A western restaurant in Beijing owned by an Aussie from Melbourne
Capital M Restaurant in Beijing is owned by Michelle Garnaut an Australian from Melbourne – it’s one place I used to take all my visitors so I think I have been there about twenty times. It has a sister restaurant in Shanghai called ‘M on the Bund’ again using the initial of the owner Michelle in its name. I have been to the Shanghai restaurant but my preference is definitely Capital M in Beijing!
The Beijing restaurant is located on Qianmen (front gate) Street which is a famous pedestrian street that runs from the Archery Tower in the north (which can be seen from the restaurant’s terrace) and Tiantan Park in the south.
Qianmen is a lovely street to walk along prior to dining at Capital M as it has beautiful buildings/tea houses/shops and cafes on either side and the majority have been refurbished to resemble the style of the late Qing Dynasty. The gate is situated to the south of Tian’anmen Square and once guarded the southern entry into the inner city.
If you are dining at Capital M, it’s a good idea to get dropped off a little earlier at the southern end of Qianmen to enjoy a leisurely stroll or you can take the little tram from one end to the other. There is also a little street that runs parallel to Qianmen and this one is ‘typical old Chinese’ in that it’s rather dirty and smelly and I just love it.
The buildings are not refurbished like Qianmen Street which I think is wonderful, and there are old Chinese men and women selling their wares sitting on dirty old plastic stools. You can also pop into a typical old style restaurant or buy some of that awful smelling ‘stinky tofu’…but once you get past that smell, you can carry on shopping buying a huge range of incredibly cheap gifts and clothes.
After a walk, it’s always time for a cocktail before a delicious dinner, so onto Capital M. If the weather is nice then it’s preferable to sit out on the terrace while taking in views of Tian’anmen Square and Mao’s mausoleum or just have a drink on the terrace and enjoy dinner inside. Day time the views are great (without smog of course) and at dusk it’s spectacular.
Dining inside is a very special experience with the signature parquet flooring and beautiful lighting. And the paintings on the walls are something you just have to see – it’s truly a gorgeous restaurant.
It’s not just the ambience of this restaurant, the meals are pretty special too. It’s well known for its crispy suckling pig which of course I would never eat but the Middle Eastern inspired vegetarian platters are great. The menu changes pretty regularly but what doesn’t change is the famous Capital M pavolva or the equally delicious mille feuille. Both are truly delicious but in my opinion the pavolva is the winner for sure! It’s important to keep a small space to enjoy the dessert along with the complimentary sweets – chocolates/turkish delight and other treasures…yum!!
A definite place to visit whilst in Beijing!