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

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German wines: delight in red and white

July 4, 2009

Traveling in Germany I had the opportunity to taste some marvelous wines with some of my friends. Two of these I would like to briefly present to you, one red, one white wine, one from the Pfalz and one from my native land, the Mosel or to be precise the Saar.

Over a dinner at “Schneeweiss”, a fashionable restaurant in the eastern part of Berlin offering “cuisine from the Alp mountain lands”, we had a bottle of ‘2008 Schneider Ursprung’, a cuveé made of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Portugieser by Markus Schneider.

Markus Schneider is one of the young but accomplished vintners who earned the highest praise from wine critics and experts from the wine and hospitality industry. This cuveé is made from grapes grown on a rather warm location at the “Feuerberg”, a terroir known for its capacity of heat retention by the local gravel stones which allows the grapes to fully ripen.

The wine is of a deep purple colour. It displays flavours of a lot of fruit, plum, some mint, chocolate and shows some peppery notes. The wine is very round and extremely smooth, for me just a bit too perfect in the mouth, I must say. It went extremely well with the food that I had ordered (Italian pasta filled with mushrooms). The wine is perfect and was a good choice. It retails for about 8 to 11 EURO but is worth the money.

Schneider Ursprung

A very simple label on the bottle: “Schneider Ursprung”

Schneider ursprung2

What a beautiful deep purple colour

Later the same evening, we tasted a dessert wine from my native lands, the Mosel, actually from the Saar river. It was a ‘1992 Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Spaetlese’ from “Staatliche Weinbaudomaene Trier”.

OckBockRiesAus

What a delight this wine was, a drop from heaven. It had aged well, was fresh and round. Although low in alcohol (only 8%), the acids were vibrant so that the wine was extremely well balanced, honey sweet, just wonderful. Only my friend Gerhard can wait for a wine like this to ripen in the cellar and patiently await the right moment to open a treasure like this.

I know the terroir quite well, Ockfener Bockstein, just a couple of meters away from the boundaries of the hunting grounds of my friend Heinz in Schoden, Saar which borders on Ockfen. The vineyards here are extremely steep and all work in manual. The 1992 vintage of this Riesling Auslese is just wonderful. I have no words to describe this nectar and do justice to the wine.

Address:
Schneeweiss
Kern Ranogajec GbR
Simplonstraße 16
10245 Berlin
Proprietors: Denis Ranogajec and Ralf Kern
Tel.: +49-30/29 04 97 04
Fax: +49-30/29 04 97 05

Weingut Markus Schneider
Am Hohen Weg 1
67158 Ellerstadt
(near Wachenheim, Pfalz)
Tel.: +49 (0)62…
Fax.: +49 (0)6237 – 977230

Administration:
Georg-Fitz-Straße 12
67158 Ellerstadt
info@black-print.net
http://www.black-print.net

Staatliche Weinbaudomänen Trier
Deworastr. 3
54290 Trier, Germany
+49 651 97598-0
www.staats
weingueter.rlp.de