Venues

Beijing Opera

Beijing Opera
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Cost
R100 avg main meal
Ambience
Authentic culture, Comfy & casual
Food
Asian, Chinese

Critic's review

Richard Holmes

Food
Owner Yang Zhao traces her love for cooking to her childhood days in China, and the authenticity of the food at Beijing Opera shows, even if Zhao isn’t always in the kitchen. The small dim sum selection is scribbled on the chalkboard above the pass (no prices listed, annoyingly). Potstickers come filled with pork, beef or vegetables; served with a punchy sauce of chilli, spring onions and soy. Steamed prawn gau are as delicate and delicious as any I’ve had in Hong Kong, as are the steamed buns filled with piping hot barbecue pork. There are noodle dishes and wontons on offer too, but really; come for the dim sum and don’t look back.

Drinks
A forgettable offering stuck away in a fridge beneath the pass. A cold Tsing Tao or local craft beer is a better bet, or BYO.

Service
The service is friendly enough, but could do with some sharpening.

Ambience
Communal blonde wood tables and oversized red lamps dominate the sparse space that ideally needs a crowd to come alive. Bag a seat at the window counter for people watching while you wait.

And…
Look out for the occasional Yum Cha Sunday lunches dishing up DJs and dim sum.

(September 2016)

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

 

 

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  • Lentswe Bhengu

    Food
    Beijing Opera is Cape Town’s version of a chic, upmarket and authentic Chinese eatery. The owner Yang and her team manage to serve China on a plate every time. The various broths are robust and full of depth. The dim sums are soft, delicate and packed with flavour. The BBQ pork pot stickers are a favourite and taste amazing, and they’re also available with a filing of veg or chicken. The food here is best shared in the company of friends, that way you can order a bit of everything and dig in.

    Drinks
    They have a selection of craft beer and wine choices to accompany the food.

    Service
    The menu is simple and straightforward. Regular specials are listed up on the chalkboard along with the standard set menu. The waiting and kitchen staff are friendly and dressed an in a relaxed fashion. The servers are very familiar with the processes of how each type of dim sum is prepared.

    Ambience
    It’s an uncluttered space that stays true to the adage of ‘less is more’. Warm natural light pours in from the large front window, where you can also have a seat to watch the trendy people going past. There is also shared seating, which makes Beijing a great spot for single diners a lunch time, and large group sittings at dinner.

    And…
    When in China – there is a variety of Chinese teas available for tea lovers to enjoy.

    (August 2015)

  • Linda Scarborough

    Those in the know will recognise the striking red logo of Beijing Opera and the chef-patron Yang Zhao from her successful pop-ups all over Cape Town and Johannesburg. At last a permanent space is available for dim sum enthusiasts, where Yang plans to “showcase the variety of traditional and modern flavours which are unique to her cooking style”.

    The food
    Dim sum is why we’re here and it’s just as well: dim sum is all there is. For the uninitiated, expect subtly flavoured shredded meat and veg wrapped up in parcels, some steamed silky-translucent and some fluffy, puffy and tender. Go up to the counter and ask for pot-stickers (beef, chicken, veg, and pork and chives) at R25 for four pieces; buns (pork, BBQ pork, veg, chicken, veg and chive) at R15 each; and steamed dumplings (chicken sui mai, veg dim sum, diamond har gau, peanut and pork, prawn and chive, and pepper, chilli and shrimp) at R45 for four pieces.

    Once you’ve found your seat, a little saucer of soy-vinegar dipping sauce will arrive, with a couple of serviettes and chopsticks – the pretty, embossed gold-and-red kind. Sadly, no plates are forthcoming to catch the inevitable drips.

    When our prawn and chive har gau dumplings appear in their woven basket, we have to be very gentle when peeling them off from their rice paper bed. The shell-reminiscent wrap – if it stays intact – is pleasantly chewy without being gummy (the pitfall of bad dim sum) and the ball of filling inside is wonderfully tasty. The pot-stickers, so named because of their treatment with hot oil instead of steam, have simple fillings, with cabbage adding a comforting depth to the beef version. My favourite, however, has to be the pork bun, with a fragrant, perfectly seasoned filling and tender dough. Don’t bother dipping it; you wouldn’t want to miss the lovely yeasty flavour of the dough and the hint of ginger.

    The drinks
    They’re only open for lunch, so perhaps there’s no call for wine or beer. Order some surprisingly delicious coconut juice (in a can), green tea, aloe juice or iced tea; otherwise pour yourself a glass of water from the jugs brought to the table.

