If there’s one thing that I’ve always got a craving for, it’s some top quality cuts of meat on a grill, a beer to go down with it, and a bill that doesn’t empty my pockets; I’m simple like that. If you’re anything like me, and something tells me a lot of you are, Niuchang is definitely a place worth checking out. Located inside Xihu Intime, they’re a typical Japanese cook-it-yourself barbecue restaurant, focused mainly around various cuts of beef, along with a few staples you’ll find in most other places. The interior, as you might expect, has been decorated with quaint little Japanese patterns and features, along with barbecues at the centre of every table.
Niuchang has a pretty big range of food on offer, but where we gave the menu the most attention was the front side, the meat. We started out with the 3 Kinds of Beef Platter (98RMB), which included generous amounts of Rib, Skirt, and Flap Steaks. This combination is a good way to gauge the level of quality, out of which we found the skirt cut to be the most flavourful, whilst at the same time maintaining some tenderness, flap steaks were similar, but getting it cooked just right is tricky. Although the Rib cut was tender and juicy, we would’ve liked a little less bone, and a little more meat.
Something I got to try for the first time was the Beef Intestines (100g/18RMB), these puffy light cylinders need quite a bit of time on the grill, but you’ll know when they’re done when the juices start spewing out; those juices along with the charred skin give it a really unique, albeit strange, flavour. Aside from the beef, we also really liked the Chicken Tenderloins (100g/18RMB), which are easy to get just right on the grill, as well as the Vegetable Platter (18RMB), with everything fresh and seasoned nicely.
If all that meat wasn’t enough, they’ve got a selection of main dishes and a few other specials. We went for a filling Stone Pot Kimchi Fried Rice (26RMB), and the Sashimi Platter (48RMB), both of which were prepared well and go great along side the grilled dishes. A big part of any barbecue dinner has got to be the drink, and Niuchang certainly doesn’t fall short in this area. They’ve got beers, cocktails, rice wine, and soft drinks, but we eventually settled for a bottle of Kirin Beer (18RMB), a perfect partner to all that meat. The menu is only in Chinese, but nonetheless order a few platters and you’ll be fine. Parking available.