Capital M – Beijing

January 21, 2010

Capital M Beijing, an artists view

As always when I visit Beijing, I pay a visit to Brian Wallace, the director of Red Gate Gallery, my most favorite art gallery in China, and beyond. After about an hour of talking and catching up about Beijing’s art scene (and a quick box lunch), we also started talking about good food and inadvertedly talked about Michelle Garnaut and her newest restaurant in Beijing: Capital M.

Ever since Michelle started out in Hongkong in 1989 with 500 Dollar in her pocket but many good ideas and opened M at the Fringe, which won the Hongkong Dining Awards in 2009 as best restaurant, she has made a name for herself in restaurant and entertainment circles.

In 1999 she opened M on the Bund and later The Glamour Bar – self-declared as “Shanghai’s Sexiest Bar”.

Unfortunately Michelle was not there when we entered the bar early that afternoon for a glass of bubbly. Brian treated me with a bottle of Taittinger. But first he showed me around so that I got an idea of the place and its stunning views. We had a great time.

From Brian’s handphone camera

I will try the food next time I visit Beijing. Looking forward to it. Cheers

Red Gate Gallery
Te.: +86-10-65251005

Capital M Beijing
3/F, No.2 Qianmen Pedestrian Street
(just south of Tian’anmen Square)
Beijing 100051 China
邮编 100051
Tel +86 -10- 6702-2727
Fax +86-10 – 6702-3737

Yunnan food at 中8楼 in Sanlitun – Beijing

December 28, 2009

Parallel to Xindong Lu where we lived in the early 1990s, the Sanlitun lane was nothing than a small side-street with a small food market in east Beijing. Ever since this small street took off from about 1993 onwards and has become one of the major hangouts in the city today.

During my recent visit I could witness this again. My friend Brian Wallace, the director of Red Gate Gallery took me out one night for a meal at Sanlitun.

He took me to 中8楼 one of the city’s classiest Yunnan restaurants. Apart from excellent food at very reasonable prices, Middle 8th offers elegant décor and excellent service.

Brian, director of Red Gate Gallery

Brian ordered the meal. I had seen the vegetables (picture below) on a table while we were waiting to be seated (booking in advance is recommended). It is Yunana vegatables in banana leaf, very tasty, lovely food.

Yunnan veggies

Scrimp salad

Sweet potatoes

Pigeon eggs, mushrooms and greens

Dali, Yunnan beer

Interesting beer glasses

Needless to say this was a wonderful evening and the two of us, we had a great time. I highly recommend the restaurant. Yunnan food is just very special indeed.

PS: Before we went for dinner, Brian took me to a boutique luxury hotel at Sanlitun, called “The Opposite House”. Red Gate Gallery is providing modern art by some of their artists during the months of October to December as a kind of “moving exhibition”.

The Middle 8th Yunnan Restaurant

The Opposite House
Beijing, China

Red Gate Gallery
Gallery Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Everyday
Tel/ Fax: (86 10) 6525 1005

Gallery Address:
Levels 1 & 4, Dongbianmen Watchtower
Chongwenmen, Beijing


Postal Address:
Beijing International Post Office
Box No. 9039, Beijing, China 100600

Sichuan food in Beijing

December 23, 2009

Christmas decoration at Chang an jie

Also China shines in Christmas lights these days. During my recent visit I could check out various department stores and restaurants where I could experience the magic.

My good old friend Xingyuan took me to a Sichuan restaurant not far from where he is working at Jianguomennei. He ordered so many dishes which I cannot show all in this blog entry.

We were too busy chatting and catching up after a long time apart anyway. My photo-taking was slack at best.

Below you find shots of two spicy Sichuan dishes we had. That it was delishes goes without saying. We could not finish all the food.

I love the spicy Sichuan cuisine though at times some of the dishes are too hot for me. I drank a beer with the spicy food; Xingyuan had a coke.

Happy reunion in Beijing

Beijing gray

December 9, 2009

Well, I am in Beijing by now and I am very surprised that I can enter my blog. When I wanted to add the picture in Shanghai the other day, the Great Fire Wall of China prevented me from doing so. The more my surprise that I can enter now.