    The service
    It’s very casual. The chalkboard menu above the counter faces customers but not staff, resulting in a bit of difficulty when dish names need to be repeated. A few of the options are sold out; some of which are marked with chalk, some of which aren’t. Don’t expect anyone to explain what’s what, and don’t wait until after your meal before checking if they have a card machine. (They don’t.) Yang was out at the time, which might explain these few bumps.

    The ambience
    While it’s very basic, it doesn’t feel sparse: think of it as comfortable minimalism. The smooth, pale, wooden counter along the window has seating on high stools for four people to watch the street ¬– though the quiet office-worker traffic on Rose Street is not nearly as interesting as that on Long and Bree. Two large rectangular tables with seats for about ten people each fill the rest of the neat space; this communal seating could be fun if you’re inclined to be social. Apart from two strings of pegged up photographs – featuring a dog riding a motorbike, a koi fish, a panda, street views and beautiful trees – along the walls, there is no other bric-a-brac or décor clutter in sight. Large red round lampshades on the ceiling round off the Chinese look. The overwhelming feeling is of calm simplicity.

    The verdict
    It’s a great option for a no-fuss, affordable mid-week lunch: the dishes are fresh and arrive in quick succession, allowing you to pop in and out in under an hour without feeling rushed.

    (April 2014)

User reviews

  • This hidden gem, formerly known for great dim sum, is now serving an incredible lunch spread. It changes daily, but could include the likes of salted-caramel chilli slaw, stuffed aubergines topped with edamame hummus and sesame seeds, sweet and sticky fried chicken in oyster sauce, glass noodles with mushrooms, vegetable fritters or rice balls. The service is super casual, but the food is incredibly flavoursome and fresh - and can be pretty spicy! A great find for a quick mid-week lunch.

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  • Waited more than 45 minutes for my noodles and when I ate them there was like 5 little pieces of meat. They gave me the meal for free since it took so long but it was still highly below average in taste so I ate only a few fork-fulls.
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  • Pot stickers here are really delicious and prices are fairly reasonable. Like other reviewers noted they only have one waitress and a small kitchen so service can be quite slow. I got there early and managed to avoid serious delays in getting food and as a group we tried to order numerous dishes at once to avoid delay. Go in a relaxed state of mind because you will wait. That being said the seating set up is not very comfortable. Their drinks menu is limited and they do not cater very well to vegetarians. Pork options were all delicious and beef pot stickers were also wonderful.
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  • No
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  • Such a disappointment!! Waited for almost an hour for the noodle main we ordered only to be told when we quizzed the waiter that they are out of noodles! That is one of the only choices they have as a main so we left rather hungry. Dim sum starters were however delicious.....just wish the waiter was not so disinterested. Not rushing back.
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  • Best Dim Sum this side of the Southern Hemisphere!
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  • I've been to Beijing Opera several times and have always experienced a very friendly and attentive staff and delicious , authentic Dim Sum at a very reasonable price. I love Asian food and this is definitely a Cape Town favorite.
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  • When last were you left without a place to eat on a friday night?? Terribly disorganised place. Made a reservation for two (?!?!only two) people on a friday night. Couldnt get the time we wanted but was happy with the time offered. Arrived there after driving all the way from the southern suburbs. As mentioned in previous complaints: only one waitress around. We had to push through the packed place to get to the kitchen in the back to ask where our table is. She said they have no space. No apology, no plan, no offer to help with a reservation someowhere else. She made our reservation, but she didnt know about two other online reservations?! She said we could wait, but has no idea how long. Rude staff, overcrowded and understaffed, disorganised. Doesnt really matter how good your food are, customers need to be treated with respect for their time. Especially on a friday night.
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  • Quite a disappointing experience at your restaurant! One waiter helping 20 people, 7 groups! How can the poor guy even go to the loo if he needed to? Worst of all, the owner pops in to drop some things and doesn't even offer to help him out! I mean it's your restaurant! You should want to get involved when you see your staff's got their hands full! You won't see me again soon. Don't know what everyone's raving about! Also! Sent a message to their Facebook page and no reply.
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  • Boooooom, that taste explosion just happened!

    Check out Beijing Opera as soon as possible, reason being, IT'S THE BIZ-NIZ and you shouldn't be missing out on the best Dim sum in Africa!

    Will return many times and cart some friends, family, colleagues and other half with. Yang and her merry staff are supercool too and the food speaks for itself, YUMMO!

    One Happy Customer ;)

    JRS a.k.a chefboywanda
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  • Deliciously fresh dim sum in a clean-lined, communal setting. The varieties change according to what's available, but try the chicken or pork pot-stickers if they're on the menu - a steal at R50 for eight pieces. They don't have a credit card machine, so make sure you have cash.
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