One of my favorite hidden gem places to bring out of town guests, it was heartbreaking to say the least when Black Sesame Kitchen had to close down their Black Sesame Hutong location to all public cooking classes and events about two years ago. Though they had a short-lived stint hosting weekly dinners at The Orchid Boutique Hotel, they have now moved into their new flagship location at The Courtyard Institute.
A place where I always felt at home, where I met so many fellow foodies and Beijing friends, Black Sesame Kitchen (BSK) was all about quality home-cooked Chinese staples done exceptionally well with minimal use of oil and salt, no MSG and just the cutest chefs imaginable.
Though I haven’t hosted a dinner at Black Sesame since they closed their original location, I used to be a regular and I know their staple dishes quite well. Just last weekend, I was invited as a guest to a small dinner party for 7 at Black Sesame’s new location and was delighted to be seated among some of Black Sesame’s biggest fans including the dinner party hosts Michael and Joanna Crain (founders of the legendary Chi Fan for Charity annual charity event in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong), Benjamin Manthey (fellow foodie and CrossFit Slasher who used to work at Black Sesame as a host once upon a time), the lovely Sarah Keenlyside (founder of Bespoke Beijing Travel Co.) and Superwoman Sue Zhou of SueZhouDoesFood (go to her Summer BBQ this weekend!). Needless to say, I was sitting among some of Beijing’s most knowledgeable foodies!
Located near the Forbidden City and Jingshan Park, it’s actually quite close to Temple Restaurant Beijing as well (just turn left right after you turn right when you see the big ICBC bank) on Wusi Dajie (五四大街). Stepping inside, it’s even more magical than the original location. While the previous location was in a very local hutong courtyard with many families residing inside, this courtyard entrance is a long foyer lined on both sides with gorgeous black and white photographs of old Beijing, courtesy of the passionate historians behind BJ Postcards.
Black & White Photographs of Old Beijing Courtesy of BJ Postcards
Gently Illuminated Courtyard with 2 Private Dining Rooms
Our Private Dining Room, perfect for 8!
Though the location has moved, the dining deal for Black Sesame Kitchen that I have always known has remained the same. For RMB 300 per person, your party is served a 10 dish dinner and guests also receive free-flow red and white wine throughout the dinner as well.
Seeing the dinner menu upon arrival, we were delighted to see some of our favorites including the Five-Flavored Eggplant, Kungpao Shrimp and Red Braised Pork Belly. And as usual, the dinner began with those moreish pan-friend pumpkin and pork dumplings (one of my favorite ways to start a meal!).
Black Sesame Contact Details:
- Address: New Location at The Courtyard Institute: 28 Zhong Lao Hutong, Dongcheng District
- Chinese Address:东城区中老胡同28号 （近五四大街西口）
- Directions for Taxi: Tell the driver to take you to the intersection of Wusi Dajie (五四大街) and Shatan North Street (沙滩北街), which is just east of Jingshan Park (景山公园). Walk a few steps north on Shatan North Street and you will see a small hutong on your left. This is Zhonglao Hutong (中老胡同). Proceed down this lane until you reach Number 28, on your left.
- Directions for Metro: Take Line 5 or Line Six to Dongsi Station (东四站). Take exit E. Walk west on Dongsi West Street (东四西大街). You will know you are walking west because the traffic will be on your left. You will pass the National Museum of China or your right. After about one kilometer the road will begin to curve left. At that point turn right onto Shatan North Street (沙滩北街). Almost immediately you will see a small hutong on your left. This is Zhonglao Hutong (中老胡同). Proceed down this lane until you reach Number 28, on your left.
- Telephone: +86-1369-147-4408 (for inquiries only)
- Advanced Reservations are Required for all Bookings, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.