Sunday, May 25, 2008

South Beauty 俏江南 (Beijing, CHINA) ★★★☆☆

South Beauty first burst into the dining scene of China in year 2000 with its innovative cooking and modern decor. It's now one of the best dining venue in China with more than 20+ restaurants in Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities of China.

I first came across their restaurant at the Hang Kei Building in Beijing (2001). It started small but slowly evolved into a reliable brand name with its modern Chinese cuisine. Fast forward to 2008, South Beauty has now become an empire and it's about time for me to get re-acquainted with their menu.

The best thing about South Beauty is that, even if you don't like to eat spicy, there are still plenty of choices available. My personal favorite is their homemade tofu. 

The "tofu making" show started with a chef coming to our table and started pouring 5-6 different bowls of liquid into a glass container. After 5-10 minutes, after the mixture finished cooling off, tofu was ready to be served. 

5 different types of sauce are available to complement this tofu dish, including green pea, soy, peanut, chili and fermented soybean curd.

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: ¥¥¥
Address: L220, 2/F, West wing, China World Trade Center, 1 Jianguomen Wai Dajie, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China 北京市朝阳区建外大街1号国际贸易中心西配楼2层
Closest Metro Station: Guomao
Tel: +86 010-6505-0809


Friday, May 23, 2008

Le Pré Lenôtre (Beijing, CHINA) ★★☆☆☆

First of all, my apologies for the low quality of the pictures here. I forgot to bring along my camera and had to settle with my iPhoto instead.

Right before my Beijing trip, I have done a lot of online research on fine dining restaurants and came up with Le Pré Lenôtre due to their fame and history back home in Paris. Le Pré Lenôtre, located in the relatively new Hotel Sofitel Wanda Beijing, is touted as a restaurant serving high-end modern French cuisine.

Between 2001 and 2004, I used to be a frequent flyer to Beijing, mostly on business and I must admit that they have come a long way when it comes to fine dining but still they are at least a decade behind other major cities.  

An amuse bouche of razor clams got us started on this night.

Then a pan seared foie gras that did enough to hold its own.

After that, things started to fall apart with a trio of meat dishes including duck breast, lamb loin and veal tenderloin. There was nothing wrong with the presentation but the taste as well as the quality of the ingredients really left something to be desired.

When a name as big as Le Pré Lenôtre puts themselves on the line to open a fine dining restaurant in the capital city of a country, you expect them to deliver. In this case, they did not.

Food Rating: 2/10
Price: ¥¥¥
Address: 6/F Sofitel Hotel, Sofitel Wanda Plaza, 93 Jianguo Lu, Beijing, China
Closest Metro Station: