Delectable French comfort food in Beijing

There has been an awakening over the past couple of years in the Beijing dining scene, and Rosewood Beijing’s Bistrot B represents a welcome development in the city. It’s unpretentious, high-quality and locally sourced food that will be gratifying to any who find themselves overwhelmed by the fast pace of change in China. The focus is on French cuisine, but this is far from dogmatic and the menu accounts for all tastes.

The Chef

Head chef Jarrod Verbiak earned his stripes working under master chef Daniel Boulud at Daniel in New York. Rosewood Beijing as a whole made a commitment to sourcing locally wherever possible and Verbiak carries a similar vision. He is clearly passionate about supporting local farms and artisans with produce coming from farms in Shunyi out by the airport and cheeses made by Le Fromager de Pekin in the Hui Long Guan District. Seasonality is another priority, and Verbiak changes the menu regularly to reflect this.

The Food

With an expansive open kitchen, a large display of fresh seafood and the smell of crisp baked bread, your senses will be alert from the get-go. A team of chefs buzzes busily around preparing and plating food.

Start with an aperitif or a glass of wine — the cocktails are well made and the wine collection offers a great selection of old and new world bottles as well as a few from China. Our pick would be the Peking Paloma (tequila, grapefruit juice and Sichuan peppercorn-infused syrup), for a spicy Chinese twist on a classic drink. If you’re looking for a more intimate setting, there is a wine degustation room on the second floor that is ideal for private dining or tastings. Rosewood has managed to make the whole hotel feel like a private home and the degustation room is no exception. Beautifully furnished with mahogany fittings, it doesn’t feel ostentatious, just quietly elegant.

Verbiak’s abilities shine through with the classic dishes executed in a manner befitting their status. You can’t go wrong with the carefully prepared charcuterie or fresh pasta made in house. The semolina pappardelle with lamb ragout was delightful, the ribbons al dente and the meat tender and full of flavor. For something heavier, the wagyu burger with foie gras and black truffle aioli is decadent and delicious and will make you want to abandon all decorum.

You won’t be let down by the desserts, either, many of which change daily. The seasonal fruit tarts du jour are sensational — we enjoyed a mango option during our visit. But if you are after something a little more sinful, try the eye-catching baked Alaska. When you have had your fill, there is a welcoming fireplace to retire to in colder months to sip your post-dinner drinks. Bistrot B is spacious, with high ceilings and warm natural tones, but still feels intimate.

The Details

Bistrot B offers lunch and dinner daily. The three-course lunch menu is exceptionally good value at RMB170 (US$27), including tea and coffee. Our pick would be to add RMB40 (US$6.30) and get the roast of the day. When we went, there was a choice between harissa roasted lamb leg and crispy roasted pork.

Weekend brunch gives you the choice to recover or dive back into hedonistic abandon. Smoked salmon Benedict might be the your go-to dish, but you’ll be tempted to try the Belgian waffle with Grand Marnier sabayon (a creamy custard). There is also an option for free-flow “hangover” drinks — the classics, like Bloody Marys and Bellinis, are available alongside a Sanlitun sangria. The sangria, made of red wine with brandy and seasonal fruits, will help you extend your Saturday night long into your Sunday afternoon.

No matter which meal you plan to have at the Beijing restaurant, bookings are advised. The excellent French cuisine, verdant terrace for warmer months and great views over downtown make it an in-demand spot.

DETAILS - Insider Information About This Restaurant

DETAILS - Insider Information About This Restaurant