Beijing’s 10 weirdest restaurants

2013-07-04 18:15 ChineseTime

House of Poo Poo

Pressure affects people in different ways. Soldiers become "shell-shocked.” Politicians “crack.”

Restaurateurs, on the other hand, forget the failsafe formula of good food, value and service, and start to think that novelty place mats are a neat idea.

In a city with 40,000 restaurants fighting for customers, it’s no wonder these Beijing eateries are acting a little odd.

1. House of Poo Poo

A kindergarten “poo-scape” of smiley-faced turds, this bathroom-tiled restaurant is a daft tribute to the sit-down legacy of Thomas Crapper. Guests perch on toilets topped with Winnie the Pooh warmers (coincidence?), tucking into squidgy dishes like “poo funny mud” (mashed potato, pictured) and beef curries that float in table-top commodes. If it all gets too much, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom -- it’s quite ordinary.

House of Poo Poo (便便满屋饭堂)
Average price: RMB 25-50
Opening hours: 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Address: 91 Dianmen Outer Street, Xicheng District (西城区地安门外大街91号), Tel. +86 (010) 8403 5296

2. Friends Cafe

Always stuck in second gear? Seek out this eerily precise replica of TV show "Friends’" Central Perk for big cups of Joe, chocolate muffins, hot dogs and endless re-runs. A giddy student crowd fights over the famous couch, and takes turns strumming “Smelly Cat” on guitar. Fanatical owner Du Xin confesses to studying “millions of pictures online to get it right.” Yes, he dresses like Gunther.

Friends Café (老友记主题店)
Average Price: RMB 20 – 50
Opening hours: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Address: Suite 0616, Building A, Chaowai SOHO, 6 Chaoyangmen Outer Street, Chaoyang District (朝外大街乙6号朝外SOHOA座0616室), Tel. +86 186 0119 1315

3. Grandma’s Rabbit Head Restaurant

This packed Sichuan restaurant is really turning heads with its Chengdu signature. Skinned, braised rabbit heads, to be precise. Select a sauce (Sichuan peppercorn or five-spice), and don the gloves and apron provided for a lagomorph lobotomy. After you’ve prized open the jaw to get at the surprisingly long, chewy tongue, you’ll need more muscle to crack the skull and pull out the little brain. Looks ghastly, tastes good. Honest.

Grandma’s Rabbit Head Restaurant (双流老妈兔头)
Average price: 50-80 RMB (rabbit heads 8 RMB each)
Opening hours: 10 a.m. - midnight
Address: 48 East Third Ring Road (south of Shuangjing Subway Exit C), Chaoyang District, (朝阳区东三环南路48号(地铁双井站C口南), Tel. +86 (010) 6540 5858

4. Red Classics Restaurant

Revel in a bygone slice of PRC history at this theater restaurant decked out with Mao portraits, revolutionary slogans and a life-sized red tractor smashing through the wall. Waitresses in green overalls and pig-tails dish up the Helmsman’s beloved pork belly in portions that would make a Red Guard blush, as actors belt out “The East is Red” to drunken groups of flag-waving petty bourgeoisie.

Red Classics Restaurant (红色经典主题餐厅)
Average price: 40-70 RMB
Opening hours: 10 a.m. - 9.30 p.m. (show begins at 7:20pm nightly)
Address: 66 Beishang Po, Qinglong Bridge, Xiangshan Road, Haidian District (海淀区香山路青龙桥北上坡66号), Tel. +86 (010) 6287 2185

5. Trojan Fairy

For adulterers and paparazzi-shy celebs, this pitch-black restaurant is the place not to be seen (though before diners plan anything too naughty, be warned: the waiters wear night-vision goggles). Dark restaurants are nothing new, but online gamers have adopted Trojan Fairy for live-action “Farmville” antics, where diners compete by swiping food from each other’s plates. Choose from three peculiar part-Japanese, part-Western set menus to join the fun.

Trojan Fairy (木马童话黑暗餐厅)
Average price: RMB 200
Opening hours: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Address: 8th Floor, Hunsha Dalou, 109 Xidan North Street, Xicheng District (西城区西单北大街109婚庆大楼8楼), Tel. +86 (010) 6616 0336

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