Address: 14 Banchang Hutong, Nanluoguxiang
14 Banchang Hutong, Nanluoguxiang
Next to Mao Mao Chong
This tastefully remodeled hutong turned swanky restaurant boasts an outdoor courtyard section and gorgeous private and semi-private rooms. The set menus of Sichuan cuisine are based on number of diners and change each week. An impressive international wine list complements the food.
Fantastic food, but pricy. You can only get set menus (RMB288 and RMB188) and half of what you pay for is the gorgeous courtyard environment. Service was also pretty good. The clientele is 90% foreign. It's a place only for very special occasions, or when someone else is paying.
It took us a good walk from the main street of Nanluoguxiang to find SOURCE so be warned to dress ultra warm this winter as the walk may take you a while especially at night when the lane is rather dark and it's your first visit! The food is nothing to scream about except that it's predictable which can be nice to newcomers to this city. Ambience is nice and I look forward to summer when you can sit at their outdoor courtyard.
Certainly a classy restaurant in appearance, with a great half-hidden location, but bound to disappoint anyone who expects the billed “Sichuan” fare. The Qing Dynasty building and courtyard are great for a photo op, but entering one of the several dining rooms arranged around the central courtyard, one begins to feel the tourist-oriented leanings of this restaurant in the gilt, hotel-lobby wallpaper and overly insistent strains of Peking Opera piped in on loop. But these tacky quirks are raised to a level of total failure in the food. “Source” offers only sets menus, intended to please foreigners and able to please no one. This is some of the blandest Chinese food I’ve ever had, never mind that it’s supposed to be fiery, tongue-numbing Sichuan. Their dubious decision to exclude MSG from their dishes has clearly not been compensated for with any other spices. One exception was a delicately flavored beef appetizer with accents of cilantro, but this was in the lonely minority. Even the staples suffered – the rice was dry, the dumplings hard and doughy. The final letdown was the price – after suffering through the only meal on the menu, we discovered that the two-person set, listed at about 170, was actually 170 per person. As might be sadly appropriate for a restaurant run by an arts collective, “Source” is all about appearances, but if you’re on a tourist budget and are willing to suffer the saccharine processional of the set menu, be sure to get a photo in the courtyard before you leave.
I haven't been to this place in a long time. But the last two times were good. Hard to find "classy" Chinese near Nanluo area. The Source is a good place to consider when you're in the mood for good Chinese that's not just quick street eating.
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Total reviews: 4
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Choice Chinese Review, August, 2012
One of the city’s best courtyard dining experiences, Source offers high-quality Sichuan set menus and an ambiance that’s worth the splurge. The normal set of dishes, which changes based on the size of your party, is ¥188 per person, or ¥268 in the exquisite private rooms. But sitting outside, underneath a thousand-year-old pomegranate tree, is special enough. The savory, rich Sichuan sausage is particularly popular. The chicken soup is subtle, with tiny cubes of tofu in a bowl of flavorful broth. The chicken with enoki mushrooms, served in a piece of bamboo, is fragrant and tender, and we loved the sweet, crunchy kungpao shrimp. Another hit, the spicy cod comes atop soft tofu and bundles of noodles. The biggest highlight, though, is perhaps the perfectly textured dan dan mian. An impressive international wine list complements the food.