Fine dining in China: Capital M in Beijing

June 20, 2013

Capital M Beijing

Captital M

Many of you know that Capital M is one of my favourite restaurants in Beijing, China. I try to dine there at least once every visit. On my last visit, I went with my friend Brian Wallace, the owner-director of Red Gate Gallery. We had ordered a table for dinner on a mild spring evening. We both needed a treat, and a treat it turned out to be.

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The wine list

I love the wine selection of Capital M, and decided on a wine from Sancerre. The ‘2008 Domaine Fouassier’ by Domaine Fouassier was a lovely Sauvignan Blanc. This was my first time that I tasted wine from this producer, and I should not regret it.

The Fouassier family is one of the oldest wine producing families in Sancerre. Today the estate covers about 56 ha, 80% planted to Sauvignon Blanc, 20% to Pint Noir.

This wine is aged in oak barrels where it remained on lees for about ten months. It displays the fine acidity, the aromas and complexity one expects from a wine from Sancerre. I loved the sound structure and the long finish.

The grapes come from old vines. The winery prides itself with its organic agricultural and bio-dynamic methods. It was a good choice and I have to look out for more wines from this producer.

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2008 Domaine Fouassier, Sancerre

I urgently needed some green stuff and started with a salad with some beetroots pieces. The wine was perfect for this food pairing.

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Beetroot salad

I am not someone who likes the fancy recipes. I like solid-rural, more agrarian and artisan food not the highly refined output from modern kitchens.  So my choice was red meat which did not exactly match my choice in wine. Since Brian did not feel like another bottle, I stayed with the Sancerre. But I am sure some of the reds from the wine list of Capital M would have been a lovely match.

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My beef fillet on potato mash

The beef was just awesome, what a great dish, what a great evening. If you want to spoil yourself, get going, book a table and enjoy a meal at Capital M. It’s worth it, trust me.

When we left and had said our good-byes, I went on a stroll on Tiananmen square which was completely deserted and void of people. I was rewarded with this view of the entrance of the forbidden city. A visit to Beijing can be quite delightful.

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My pre Christmas lunch in Beijing at Capital M

January 29, 2012

The Christmas tree at the entrance to Capital M in Beijing

As some of you know already, one of my favourite restaurants in Beijing is Capital M at Qianmen with its terrace overlooking Tiananmen square.

During a trip in mid-December, I had the opportunity to dine their again. It was another one of these occasions when I was ready for a treat.

A Christmas tree in the hall welcomed me this time. The whole of Beijing was full of Christmas decoration and Christmas songs were blasted from every loudspeaker in town, so it seemed.

The interior of Capital M

December view of Tian an men

The enlightenment – Bread and butter

I had come from the Enlightenment exhibition at the National Museum of China, and craved for a meal in a nice location, so my natural choice was Capital M at the south end of Tiananmen square with its warm atmosphere and splendid surroundings.

The art of the enlightenment exhibition, by the way, is a wonderful display of one of the most significant times in European history, and I was glad that I had finally found the opportunity to attend the event which is basically celebrating human freedom.

I had even bought the catalogue and had ample time to browse through it while dining at Capital M.

The lunch menu

It was not difficult to choose my meal. Unfortunately, I was by myself and hesitated to order a bottle of wine. Instead I went for the house wine by the glass which allowed me to taste two wines. Naturally, I went for the house wine which I knew from my earlier visits.

The Capital M house wine comes from Angoves, a family-owned and run winery in South Australia has supplied Capital M for two decades already.

I love the wines made by Angoves Family Winemakers which celebrated its 125 year anniversary in 2011.

Capital M’s wine list is very impressive. There is a short list with about 300 wines to choose from and a long list which makes you faint in delight.

Beetroot tart with glazed shallots, mild goats’ cheese and candied walnuts

This is just an awesome dish, smooth and full of flavours. It dissolves in the mouth and the white wine was just the right counterpoint.

A white wine from Angoves Family Winemakers

Pumpkin and almond ravioli in a sage and butter sauce

I did not feel “meaty” and therefore went for the non conventional pasta (how can you put pumpkin in a pasta?).

This is a wonderful composition of different ingredients with distinct flavours. The sage and butter sauce blows you away. My taste-buds had a wild party. The spiciness of the Shiraz accentuated the experience.

