Made in China, Beijing

Made in China is not the usual Chinese restaurant, first of all it sits in the Grand Hyatt Hotel, which isn’t really what I would call traditional Chinese. Secondly, it has a pretty good wine list for Beijing, if it is as expensive as all others. Thirdly, the design is a very capable mix of western and Chinese elements. When we sat down in one of the private dining rooms on my first day in Beijing, I was already struck by how beautiful the tables were dressed. Overall there was an understated luxury here, which was warm and welcoming, thus perfect for my first meal in t he People’s Republic.

The black brigade, one must say was a bit absent-minded on this evening. At one point we were looked after very well, whilst at other points, we had no chance of getting someone’s attention. This was probably due to the restaurant being incredibly busy, and us sitting in a private dining room. However, the food was to make up for it, at least as far as I can tell.

Glorious it was, without any doubts. We started with spinach,  pressed, and covered in a thick sauce made with sesame paste, wasabi, soy sauce and vinegar. Rarely have I come across better spinach.It was incredibly tasty, with the sauce giving it a rich, thick background, without overpowering the delicate spinach. Excellent.

Another starter was beancurd, marinated, and served with red beans and mushrooms. It was a Shanghainese dish, which plays with sweet and salty flavours. Again, it was so good, that it was hard to criticise. The balance of flavours was masterful, as were the textural counterpoints. Very good.

Following this, the famous Beijing duck was served. From the moment the chef came and started slicing, the level of excitement around the table started to rise, and when you finally get to try that delicately crunchy, yet melting skin, you definitely are as close to paradise as you’ll ever get. It is outrageously good. Similarly, rolling those pancakes is as satisfying as anythinig, even if we were to try better ones in the following days. Excellent.

The piece de resistance was a braised imperial abalone. Served simply with its juices, and two asparagus spears, it was without doubt the best abalone I have come across. Juicy, tasty, and with a fascinating texture, it was a delicacy well worth (the rather high) price. Outstanding.

The first dessert was a mango/rice pudding, which was good, without being all that exciting.

Much better were puffs, filled with coconut cream, and served with caramelised sesame. These were light, with excellent pate a choux and a fantastic cream. A good end to a fantastic first meal in China.

Made in China really impressed me. It is a restaurant, which might not be perfect, but still does a bloody good job. The food was phenomenal, I would rate it with a strong 2*, would you be able to find Chinese food of this quality in Europe. The duck was amazing, as was the abalone. However, it was the spinach that really got me excited due to the fact that I never had any spinach before that was as tasty and intense a. I can only urge anyone to go here, as it gives a great introduction to Chinese cooking.

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6 Réponses to “Made in China, Beijing”

  1. Michael Says:

    I know that the skin is the main point of Peking Duck, but frequently there is a second serving using the meat. I wonder why not here. Did you have hoisin sauce and scallions to roll with the skin in the pancakes?

  2. felixhirsch Says:

    Don’t worry Michael. After having been served the skin, we were treated to the meat, with pancakes and the veggies. It was just as delicious as the skin. I wonder why Chinese restaurants in the west can’t produce something similar?

  3. baobabs Says:

    Hi Felix, glad to know you’re enjoying your eats in the Capital. From an obsessed foodie to foodie, I’d recommend you check out Capital M, Tiandiyijia for some imperial Chinese cuisine, Duck de Chine (but you might have had your fill of duck by now), Mosto, bei (I could bet on it that you’ll enjoy it) and Sureno at The Opposite House and Fennel housed in the most recently opened Yi House art hotel in the 798 art district.

    Beijing is still in its nascent stage of dining, so often it is hit or miss. If you also have time, try to visit Sadler is my all time favourite restaurant, Ricardo La Perna gives every dish a personality of their own and I dare say is the best Italian restaurant in town. It’s the only place that I’ve enjoyed the « retro-olfactory » experience in Beijing.

    Bon appetit!

    • felixhirsch Says:

      Hi Juliana!

      Yes Beijing was great, and I tried some of the places you recommended (coming up!). Duck de Chine is something I have planned for the next time. But there is so much that it is impossible to do it all in one visit.

      The other places are noted for next year!

  4. Vic Says:

    Stunning, in particular the duck and the abalone. They remind me of the grand Chinese meals I grew up with in Malaysia. Sometimes they end up rubbery and chewy, so they aren’t the easiest ingredient to prepare and cook right. That picture look so good I could taste it!

    Did you drink any wines with the meal, in particular with the duck and abalone? I find it really hard to wine match a Chinese dinner since it’ll either involved switching between reds and whites (which is ok I think) or picking a wine that satisfies a broad spectrum but without being amazing with any one dish. I’ve found that a red Bordeaux matches quite well with dishes containing soya sauce, even in steamed fish.

  5. felixhirsch Says:

    Ah it was stunning, believe me. The duck was the best I had eaten up to then (it was eclipsed a few days later, post to come), and the abalone really divine. It was the first meal in China, and I fell in love with it right there and then!

    As for wine, we drank a 2001 Lafaury Peyraugey, so a Sauternes. It was stunning, and did match the dishes quite well. Otherwise, I stuck to tea most of the time in China, as wine is stupidly expensive there, and it is hard to find anything interesting in most restos.

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