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Hunan hutong

11-05-2010 16:12 BJT

"Everyone has a dream." So says an illuminated sign above the Life List restaurant in quiet Dajingchang Xixiang, a calm space hidden in the busy Gulou area by Nanluoguxiang.

As I pushed the red wooden door open and stepped into the corridor, I saw the walls were covered with photos taken from all over the world. I saw the clear sky and cool water of Qinghai Lake, a Nepalese girl selling fl owers, and Buddhist rites in Tibet. At the end of the corridor I entered a 200squaremeter courtyard with a closed greenhouse. I took a seat in a cane chair and enjoyed the feeling of the sun shining down on me without being cold like it was outdoors. The owner, Qu Jianwei, said that by day this space is a café, but by night it is a restaurant serving Hunan dishes.

Qu, who comes from Hunan, decorated the dining hall with Thangkas. There is room for 42 people on the chairs and soft sofas. The chef comes from Qu's hometown and designed a selection of 240 dishes for Life List, but you won't fi nd them on the menu there, because dining at Life List is like a culinary game of Mystery Date. You pay 100 yuan per person, and the chef sends out his own selection of dishes. We had six people at our table and we received 14 different dishes. Everyone left totally full.

We got several typical Hunan dishes, like steamed fi sh head with diced hot red and green peppers, spicy grilled yellow catfi sh, and grilled ribs with big chunks of meat. Li Jing, a Hunan girl said, "The good taste is typical Hunan style, but it's not that spicy." Qu explained that the dishes served on our table were all slightly spicy, which can meet the tastes of most people, but people could also request medium spicy and ultraspicy dishes if they prefer those.

Life List can also be a club hosting irregular lectures and exhibitions, Qu said. He also intends to open a bookstore in the space that will sell books on life and travel— after opening a restaurant, that's the second dream on his life list. Life List Café, Bar and Restaurant

Address: No. 14 Dajingchang Xixiang, opposite to Nanluoguxiang Beikou, Gulou Dongdajie, Dongcheng district 东城区鼓楼东大街大经厂 西巷14号(南锣鼓巷北口斜对面胡同)

Tel: 8402-8460
Average cost: 100 yuan excluding wines, 20 percent off till November 31

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Global Times

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