Fast becoming a Beijing staple, this branch is the newest addition to the Suzuki Kitchen empire. With decent curries, hefty rice dishes, and much more besides, this is a reliable place to fill up on some affordable Japanese nosh. The cool interior is quintessentially Japanese, apart from the frankly disturbing obsession with rabbits – we have no idea where that came from. From the logo to the ornaments, bunnies are all over the shop – it’s almost hallucinatory. ‘Excuse me, waiter, is that a rabbit on your shoulder, or am I tripping balls?’
Suzuki Kitchen 10-14 Yangmeizhu Xiejie (6313 5409). Open 11.30am-3pm, 5.30-10pm daily. 西城区杨梅竹斜街10-14号
Everything from old radios and revolutionary memorabilia to a handmade, glittery, cross-stitch portrait of Chairman Mao can be found in Rongdexuan, a twee little antiques shop run by an elderly Chinese couple. It’s a fantastic place to browse, full of ’70s-era graphic novels, porcelain figurines of the proletariat, and hundreds of other things you had no idea you wanted until you found them but now you just have to have! Come to think of it, if the Mao cross-stitch is still there on our next trip, we’re taking it.
Rongdexuan 45 Yangmeizhu Xiejie (no tel). Open 10am-5pm daily. 西城区杨梅竹斜街45号
This gallery-cum-studio-cum-bespoke shop specialises in handmade, artisan jewellery and ceramics. This isn’t the place to go on a budget, but as far as quality and unique design go, Ubi Gallery is where it’s at. Founded in 2012 by Dutch expatriate Machtelt Schelling, Ubi Gallery has been providing a forum for cultural exchange between China and the international artistic community for a couple of years now. Places like Ubi Gallery are what’s putting Yangmeizhu Xiejie on the map and making it the must-go place for Beijing’s creative elite, especially during autumn’s annual Beijing Design Week.
Ubi Gallery 62 Yangmeizhu Xiejie (6301 2382; www.ubigallery.com). Open 11.30am-6.30pm Wed-Sun. 西城区杨梅竹斜街62号
Twelve Moons sells artisan notebooks, sketchbooks, greeting cards and pretty much everything else that’s made from pulped trees. Unlike many similar places, the designs on sale here aren’t so kitsch or saccharine-sweet that they make a little bit of sick come up – in fact, the designs are definitely worth seeking out. The quaint little shop also uses ethically sourced materials, so you can rest easy that you’re doing your bit for ma nature. As with most of the other businesses in the hutong, this place also doubles up as an art gallery.
Twelve Moons 27 Yangmeizhu Xiejie (8319 7245). Open 11am-7pm Tue-Sun. 西城区杨梅竹斜街27号