It was a pleasant day despite the grey winter weather. Almost no visibility today. The people are nice as always in China and the food is excellent. I will report about some of my culinary excursions later.

I found Christmas music in every shopping mall; giant Christmas trees in all colours with flashing lights welcome the casual visitor. More new buildings, shops and shopping malls, restaurants and fashion outlets seem to open ever since my last visit in August.

The highlight of the day was my visit to Red Gate Gallery at Dongbianmen Watchtower. The current exhibition reflects the vibrancy of the young Chinese artists and their sense of humour. If in Beijing you should go and have a look. It’s well worth it.

Fifty five

October 24, 2009


Back street near Houhai, Beijing

I was very luck to spend my 55th birthday with a good old friend in Beijing, China. He took me to a Hakka (“Kejiaren”) restaurant near Houhai where we had a jolly good meal and a jolly good time.

My Chinese name (Zhou Min-de) was given to me in 1983 by a Taiwanese farmer, Mr. Zhou, who was also Hakka (in Linlo Xian, near Pintung in Southern Taiwan).

We enjoyed the food and each others company. It was a mild August night, and the world seemed to be at peace. It was a double 5 festival for me, so to say. That must mean luck, prosperity and long, long life!


After the feast

PS: We had beers, of course, what else? It just came naturally.

Fine Dining in Beijing: Grand Mansion Chinese Restaurant 大宅门中式餐饮会所 Da Zhai Men 大宅门

December 12, 2008

Recently friends in Beijing invited me to a fancy place for dinner. Da Zhai Men – 大宅门, or as it is called in English “Grand Mansion Business Club” (Chinese style) or 大宅门中式餐饮会所, that’s what the brochure says.

The place is a kind of replica of a Ming and/or Ching dynasty style eating place. The decoration is amazing. Though housed in a modern, glass walled, high rise building, the internal architecture makes you feel having entered a distant, forgotten but very exotic world, a world you otherwise see only in historical epic movies or kung fu films.

The entrance is styled as a gate to a compound, a kind of “se he yuan”, or four wing traditional house. I felt like “abducted” into a forgotten world. The restaurant staff is clad in outfits which might also come from the good old times of imperial China, very colourful costumes. I cannot judge their authenticity but I liked the combination of fur, colour, patterns and ornaments. The ambience of the place makes you forget the grim reality of a cold November evening in the capital city of the fastest growing economy in the world.

We had booked a separate room at the second or third floor. We went around one corner after the other until we were led into a cosy little room decorated in the same style with some modern elements. For instance the pictures were framed in modern golden coloured frames depicting modern scenes. The furniture was wooden, wooden were also all the screens and panels, a window simulation was hung with a long brown cloth. The crockery on the table was equally colourful but was not for use.


The menu consisted of a big, equally colourful book with excellent quality photos of the various dishes on offer; captions were in Chinese and English. The photos were interspersed with explanatory texts and pictures of various motives, reproductions of old material on ingredients and the history of the dishes.

The mansion offers “aristocratic” cuisine whatever that might mean, in contrast to royal or simple peoples cuisine. Instead of a regional denomination, the mansion praises itself for creating “modern Chinese fusion” dishes which attempt to blend various traditional and modern influences into new harmonies. To say it from the outset, the food was excellent.


The soup


A fish dish

For my wine drinking friends, the fact that we did not have wine with our meal might come as a disappointment. So I have no clue what the wine list looks like. Instead, we drank some of the finest tea China has to offer, a dark coloured tea from Hangzhou called ‘West Lake Dragon Well tea’.

The event did not lend itself to picture taking. I dared to take only a few but in order to not create too much disturbances I quickly put away the camera. But rest assured the food was exquisite. The Mansion is a dining experience of the noble kind indeed.

Grand Mansion Business Club
Wanquanzhuang, Haidian District
Wanliuxingui Mansion, No. 28
Tel.: +86-1058720188 or 89
Fax: +86-010-58720133
Daily 11am-2pm, 5pm-9.30pm