Despite being a good nine hours of high-speed rail away from Lanzhou, Beijing’s Lanzhou lamian joints are a dime a dozen. Pulled noodles in a beefy broth are so often what the doctor ordered that the doctor’s closed up shop and headed for a bowl herself.
If the doctor’s got her finger on the pulse, it’s likely you’ll find her at Bei 27 Hao, a popular Lanzhou restaurant that’s recently relocated to Nali Patio and is consistently heaving with customers. Most diners are seated at a long concrete table that runs down the middle of the narrow, stripped-back establishment. The bright lights and cracked paint make for a possibly too enthusiastic commitment to brutalist beauty, but when you’re squeezed elbow-to elbow with your fellow noodle-neckers, it’s what’s on the table that’s the focus of your attention.
What’s on the table is really very good. The house dish of laolaojia saozimian (26RMB) is a soupy bowl of goodness just like grandma used to make, stuffed to the brim with vegetables swimming harmoniously alongside minced pork. Even better is the dayang banmian (25RMB), a 'dry' dish of noodles, pork, a scattering of scallions and a moreish sesame paste, which brings us nicely to the Lanzhou niangpi (18RMB), a Gansu classic of two wheaty wonders – one a slippery, fat noodle, the other a spongy nugget – coated in a thinner sesame sauce with a humming chilli kick. For a more intense but still very manageable bite of spice, don’t miss the hupi lajiaozi (18RMB), sautéed tiger-skin peppers that are more commonly found in Sichuan, but which offer such a delightfully juicy interlude that we’ll forgive the geographical misdemeanour.
News of Bei 27 Hao’s well-priced food has clearly spread fast – expect to wait for a table only to be shunted out of it pretty quickly. But for those sweet moments of crowded gobbling, you’ll be glad to be sat in the restaurant’s concrete chamber.
Two bowls of noodles and a couple of sides: 90RMB.