A glass of red wine by Angoves

Capital M has been founded by Michelle Garnaut, the well-known Melbourne-born restaurateur, and is the recipient of an impressive list of awards. I also like the GM, Espen Harbitz, who is always present, greeting the guests and asking for feedback.

If you should visit Beijing in the water dragon year, a meal at Capital M should be part of your itinerary.

Address:
Capital M
3/F, No.2 Qianmen Pedestrian Street
(just south of Tian’anmen Square)
Beijing 100051 China
中国北京市前门步行街2号3层
邮编 100051
Tel.: +86-10-6702-2727
Fax: +86-10-6702-3737
www.m-restaurantgroup.com


Restaurant review: Capital M, Beijing

October 22, 2011

City gate and Tian an men square seen from Capital M, Beijing

When in Beijing I try to visit at least two places, both my favourite destinations: Red Gate Gallery run by my old friend Brian Wallace and Capital M is a wonderful eatery located right next to the South gate of Tian an men square with a splendid terrace with a great view,. The former I visit to immerse my senses in modern Chinese art, the latter to indulge in good food and enjoy fine wines.

Both places you should visit if in Beijing.

Part of the terrace at Capital M

The menu

A picture of parts of the wine list

I was with a dear friend of mine, and we were ready for lunch after a walk around Tian an men square. We made our way to Capital M. One has a great view from the terrace. It was a sunny autumn day, just the right temperature to sit on the terrace and have lunch.

I did not feel “meaty” and ordered some greens as a starter and a seafood pasta as a main. Needless to say, the food was most delicious. Awesome, especially after days of “only” Chinese food (I do not complain, Beijing has wonderful eateries with great Chinese food), I am craving for something else.

Salad and veggies

Seafood pasta

I was delighted to find a ‘2010 Sauvignan Blanc’ by Shaw and Smith from the Adelaide Hills in South Australia.

2010 Sauvignon Blanc by Shaw and Smith

Shaw and Smith are one of the best producers of Sauvignon Blanc in Australia. The wine is bone dry. Aromas of grapefruit and lime came to my nose with some floral notes as well. It is crisp and clean. This medium bodied wine has a great balance, good acidity and a long finish.

And after lunch, a coffee

We had a very enjoyable lunch at Capital M. The service was, as always, perfect. This is value for money and if you happen to be in Beijing just check it out yourself.

Address:
Capital M
3/F, No.2 Qianmen Pedestrian Street
(just south of Tian’anmen Square)
Beijing 100051 China
中国北京市前门步行街2号3层
邮编 100051
Tel (86 -10) 6702-2727
Fax (86-10) 6702-3737


Restaurant Review: Capital M, Beijing, China

June 7, 2011

I am reading “Justice for hedgehogs” by Ronald Dworkin at the moment. The book makes the point that one of our cardinal interests, ambitions and responsibilities is to make our lives good lives.

“We must find the value of living – the meaning of life – in living well”, says Dworking. He also states that dignity and self-respect are “indispensable conditions of living well”.

So what does that mean if you are sitting in Beijing, China at a beautiful Sunday morning with time on your hands? Well get up early and go to the National Museum to see the German sponsored exhibition “The enlightenment”, a unique show of a selection of art pieces from that era of our history which mattered so much for the freedom of the individual and rationality.

After that it’s downhill all the way. More of Dworking’s good life is to come. After fine art, one needs fine food and drink.

I suggest you stroll down to the South end of the Tian-an-men Square and have lunch at Capital M, one of my favourite restaurants in Beijing.

Capital M in Beijing, view from the terrace

One has a wonderful view from the restaurant. It is located at the third floor of a newly reconstructed building, a kind of replica so to speak, of an older house. Capital M has a wonderful terrace with a grand view of the square.

I got there much too early; the kitchen was still closed. The kind waiter offered me a table at the window, and I ordered a glass of house white, a Sauvignon Blanc by the South Australian family winery Angoves. Newspapers were brought to me and I indulged in the pleasure of reading in quiet. I was the only customer at that early hour.

Tasteful crockery for morning tea

I was still full from breakfast and unsure if I should lunch at Capital M. Then I though of Dworkin and my responsibility towards the good life in dignity and decided to move to the table the kind waiter had reserved for me. in the meantime the first guests had arrived, casually dressed most of them. In this relaxing atmosphere, I felt at ease.

I read through the menu and decided on a two course meal. My choice of entrée was white asparagus which is just in season in Beijing. What a good choice that was. The asparagus was firm and succulent, it melted in my mouth.

