An Italian Speakeasy: Sorì Tapas & Wine Bar

The Crib has undergone some pretty dramatic changes recently.  As expected, not all of the founding businesses have survived. This is the nature of capitalism and the fickle Beijing F&B scene that keeps us on our toes.  On the other hand, there do appear to be some interesting new ones popping up to replace them. Among those, is Sorì Tapas & Wine Bar.

Tucked away behind a hidden door on the 2nd floor behind the yakitori restaurant, Sorì is a wine and tapas bar focused on Mediterranean dishes, a name derived from Piemontese dialect for the part of the hillside where the snow melts first, meaning full southern exposure (and therefore the best place for Nebbiolo vines).

At the helm of Sorì is Fabio Falanga – previously of La Dolce Vita and Fu Tapas & Wine Bar, which died in the brickening. Through Fabio and Sorì, I was also introduced to Nico Saladino, the talented architect (who designed the space for Sorì) and has since perfected Italian gelato in Beijing this summer – read all about Ling Xia Gelato here.

Walk through this Yakitori Bar on the 2nd Floor of the Crib

Look for the Wall of Dark & Discreet Sliding Doors

Open Kitchen Bar Seating

Front Row Seats of Sorì’s Open Kitchen Action

The space is beautiful and incredibly compact in the best way. It is intimate, but makes great use of what they have available to them. The kitchen is the centrepiece as they frequently use it to do trainings, cooking classes and other consulting.  I always enjoy seeing all the “behind-the-scenes” work that goes into prepping and assembling dishes and it really helps you to appreciate the talent and meticulous care that goes into each dish served.

The menu is small and changes regularly, so expect to see different dishes to those we ate as Sorí was still in soft opening stages during our tasting.

Bread Basket

With a glass of citrusy white wine and a basket of focaccia squares, we were off to a lovely start in our dining experience.

Almond Crusted Croquettes with Pancetta and Provola with Eggplants and Cherry Tomatoes (RMB 38)

First up were a trio of croquettes. Little doughy balls of potato filled with pancetta and Provola cheese, they come served on a bed of eggplant and tomato sauce. I’m generally a big fan of croquettes in general and the bonus here is the velvety smooth sauce with a lovely tang, the perfect foil for the croquettes!

Anchovies Balls with Burrata Cheese and Roasted Peppers with Fennel Flavored Tomato Gazpacho (RMB 48)

Wrapped around burrata, you’ll need to maneuver your way through this tapas dish to make sure that you get a bit of all the different components combined into one complete spoonful. I’ve always welcomed the strong saltiness that anchovies bring to a dish and these are very much complemented by the creamy Burrata and roasted vegetables. Although it was only a few bites (it really seemed to disappear instantaneously), this dish very much packs a flavor punch.

Garlic Flavored Fried Argentine Prawns in Kataifi (RMB 58)

The prawns come wrapped in kataifi pastry, accompanied by a side of tartar sauce. I also had to ask about kataifi pastry, thinking it was a new revolutionary technique. Actually, turns out it’s basically a shredded form of the pastry you’d see in Baklava! The presentation with the prawns scattered in the waves of the silver mesh is very artistic.

Squid Ink Spaghetti with Seafood Sauce and Mullet Bottarga (RMB 88)

For our mains, we had their two pasta dishes. I have a bias towards ordering squid ink pasta whenever I see it on a menu because I think that it looks crazy cool and it will most certainly always be served with seafood. Here at Sorí, the clams, mussels and fish were fresh and the pasta was cooked al dente.

White Truffle Flavored Ravioli with Ricotta Cheese, Parmigiano Sauce and Walnuts (RMB 88)

Though the squid ink seafood pasta was perfectly executed, it turned up to a gunfight with a knife. The white truffle tortelli is on a different level! Using White truffle is almost unfair how good it is.

When you dine at Sorí, this is one thing you must order. Fingers crossed they never take this off of their menu!

Ling Xia Gelato’s Stawberry & Lemon Flavors

After the tapas, come the dolci – and in this case, this is where we were first introduced to Nico’s Italian Ling Xia Gelato. Nico’s background in architecture explains his methodical and calculated approach to perfecting his gelato recipes whereas his passion for creating and experimenting is not only an art, but a gift to all who get the chance to taste (and appreciate) his glorious gelato!

During Sorì’s soft opening and prior to the official opening of Ling Xia Gelato (at the top of the stairs, on the 2nd floor of The Crib), we were already able to taste 9 different flavors – some he deemed worthy, some he was still experimenting with.  My recommendations would be to try the rich, dark chocolate and the tart lemon and strawberry.

It might be a strange word to use to describe food, but both were very vivid. While ice cream can be muted by the cold, Ling Xia’s gelato is all flavor!

Ling Xia Gelato’s Dark Chocolate, Pistachio and Vanilla Flavors

Ling Xia’s Experimental flavors with Milk, Cream, Rum Raisin, Baci (like Nutella), etc! 

A quick warning: Sorì Tapas & Wine is not somewhere to come to stuff your face. The tapas are really tasty and use quality ingredients, but they’re designed to be smaller portions and for tasting alongside a nice glass of wine. It’s ideal for a post-work wind down with some stimulating conversation or a secret gem you can take your date when you’re ready to show-off your extensive knowledge of Beijing’s food scene. #yourewelcome

We were introduced to a wine off-menu, and I’m sure they regularly will have new stock of wines to add to their expanding list. When in doubt, just ask Fabio or your server to recommend a wine depending in your taste preferences and what you plan to order. Most wines are about RMB 50 per glass.

Sorì Tapas & Wine Bar Contact Details:

  • Address: Behind the Yakitori Restaurant behind Sleek Black Sliding Doors of The Crib, 2/F, Chunxiu Lu, 1 Gongti Beilu
  • Chinese Address: 朝阳区工人体育场北路1号育膳房2楼
  • Opening Hours: 6PM-late

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.

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