The great brickening marches on. Whilst it isn’t getting as much publicity now, it is still very much in effect and has spread city-wide beyond the hutongs. I was sad to hear recently that the beautiful courtyard 1949 – The Hidden City in Sanlitun has been the latest Beijing closure taking with it Jing-A and Duck de Chine. *tear*
On the plus side, some of the displaced restaurants are displaying their resilience and reemerging in new surroundings. One of these survivors is a long-time favorite of mine for healthy, high-quality Korean cuisine – Saveurs de Corée韩香馆!
Now located in the Rum Coabana Hotel on Dongzhimen Beixiaojie, Saveurs was one of my go-to Korean spots and home of Beijing’s best bibimbap before it met its fate last summer. March through the bizarre hotel lobby, past the flower shop and lego collection (featuring famous world-wide architecture plus, for some reason, a couple of SWAT vehicles. I’m not joking.) Up the stairs on the second floor is Saveurs’ lovely new home.
They’ve worked wonders with the decoration, transforming what is a relatively small space into somewhere that feels welcoming and very reminiscent of their original space with the bar lined with colorful soju bottles and they’ve even added some hutong-like overhangs to their ceiling. They’ve also incorporated an open plan kitchen so guests can see the hustle and bustle of the staff and peek in to their impeccably clean kitchen.
Due to building regulations, there will no longer be table side-bbq grilling available so the menu has had quite an overhaul. Many of the former BBQ items are still available, but they are just done for you in the kitchen rather than D-I-Y. Either way, fear not. The food is still consistently fantastic!
We went with a large group of 10 foodies. As Saveurs’ dishes are generous portions, we didn’t actually get through as many dishes as I thought we might but we covered a respectable range of their menu’s dishes with many of their signature dishes featured in the photos and descriptions below.
We started with their signature crispy tofu and house pickled onions, which is a lovely mix of flavours and textures. The tofu is alternately soft and creamy inside with a crispy exterior and the onions are piquant. A great contrast and sure to convert anyone who says that they don’t like tofu or thinks that tofu is boring.
Mixed Vegetables and Minced Beef with Raw Egg and Korean Gochujang Chili Paste in Sizzling Rice Bowl (RMB 49)
It’s official (by me) – Saveurs is home to Beijing’s absolute best bibimbap! I love the crispy rice at the bottom of the stone bowl with the crunch of the fresh vegetables and perfectly soft and runny egg yolk. It’s really just a bonus that everything is organic and free of any MSG!
The kalbi had a lovely flavour and were cooked nicely. I do miss the option to grill yourself, but it’s also nice to sit back, relax and leave it to the pros!
There was a clamour for pancakes amongst our table of foodies so we ended up ordering two varieties: one kimchi and one seafood. Of these, the kimchi was my favourite as it has more personality. The seafood is good too, but the flavours are muted in comparison to the spicy, crispy kimchi jeon (below).
Step aside KFC, Korean-style fried chicken is where it’s at. Saveurs’ version comes with 2 varieties: original and with their homemade sauce. The sauce is sticky, sweet and a little spicy and I loved it. Definitely my favourite of the two!
Finally, their signature soups to finish us off and this is always my favourite bit of a meal. We ordered a spicy seafood soup and a chicken and ginseng soup.
The seafood and silky tofu soup had me swooning. Like a cross between mapo tofu and minestrone soup with some spice thrown in for good measure. This one pairs well with the bowl of rice that it comes with and is another example of Saveurs stepping up the tofu game.
The giant pot that came with a whole spring chicken was unbelievably tender. Falling-off-the-bone is a cliché, but that’s just what it does! This for me is the epitome of health in a pot. Not exactly a looker, but this dish is all about the feelings of soothing comfort that’s quite nostalgic for me.
So excited to say that Saveurs is back! They’re back and stronger than ever with a gorgeous space that’s evolving with the times! In spite of the forced and sudden move last year and the restriction of BBQing at your table, the food is as quality and tasty as ever and the new location is actually very convenient! No more getting lost in the hutongs, you can visit Saveurs as it’s just around the corner from Dongzhimen! Closer to me is good news and Beijinger should all be rejoicing that Saveurs have managed to survive!
Saveurs de Coree Contact Details:
- Address: 2/F Rum Coabana Hotel, 22 Dongzhimen Beixiaojie, Dongcheng District
- Tel: (10) 5741-5753
- Opening Hours: Open Daily between 11:00-14:30, 18:00-22:30
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.