Tuesday, December 28, 2010

dinner out somewhere in Beijing

(Another China post...) Our car picked us up from The Legendale and took us to this restaurant, about 40 minutes out. Decor was Asian industrial chic with lots monochromatic greys, stone, glass and clean lines. The ceiling was dramatic and artsy with upside down floating yellow silk parasols.
Cold, dark, masculine and theatrical. I can't remember the name of this restaurant, so if anyone recognizes this place, please tell! Throughout the space were wall murals of dragons and other mythological creatures made of solid stone and brick, in all shades of grey. We walked past numerous enormous concrete graffiti  pieces before we finally reached our private dining room.
We entered through glass doors held by concrete and grey stone walls half covered in heavy dark burgundy velvet curtains. Dramatic spot lights, white linens, white china, black-and-white chargers, crystal glassware... Servers in uniforms matching the walls and curtains filled the lazy susan with bright appetizers and poured juice, tea and wine. Very goth, felt like we were vampires feasting on blood red wine, creepy soup, black chopsticks, etc. ;)
Sea cucumber in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) broth was served first. Sea cucumber is an important medicinal food in Chinese cuisine, an expensive delicacy reserved for special occasions. When sea cucumber is served whole like this, eating it can be a bit tricky. Where to begin eating this spiky cucumber shape that is slippery and chewy? Well, just spoon it up and give it a firm bite from one end :) 
This wormy twiggy-looking item is TCM, beneficial to your blood, vitals, kidneys, etc. Tastes like a tree branch. This TCM twig and the sea cucumber are flavorless, and usually served in soups or dishes where they soak up the flavors of the surrounding ingredients.
Dishes and dishes of bright colorful food kept coming. I finally understood the point of the colorless room, physically and metaphorically - a blank canvas for the incredible vibrant dishes! 
The food was incredible! Food overload. Awesome flavors.
Everything was family style except for the Sea Cucumber Soup and Dessert Fruit Plate.
There were so many spotlessly clean crystal clear glass walls, I actually walked right into a few ;-/
Sorry I can't provide the name and location of this place. It's somewhere in Beijing and the food was amazing and atmosphere was unusually eery! 

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