Cocktails and Dinner at Beijing’s Newest Hotel
On my last evening in China, I wanted to do something special, so my friends and I went for dinner at Beijing’s newest hotel, The Rosewood.
We arrived at the hotel for a cocktail or two before our dinner. There was a VIP staying at the hotel so we had to go through a thorough security check before entering. We asked who the VIP was and were told that the person was the head of a European country that makes delicious chocolate. Of course that was easy to work out – the Swiss Prime Minister was in town and the next day it was confirmed when we saw the Swiss flag flying outside Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City along Chang ‘An Street. The Chinese always display a visiting countries’ flag during high-level official visits.
But back to the hotel…we caught the lift up to a beautiful bar area and my three friends ordered cocktails and I ordered my usual white wine and we sat in some comfortable chairs talking about our recent trips around China.
There were nice views of the city also; but unfortunately with the usual smog.
We had a couple of drinks in the bar area then made our way to ‘Red Bowl’ which is the Chinese restaurant my friend Nic told me about as she had previously been there and said the food was very good. We walked through the hotel and arrived at Red Bowl to see a wonderful display of Chinese red bowls hanging from the wall. Very striking!
We sat down at our reserved table and Nic had a strange look on her face and said that she didn’t remember the restaurant looking the way it did. This was actually a ‘hot pot’ restaurant with red bowls already on the table for our food (hence the name ‘Red Bowl’) and communal hot pots for cooking food.
Well as it turns out the Redwood Hotel has a few restaurants and this was not the one Nic wanted us to eat at…so as none of us really felt like hot pot, we left, after making a reservation at the other restaurant within the hotel. As we had over an hour until we could eat, we returned to the bar, again going through a full security check. There was a live band playing and we enjoyed singing along to some of the older songs, eating snacks and drinking a couple more cocktails. I know if we let him, my friend Jon would have stayed at the bar all night; singing and drinking then of course probably dancing (badly).
I must say it was worth the wait as when we finally arrived at the restaurant called ‘The Country Kitchen’ it had a lovely ambience with an open kitchen and a wood-roasting oven. Noodles are hand cut, pulled, knife-cut or rolled under the direction of the resident noodle master.
(above photograph sourced from: http://www.beijinger.com)
The décor featured granite, wood and soft red tones. There was also terracotta and oil paintings which were displayed to resemble an old Chinese village restaurant. There are no fancy water glasses here, only copper mugs and earthenware dishes and woven napkins; all adding to that lovely country feel.
The menu presented us with an array of Northern Chinese specialties and in particular lots of chilli not only in our ordered dishes but also whole chillies in huge bowls and chilli oil on the table. And the great thing about this restaurant (and the hotel) is that the chef’s work with local farmers to source the freshest and homegrown ingredients; all this for making delicious tasting dishes.
We ordered a couple of dishes to share and as always I ordered a spicy braised eggplant dish which was pretty hot but really delicious.
My friends ordered a kung pao chicken dish and a beef dish; we also ordered the stir fried green beans with chilli – another of my favourite dishes. Unfortunately I forgot to take photographs until we all had eaten some of the food – we were too hungry and the dishes too delicious.
After a great night with lovely friends, we all departed so that I could get a good night’s sleep before our flight back to Australia the next day.