro 108 has been on my radar as a recommended restaurant from a few different foodies but we still weren’t quite sure what to expect.

Tucked away in a strange complex just opposite the US Embassy, Bistro 108 is one of a series of restaurants that have opened with little to no fanfare. The complex itself is called CaoChang and looks like a developer built half, then ran out of money and didn’t build the other 50%. More than half of the area is simply an empty concrete square. Quite strange as a first impression and also very quiet when we went on a Friday evening.

Either way, this is all relatively unimportant because Bistro 108 completely exceeded our expectations and deserves a lot more coverage! We were the only two people in the restaurant at 20:00 on a Friday night but that didn’t matter because the service was hospitable and friendly without being awkward or over-bearing and the French dishes were all spot on and very reasonably priced. Fellow Foodies in Beijing – get excited about this new find!

Bistrot 108: Entrance

Located in a Small Street Opposite the US Embassy Along a Strip of Restaurants

Bistrot 108: Interior

Cosy, Casual Dining Area

Bistrot 108: Housemade Goods to Take Away

Take-Away Counter Filled with Homemade Foie Gras, Pork Terrine, Chicken Terrine, Onion Jam & Charcuterie and Cheese 

Bistrot 108: Open Kitchen

Open Kitchen with a Female French Chef Taking the Lead

Bistrot 108: Interior

The menu is pretty straight-forward. There are six starters, six mains and three desserts. On the night we went, they were sold out of the Roast Chicken (which is apparently very popular at lunch and eventually something they’ll also want to offer guests who pre-order to take-away). Between two of us, we managed to eat our way through 3 starters, 2 mains and 2 desserts. We may have gone a little bit overboard, but we were delighted by every dish and although our eyes can be bigger than our stomachs, we still ate every last bite of every dish. #wastenothing #eateverything

By recommendation of the restaurant’s owner Clement, we started with a glass of their House Sangria and a glass of their House Rosé (their house white, red and rosé are all RMB 25 per glass). While the sangria was nice, the house wine at RMB 25 is incredible value and was very crisp and refreshing. Perfect as the evenings are getting warmer!

LDS Snapshots of Dishes at Bistro 108: 

Bistrot 108: Sangria and House Wine

Sangria + Glass of House Wine (RMB 25)

The house wine deserves a mention. The rose was only RMB 25 a glass as Bistro 108′s owner imports himself so is able to offer very well priced wines without the middleman!

Bistrot 108: Canéloni aux Champignons avec salade verte (RMB 45)

Canéloni aux Champignons avec salade verte (RMB 45)

We started with the homemade pork pate, the mixed seafood poêlée and the canéloni. The Canéloni came out first and reminiscent of potstickers (pan-fried dumplings) filled with flavorful mushrooms and topped with melted cheese. Great first impression as a very tasty start to our meal.

Bistrot 108: Poêlée de fruits de mer (RMB 58)

Poêlée de fruits de mer (RMB 58)

Squid, Scallops, Clams, Shrimps Fried with White Wine + Flavoured with Fine Herbs

This was simply done and done very well. The white wine sauce was subtle, allowing for the mixed seafood to shine through. Seafood can often be a hit or miss in Beijing and this was definitely a winning hit. After the seafood was all gone, we still asked to keep the pan to soak up every last bit of that lovely white wine sauce as next came the homemade pate with a fresh baguette.

Bistrot 108: Le Pot de Terrine de Porc Maison du Bistro (RMB 68)

Le Pot de Terrine de Porc Maison du Bistro (RMB 68)

Delicious, Homemade Pork Pate Served with Fresh Bread

The homemade pate was gorgeous. Fatty and chunky, it paired beautifully with the tangy serving of mustard and the fresh baguette. Bistro 108 gets their bread sent daily half baked. This way they finish it themselves so it is always served fresh and warm, exactly how all bread should be! They also sell their pate alongside homemade foie gras, pork and chicken terrine and onion jam at their take-away counter by the entrance.

Bistrot 108: Beef Braised in Red Wine Flavoured with Garlic, Onions & Fine Herbs (RMB 88)

Boeuf Bourguignon (RMB 88) 

Beef Braised in Red Wine Flavoured with Garlic, Onions & Fine Herbs

The beef bourguignon was super tender, and the mash was great. You could eat the whole dish with a spoon if you wanted to. Only criticism was that the broth could have done with a little more flavour.

Bistrot 108: Confit Canard - French Duck Leg Served with Sauteed Potatoes and Vegetables (RMB 88)

Confit Canard (RMB 88)

French Duck Leg Served with Sauteed Potatoes and Vegetables

A classic French dish, the confit duck was just beautiful and perfectly executed. Full of flavour and fatty loveliness, it fell off the bone while still maintaining a fragile, crispy skin.

Bistrot 108: Potatoes

Side of Sautéed Potatoes

The accompanying potatoes were more like crispy, fried potato chunks rather than sautéed, but a generous portion. They just needed a little more salt in my opinion, but you can ask for that to add yourself.

Bistrot 108: Crème Brûlée (RMB 42)

Crème Brûlée (RMB 42)

One of my favorite French desserts, the creme brûlée was bursting with creamy vanilla flavour. The only thing that made it slightly less than perfect was that the caramelised sugar on top was a little overpoweringly thick, but it was still absolutely delicious.

Bistrot 108: Tarte Aux Pommes - Thin Crust Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream (RMB 45)

Tarte Aux Pommes (RMB 45)

Thin Crust Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream

While I expected the crème brûlée to be my favorite (since it generally always is), their homemade thin crust apple tarte stole the show.

So delicate and yet so powerful, I would rate this the best apple pie in Beijing. A very generous portion, it’s gorgeously presented and served fresh and hot. The cold vanilla ice cream on top starts melting pretty quickly, but not nearly as fast as we demolished the apple tart.

What a perfect ending to a meal that ended up being an absolute delight!

Bistrot 108: Tarte Aux Pommes - Thin Crust Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream (RMB 45)

While word of mouth has started to spread, it hasn’t spread much further than the embassy crowd, as we went at 8:00PM on a Friday and it was empty once the embassy table next to us left shortly after our arrival. Bistro 108 deserves a larger audience and I can definitely sing their praises!

Bistrot 108: Entrance

Bistro 108 Contact Details:

  •  Address: Located on the Hutong Opposite the US Embassy, Tianze Road No 19  Cao Chang Mall, 1st Floor #104. 
  • Chinese Address: 北京市朝阳区天泽路19号草场商业广场一层104室(美国大使馆对面存包处巷子进来10米)
  • Tel: 185 1153 3914
  • Opening Hours: Open from Tuesday-Sunday from 11:30AM – 10PM

The Southern Fish 渔芙南 Contact Details:

  • Address: Just Northeast of Exit B of Fuchengmen Subway on Yongmenkou Toutiao #49
  • Chinese Address: 宫门口头条49号(鲁迅博物馆)
  • Tel: 010-83063022
  • Opening Hours: Open Daily from 11:30-14:30, 17:00-21:00

About Kristen
Kristen Lum has an accomplished background in PR, communications and events in China. Born and raised in California, Kristen has been based in Beijing since 2006 and is founder of the lifestyle blog called LumDimSum, covering mostly restaurant news and reviews alongside upcoming events around town that relate to Beijing’s muti-faceted, quickly-developing creative industries like art, music, film, health and fitness, fashion, nightlife, charity events, and travel tips.