On the day just under two weeks ago when we visited the Great Wall of China, we also had a great culinary experience at a new restaurant, the Roadhouse, just near the Wall at Mutianyu (about ninety minutes drive northeast of Beijing).

Finding the restaurant was a stroke of luck. We’d actually had a recommendation to go to the Schoolhouse restaurant, which is in itself quite delightful, but had a predominantly Western menu: when we said we’d been hoping for Chinese food, Christine the owner said we should try out her new restaurant down the road a piece, namely the Roadhouse. It’s actually so new that we were told we were the first “walk-in” customers other than friends and family.

The Roadhouse is a business that supports local growers, which in our own neck of the woods we like to do. And that meant special flavor and freshness, as it does here.

Attended by smiling Daisy, we experienced friendly, country-style service and excellent dishes. While we were waiting for our cooked dishes, we were served a complimentary and generous plate of amazingly fresh and crunchy local vegetables – cucumber, baby tomatoes, cos lettuce and some kind of sprouts, with a pot of very yummy “peasant sauce” for dipping.

We then tucked into two main dishes, one with chicken, one with eggplant:

  • the Jiang Bao Chicken was a dish of chicken pieces stir-fried in sweet bean sauce with fresh local walnuts and cucumber
  • the eggplant (aubergine) was local and fried till golden-brown crispy, sauteed with ginger, leeks, dark soy sauce, sugar, salt, tomato-based sauce and green pepper.

And to accompany all this, regularly replenished mugs of beautiful Longjing tea.

Chef Jeremy Taisey hails from Seattle, Washington and is obviously – and justifiably – very proud of his delightful establishment.

The view from the dining area, through a large picture window, is of a whole section of the Great Wall. In the picture below, if you look closely on the top left hand side of the picture, above and left of waiter Daisy’s head, you may be able to discern the features of the sleeping Buddha, also marking the end of that section of the Great Wall.

Good local produce, beautifully prepared, in a friendly, sparkling clean restaurant, with outstanding views.

Deceptively simple, of course. The layout, the furnishings, the stationery, the positioning of the restaurant to enable patrons to look at the Great Wall, staff efficiency and friendly service (even coming out to the parking lot to help translate for us with our driver), the attention to detail and the elegant website all spoke of sophisticated marketing and a high level of attention to detail.

A memorable experience. Thank you Daisy and Jeremy. And Christine for pointing us there. And yes, we have told our Beijing friends!

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