Sake & Skewers: The Evolution of Beyond Yakitori

One of the frequent misconceptions people have about restaurants is that their identity and offerings rarely change – like your reliable neighborhood spot that’s been serving the exact same dishes for as long as you’ve been going there. But times are changing and if you look at restaurants (especially in Beijing), this couldn’t be farther from reality. From my experience in Beijing over the past decade, restaurants are constantly adapting to the market, trying to keep up with this crazy fast-paced F&B scene and the even faster changing technological developments (win for WeChat!). In order for restaurants to stay “fresh” and stay on people’s radar restaurants are hustling. Whether restaurants are updating their menus regularly or renovating their interior, these efforts are no small feat. And Beyond Yakitori is a classic example of a restaurant that has continued to change and evolve since it first opened 2016.

I was first introduced to Beyond Yakitori shortly before they officially opened to the public, and even in the very beginning, it showed a lot of promise. A few of their stand-out dishes, notably their signature Beyond Scotch Egg alongside their range of succulent chicken skewers from the thigh, wing, neck, and Tsukune Meatball were exceptional and left a lasting impression. But that first impression is not the whole story.

“For us, yakitori perfection isn’t about flying in a pair of 200kg grills on first-class tickets from Tokyo, nor is it about sourcing the most expensive Binchotan charcoal to grill with. It’s about putting all our effort and dedication into every single mouthful we make. One perfect skewer at a time. From our coals to you, with love.” – Beyond Yakitori 

Beyond Scotch Egg (RMB 38)

The evolution, like most businesses has been incremental and not revolutionary. The menu is now more user-friendly with some nice photos of the dishes and the staff are better trained, clearly more comfortable with the swing of it.

Beyond Yakitori: Bar Seating

Hot Seats at Beyond’s Yakitori Counter

Beyond Yakitori: Seating

Lots of Sake Cocktails in Sight!

Beyond Yakitori: Yakitori Prep

It’s all in the details – meticulous preparation

Beyond Yakitori: Booth Seating

Booth Seating Perfect for Groups of 4-6

So with all the new updates and changes in mind, how is the food?

The yakitori is still money and we’ve even discovered a few new favorites. Beyond just the standard chicken skewers, we were big fans of the beef tongue, learned what a “chicken oyster” is, and their okra skewers are fantastic. *Dining tip: Be quick with the chicken oyster – it is a small cut of meat that comes from the chicken thigh and they have a very limited number of skewers each night! We were lucky enough to get one of their last before they sold out for the night!

Here’s a re-cap of the dishes we tasted:

Beyond Yakitori: Miso Cream Cheese (RMB 18)

Miso Cream Cheese (RMB 18)

Of the new dishes, the miso cream cheese is a lovely little starter. We tried to hide our disappointment when we saw how small the portion was, but after our initial bite, we understood why.  It is actually quite rich, hence the mini portion served on a mini dish.

Beyond Yakitori: Cucumber Salad (RMB 18)

Cucumber Salad (RMB 18)

Smashed cucumber in a tangy dressing and topped with fish flakes, this is refreshing and full of flavor.

Beyond Yakitori: Beef Yakitori Platter Trio (RMB 80)

Beef Yakitori Platter Trio (RMB 80)

From left to right, this beef skewer trio includes Beef Skirt, Beef Fillet and Beef Tongue. Cooked to perfection, the beef was tender and each beef skewer’s toppings were quite different so you could really distinguish between each one.

Beyond Yakitori: Beef Tartare (RMB 58)

Beef Tartare (RMB 58)

We really enjoyed the new steak tartare, which has a definite Asian twist to it. The kimchi isn’t overpowering, but shows a little flair and the garlic chips are a nice touch for texture. And any dish served with a runny egg yolk gets extra bonus points in my book.

Beyond Yakitori: Beef Tataki (RMB 75)

Beef Tataki (RMB 75)

Another new signature dish, the beef tataki was also lovely, although a little less intense than the steak tartare. Under the layer of seared beef is a pile of baby potatoes, which does make this dish more filling than others.

Beyond Scotch Egg (RMB 38)

Their signature Beyond Scotch Egg is still a stunning dish, glad to see that has not changed and still something that I’ll find myself craving and coming back for more!

