• Fine dining: Pure Lotus vegetarian restaurant in Beijing

Metro Lido (Previously Holiday Inn Lido)Third Floor, 6 Jichang Road
地址: 朝阳首都机场蒋台路丽都假日饭店三层
电话: (86) 010 643 76288 or 87036668

Pure Lotus had been on my radar since my first day in China but I did not get to go there until my last hurried meal before flying home.  This was a shame as it would have been a lovely place to relax.
Pure Lotus is the equivalent of fine dining in Beijing.  Each presentment was done with drama and care – luckily this followed through into the food.
Creative table setting made out of shells
The menu here is ridiculous.  A hard cover book about a metre long, the menu displays beautiful photography and names the dishes things like ‘happiness roll’ and describes them with definitions of happiness rather than the actual ingredients in them.  Don’t ask me for the irrelevant names of the following dishes but do watch out for the prices when eating here as some of the dishes are very expensive (for China standards).

Looking back at this photo now, I laugh at the showiness of the porcelain lady serving us our mock-fish fillets.  These have hardened tofu wrapped in seaweed and dusted with flavouring before being toasted on either side.  They were served with a sweet and refreshing apple sauce.

The handrolls were displayed equally dramatically.  These tasted very healthy (a rarity in Chinese food where cooking in oil is the standard method).  The crunchy seaweed went well with the cold strawberries, tofu, lettuce and cucumber. 

We also ordered a mushroom dish.  The mushrooms were thinly sliced and cooked in oil with lots of chilli. This one was served in an impressive marble masterpiece.

The vermicelli was only lightly flavoured and oiled with sprinklings of cabbage too. 

To finish was fruit: cubes of watermelon served on a large crystal flower.

In a country full of fakes, I appreciated this meal for its quality and presentation.  The staff wore sequined Indian style dresses (I could not help but laugh at the men donning this uniform too).  Go with plenty of time so that you can fully enjoy the experience here.  It is a bit hard to find and is actually in the Metro hotel (which I assume must have been called the Holiday Inn previously).