Nanxingcang, considered China’s oldest remaining granary, is undergoing a renaissance as a food producer. With the addition of Aguatierrafuego, a tasteful and tasty Latin eatery, the already diverse restaurant scene here gets a good kick of energy, class and, most importantly, innovative flavors.

The space is warm and delicate and a buzz emanates from the open-kitchen. It’s no surprise that one of the investors is the GM at Alameda, with lessons from that successful spot such as chewy, warm bread brought immediately to the table. Likewise, Alameda’s successful formula which imbues classic, homey northern Italian cooking with Latin flavors and ingredients, flecked with Asian touches, has found its way here.

Starters were a deft mix of savory and sweet such as the refreshing combination of mango and chicken salad with raspberry dressing (¥30). A sushi-inspired salmon roulade with wasabi dressing (¥30) was essentially smoked salmon and fresh cream rolled in cucumber, and though lacking in the green mustard we love, still made for crunchy, creamy mouthfuls bite after bite. For mains, we went with a rack of lamb with roasted butternut squash (¥85) and a smoky berry sauce, which was cooked to perfection.

The presentation here is simple and heartfelt, and so is the service. For a casual date or much-needed power lunch spot, “water land and fire”—as the name means—presents a mean menu.

http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/listings/dining/mediterranean/has/aguatierrafuego/

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