Once the poster child of Chinese cuisine gone upper class, South Beauty redefined Szechuan as a fine dining option. But with the anti-corruption campaign in fulls wing, they have fallen from grace and closed most of their restaurants.
South Beauty has a downward spiral in fortunes and has to change owners. The new owners crawled back on the expansion, closing most of the fining dining locations except for a few in the key Tier 1 cities, like Shanghai and Beijing. Most of the others have been changed to more accessible mid-price Sichuan restaurants and therefore could not compete in the ferocious F&B scene. Subsequently, a lot of outlets have closed. This is one of the few “fining dining” concept store that has left.
My favourite appetiser from South Beauty, spicy skewers were similar to 麻辣烫 Sichuan fondue. It came with nicely flavoured sticks of pig oesophagus, lotus roots, kale, and other ingredients that would benefit from the taste of the spiciness.
pork belly on a rack
Another specialty appetiser from South Beauty, they started the whole “fine dining” Sichuan craze by separate the dips and the blanched pork belly in there version of the spicy garlic pork belly 蒜泥白肉.
spicy beef fillet
It used to be my favourite place for spicy beef fillet, but I find them these days a bit slack. The dish came out cold, the chili oil has started to coagulate in air-conditioning. They used to pour boiling chili oil at the table, resulting in really tender and yummy beef fillet.
spicy mixed casserole
An enhanced version of the mixed casserole, it not only had the usual pig offals, blood tofu and luncheon meat, it added slightly more expensive ingredients like prawns and abalones. But these delicacies did nothing to enhance the flavours, totally wasted in the spices.
seabass in pickled mustard green
Not enough of the pickled mustard green, the fish has to borrow the taste from other ingredients in the casserole.
spinach in stock
Cooked in a thick pork bone broth (and perhaps some chicken stock powder), the tender spinach has absorbed the flavours of the stock to give a nice respite from all the heat before.
And the best way to neutralise the fire in the belly is with a cold yoghurt. They provided a complimentary yoghurt at the end of the meal that was made in house. Kind of sweet, but they said it was honey. Anyway, needed diary to douse the fire.
The standards of the cooking and service have been kept despite the change in management. Unfortunately, the price level has been kept as well.
South Beauty 俏江南（东方广场）
Oriental Plaza, Beijing
Date Visited : Oct 2019