After sushi and ramen, make room for dumplings as Beijing8 arrived in Lyon this week. Chinese at heart, but Beijing8 is not a concept Made In China. It’s Swedish and the restaurant at 23 rue de la Charité Lyon, held by Alban Murugneux is the first one overseas.
In Sweden, at the time I write this, there are six restaurants divided between two cities, Stockholm and Gothenburg and the success is huge. At lunch, dinner or a quick snack before going out a Friday night, it’s slow fast food with an organic profile. In addition to dumplings they also serve a variety of hot and cold teas. The bet? Using quality products, organic if possible, to make quality fast food.
The concept is simple: in a contemporary and sober environment Alban and his team serve one of the oldest Chinese foods, dumplings, a kind of steamed ravioli (but also grilled or served in a chicken broth) with accompaniments such as edamame beans, marinated borlotti beans, noodle salad or steamed broccoli. For those who are used to dumplings made by their Chinese grandparents or those found on the “eat all you want for 12€” buffet there are high chances that they will not find the dumplings they are used to. Beijing8 exchanged the Maneki Neko (the waving lucky cat figurine that is not even Chinese for that matter) against grey walls and wooden furniture, recipes witch a punch that stand out a bit from the traditional, and served with original sauces like chili & cilantro, plum & ginger and spicy peanut. The traditional soy sauce and hoisin are still there though.
Beijing-eight, Beijing åtta, Beijing huit or Beijing Bā? In Sweden, the 8 is pronounced in Swedish, sometimes in English and the purists use Chinese. Remains to be seen how it’s adapted in Lyon.