I also had another glass of the house wine, the SB by the Angove Family winery.

Asparagus with a poached egg on top and olive oil

For my main course, a white snapper on a bed of vegetables, I selected a ‘2008 Dry Riesling’ by Dr. Buerklin-Wolf, in Wachenheim, Palatinate in South-West Germany. Riesling is one of my favourite white. Although just one of their starting wines, this Riesling was exactly what I needed, a beautiful accomplishment with my meal.

2008 Dr. Buerklin-Wolf dry Riesling shows an intense colour

The main course was so jummy, I could not believe it. I took it bite by bite, slowly exposing my taste buds to the food. I wanted it to last as long as possible. The veggie selection interspersed with flower petals and a nut mix, was just amazing, awesome stuff.

The main course

Unfortunately, the battery of my camera did not last and gave up her service right in the middle of my meal so that I cannot show you more pictures from the restaurant, the view and the people.

The service at Capital M is exceptional, hard to find in China this kind of concern for the customer. Prices are also decent. I paid for three glasses of wine and a two course meal 42 EURO, which is not bad.

Apart from the Forbidden City and the Great Wall lunch or dinner at Capital M in Beijing is a must if you visit China.

Address:
Capital M Beijing
3/F, No.2 Qianmen Pedestrian Street
(just south of Tian’anmen Square)
Beijing 100051 China
中国北京市前门步行街2号3层
邮编 100051
Tel: +86-10- 6702-2727
Fax: +86-10- 6702-3737


Schanghai: The new Bund at night

May 28, 2010

The Bund at night from the terrace of “M on the Bund”

Shanghai has seen a tremendous development over the last 10 years. Last year when I visit the “Paris of the East”, as Shanghai used to be called, its famous “Bund” was still closed for renovations. With the World Expo came also the re-opening of this part of the metropolis which presents itself in a new incarnation.

I had dinner with an old friend on the terrace of the South Beauty restaurant 俏江南 overlooking the Huangpu river on the 10th floor of the Super Brand Mall in Pudong. The terrace offers a splendid view at night. South Beauty is a chain restaurant with dependencies in the capital Beijing and other provinces. It is seen as one of best Sichuan food restaurants in Pudong and Shanghai. The food was good, but we ordered too much of it. We were rather late and the service was friendly but quite slow. But I liked the food. In internet reviews South Beauty received varying reviews. Some rank it 57th of the 320 restaurants in Shanghai, other see it as 100. Some reviewers see the quality as 3.5 out of 5, others rank it 8 of 10.

After our meal, we crossed to the other side of town. because it was late, we had to take a taxi but there is a tunnel under the Huangpu river which is spectacular transportation. If in Shanghai you should try it, instead of a taxi. our object was the terrace of another landmark of Shanghai’s nightlife: M on the Bund.

I had visited it’s sister restaurant, Capital M in Beijing a couple of months ago. The terrace is wonderful and the new Bund presents itself as it always did: in great style. The Glamour Bar, one floor below M on the Bund and run by the same owner, is the place to have what we German’s call “Absacker”, a night cap.

Opened in January 1999 M on the Bund is located in the Nissin Shipping building which was built in 1921, the same year the Communist Party of China was founded (also in Shanghai). The Miele Guide ranks the restaurant as one among the top 20 in Asia! That’s quite an achievement.

The picture above gives you and idea of the views. The place to be, I guess.

Address:
South Beauty
10/F Super Brand Mall, 168 Lujiazui Lu,
陆家嘴西路168号正大广场10楼
Pudong, Shanghai
Tel.: 5047 1817

M on the Bund
7/F, No.5 The Bund ( corner of Guangdong Lu )
Shanghai 200002 China
中国上海市外滩广东路20号7楼
邮编 200002
Tel (86 -21) 6350-9988
Fax (86-21) 6322-0099


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

Adresses:
Red Gate Gallery
北京市东城区崇文门东大街9号
Te.: +86-10-65251005
www.redgategallery.com/

Capital M Beijing
3/F, No.2 Qianmen Pedestrian Street
(just south of Tian’anmen Square)
Beijing 100051 China
中国北京市前门步行街2号3层
邮编 100051
Tel +86 -10- 6702-2727
Fax +86-10 – 6702-3737
http://www.m-restaurantgroup.com/capitalm/home.html