A fixture of Beijing’s dining scene for almost a decade, chef
Andrew Ahn (formerly of Sanlitun's One Pot) made his return this past August with
the opening of Maru, a modern Korean concept located in Shuangjing’s Hopson
For those previously familiar with One Pot, Maru instead sees Ahn
shift away from everyday street snacks in favour of contemporary Korean
cuisine, serving up homestyle favourites such as bibimbap, samgye-tang (ginseng
chicken soup) and jjigae (kimchi
stew) alongside reinvented fusion mash-ups.
Kimbap gets a reworking in Maru's noodle kimbap (48RMB), resulting in a
noodle-filled seaweed roll, which joyfully feels like the equivalent of putting
crisps in your sandwich as kid, just on a way more gourmet level. Similarly,
bulgogi rice bowls get a vegetarian (or millennial) twist with avocado, radish
and rocket (48RMB) for what's a refreshingly zingy side dish, particularly when
contrasted with the shatteringly crispy and confident garlic soy fried chicken (68-128RMB).
On the more traditional end, Maru’s cheese kimchi pancake (48RMB) is
based on a recipe handed down by Ahn’s grandmother, in what’s a moreish medley
of homemade kimchi cooked into a crispy pancake and topped with melted cheese.
Sautéed spicy pork belly and baby octopus (68RMB), served in a sizzling stone pot
is probably the most rigidly Korean dish we try, yet its execution – juicy pork
belly draped atop a pool of tender squid and umami-rich broth – proves that
some classics don’t need improvement.
Dessert comes in the form of a lemon curd tart shaped into a rubber
duck (38RMB). We’re unapologetic supporters of kitsch, except the lemony duck
retains its structure at the detriment of the curd's texture, which is tough
and rubbery. Creamy with a herbal kick, the ginseng date tiramisu (38RMB) is a
pleasant enough spin on the Italian classic, but we could probably take it or
The arrival of Maru offers a timely reminder of what we've been
missing since One Pot closed. With Sanlitun’s Korean options now scarcer than
ever, it looks like Shuangjing might very well be the new place to be for
unfussy, tasty eats.
Dinner for two 350RMB
By Leanne Wong