Some restaurants are special. From the moment you walk in you feel welcome, are excited about the meal to come and fall in love with the place. Bei was one of those. Tucked away in the ground floor of the fantastic Opposite House Hotel, in trendy Sanlitun, this restaurant is both elegant and very relaxed. The room is beautiful and service phenomenal. Always attentive, charming, welcoming and friendly this brigade was easily the best I have come across in China. It was a real pleasure to eat there!
Another great feature of Bei is the food, obviously. The menu prices are all incredibly reasonable, but then again you are in China, and for local standards they are pretty high. However, for a westerner it seemed like paradise. Think of that: Uni sushi at around €2 a piece. In London you’d easily spend the double, on inferior quality. Interestingly enough, the wine list was probably the best I saw in mainland (apart one place), and had some very fair prices too. A glass of Dom Perignon 2000 cost about €32, hardly extravagant.
On this evening we ate sushi only, and composed our menu from the separate sushi list. But first, we were offered a bit of tuna with radish. It was a piece of fish that had been cooked through, but remained tasty, with the radish giving it a sweet/salty/sour counter point. A very pleasant start!
Following this we had various pieces of sushi. All of them had one thing in common: Very high fish quality. The uni was better than any I have had in Europe, the scallops sweet and succulent, and the eel simply mind-blowing. Toro ws decadent and extremely rewarding. But it was not only the fish that was of high quality. The cooking of the rice was pretty close to being perfect too, so this really was something special. Alongside sushi of Shiori, some of the best sushi of my life.
However, the best was yet to come: A maki of foie gras and eel. This was so bloody good, that I had trouble not ordering second and third rounds of this! The creamy, decadent foie gras worked beautifully with the umami-ladden glased eel and the rice provided a touch of acidity and gave some texture. The final nuance was the seaweed, which added a iodine dimension. All in all this was simply divine.
Bei was so good that I went back a few days later. In Europe I hardly find sushi of such quality (although sushi of Shiori comes very close), so I was baffled by how good this all was. In addition, to have such great service really made this a fantastic evening. If you are spending a few hours in Beijing come here and have a meal, it is something worth doing by all means!