The Q Mex Bar and Grill at Sanlitun, Beijing, recently unveiled a series of new dishes, giving gourmands who love spicy food something to cheer about.
Top of the list is Chef Marcus Medina's spicy corn chowder. First created by Medina and his brother when they opened a Mexican restaurant in New York city some 40 years ago, this decadent and creamy roasted corn broth has been a staple at the US restaurant since the beginning.
Topped with black beans, cilantro and diced avocado, the soup makes for a decadent appetizer that prepares the palate for the larger dose of spice that awaits. Diners who are adverse to spice could order an alternative appetizer such as the refreshing Mexican Cobb salad of sliced chicken, roasted corn, avocado and shredded cheese.
Another spicy dish is the charcoal-grilled Australian skirt steak that is served with spicy and sour fried rice, sauteed onions and peppers. The new taco burger also packs a tantalizing heat with its spicy chorizo meat patty. Complemented with cheese and crispy corn chips, this dish makes for a textural delight.
The svelte Jalapeno butter fish, which features pan-fried tilapia served with fried rice and sauteed spinach, is another standout new offering.
Offering a reprieve from all the spice is the new dessert selection which includes the hazelnut chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and the Tres Leches Cake which is soaked in not one by three kinds of milk.
The casual bistro has been an institution for Mexican cuisine in Beijing since it opened in 2012. The restaurant's most popular offering is its burrito - it sells more than 3,000 of them every month, according to Medina.
The quality and authenticity of the food has since won over hordes of local diners. While most of its customers in the past were expatriates, about 80 percent of them today are Chinese.
Medina attributes this rise in popularity among the Chinese to a patient, controlled introduction of new dishes.
"In the beginning, Chinese customers mostly ordered burritos and some appetizers. But they've eventually become more open to trying other types of Mexican food as we gradually introduce more dishes over the years," he says.
"There are similarities between Mexican food and those from Sichuan and Hunan. This similarity has made it easy for me to create dishes that Chinese diners can likely accept," he adds.
The menu at Q Mex Bar and Grill rarely stays the same. Every year, Medina and his team travel to Mexico to explore new ways of creating dishes that can appeal to the Chinese audience.
"It's important to move forward with our menu. This is the philosophy of Q Mex. Of course, sales figures are the decisive factor. It helps us know about customer preferences. We keep popular dishes on the menu and take off the ones that don't sell," he explains.
Medina opened its third restaurant in Beijing recently, and during the month-long World Cup soccer tournament that begins in Russia on June 14 fans can watch games live and enjoy food and drink.
If you go
Address: 4 Gongti North Road, Jidianyuan, Chaoyang district, Beijing
Hours: 11am - 3am daily Tel: 010-6585-3828