Seafood paella at Saffron. [Photo provided to China Daily]
A young Chinese couple scores a hit with their take on Spanish cuisine.
Located at the quieter end of Wudaoying Hutong, a restaurant with its small gray-brick facade wreathed with vines could be easily missed among all the other fancy shops, bars and cafes along the alley.
But if you are hunting for good Spanish food with a Chinese feel in Beijing, it is the place where diners take the trouble to find.
Before heading out to dinner at Saffron, we already have very high expectations. The Spanish restaurant is believed to be one of the few highly successful Western restaurants that was founded by a Chinese boss and chef, and it routinely receives glowing reviews in the capital's expat magazines.
We are not let down. The serene location is easily reachable from the subway station of Yonghegong (Lama Temple). Before putting our faces into the plates, we are first impressed by the comfy atmosphere. Casual and friendly with an open kitchen and a candlelit patio, the interior makes us feel warm with its rustic chic.
The young Chinese couple Li Yaoyang and Li Yang keep the restaurant humming as a team: He's in the kitchen, she handles management. As chef, Li Yaoyang seems to have a good grasp on both authentic Spanish cooking and Chinese expectations.