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.