Beyond Yakitori: Ebi Mayo Jumbo Tiger Prawns (RMB 55)

Ebi Mayo Jumbo Tiger Prawns (RMB 55)

These prawns were jumbo and served in a generous portion, but I must admit that I’m not a fan of the habit of throwing mayonnaise on seafood or sushi. I think the dish would be better off with a different sauce or dressing. The heavy mayo added a sticky texture to the prawns, but since I still peeled away the crispy skin, the prawns were then lacking in flavor. Overall, it was quite a lot more effort with the process of de-shelling and dealing with the mess and sticky hands with toilets a walk away.

Beyond Yakitori: Salmon Carpaccio (RMB 85)

Salmon Carpaccio (RMB 85)

Though beautifully presented, the salmon carpaccio seemed to pale in comparison to the rich flavors of the steak tartare and seared beef tataki. While refreshing, the flavors were much more mild and we thought it could have done with a little added kick.

Beyond Yakitori: Chicken Joint Heart (RMB 12)

Chicken Heart Joint (RMB 12)

Maybe eating chicken heart isn’t for everyone, but I love the texture. This one was just for me and I loved every bit of it.

Beyond Yakitori: Chicken Leek Skewer (RMB 15)

Chicken Leek Skewer (RMB 15)

One of the most classic yakitori skewers, this is nothing new but executed very, very well. The chicken is so juicy and the balance in portions for chicken versus leek is on point.

Beyond Yakitori: Tsukune Meatball (RMB 20)

Tsukune Meatball (RMB 20)

If you could only pick one skewer, it would be a toss-up between this Tsukune meatball skewer and the beef tongue (which we got a second order of). This is a step above your average meatball. The portion is generous and the sticky sauce with egg yolk to dip makes it so much more enticing than the other skewers.

Beyond Yakitori: Grilled Beef Tongue (RMB 25)

Grilled Beef Tongue (RMB 25)

Another skewer of beef tongue – because we couldn’t resist! Too good to pass up and the second was just as good as our first.

Beyond Yakitori: Grilled Oyster Chicken (RMB 18)

Grilled Oyster Chicken (RMB 18)

Highly sought after, we were recommended to order this tender morsel of the chicken thigh before it was sold out for the night. They only have limited quantities of this so make sure you place in an order of it straight away. You’ll get why it’s in such high demand.

Beyond Yakitori: Grilled Quail Egg Skewer (RMB 15)

Grilled Quail Egg Skewer (RMB 15)

What’s better than quail egg skewers? The answer is to wrap it in bacon, drizzle on wasabi mayo and sprinkle on shredded seaweed. Normally a pretty standard yakitori skewer is turned into a masterpiece by the creative chefs of Beyond Yakitori. Hats off to the genius who created this skewer.

Beyond Yakitori: Grilled Okra (RMB 10)

Grilled Okra (RMB 10)

Okra seems to be the new “it” vegetable and considering it is one of the only vegetable skewers available on this menu, it’s also outstanding. Other veggie skewer options include asparagus, oyster mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. While I get that the draw will always be to order more of the various meat options, this okra skewer totally surpassed our expectations.

Beyond Yakitori: Grilled Pineapple (RMB 12)

Grilled Pineapple (RMB 12)

Beyond Yakitori: Grilled Rice Cake (RMB 16)

Grilled Rice Cake (RMB 16)

Finally for dessert, we had the grilled pineapple and grilled rice cake skewer.

Both equally fantastic and totally different. The pineapple is sweet and sour and the rice cake is gooey and unctuous. They don’t last long, but then nothing does in a skewer form!

If you are up for drinking, the aforementioned promotion makes Beyond Yakitori a great option. If you want a lighter night, I’d recommend the plum or yuzu wine, both of which pair splendidly with the dishes we tried. Failing that, they have a wide selection of sake where you’re sure to find something appropriate!

It’s always impressive to see restaurants like Beyond Yakitori working to continuing to improve and develop. While we’ll definitely be back for more scotch eggs, tsukune meatballs, okra, beef tongue, (the list continues), we’re looking forward to taking advantage of their crazy awesome sake deal to get 50% off yakitori!

Beyond Yakitori’s Contact Details:

  • Address: 3rd Floor of the Topwin Center, Unit 3-5 Topwin Center, No. 1 South Sanlitun Road
  • 地址:北京市朝阳区三里屯南路,通盈中心3楼 3-5
  • Tel: 5780 9033
  • Dinner Service: Sundays-Thursdays 18:00-23:00 (22:30 last order) and Fridays-Saturdays 18:00-24:00 (23:30 last order)

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.

The Travel year Ahead

We have predicted the travel year ahead. Our fearless Editors who are seasoned travel veterans (and often drunk) predict with certainty that planes will continue ...