Date of review: November 19, 2012 | Reviewed by:
Beijing Kitchen is certainly an impressive looker of a restaurant – while the combination of semi-open kitchens and the vast space can sometimes look a bit mass dining, here the décor is interesting enough to make it stand out. As the name suggests, the style is is northern Chinese, and thus there is a focus on dark woods to mimic old-fashioned tea houses, while a lengthy dragon lantern stretches across the ceiling of the room. The restaurant is light-filled and high-ceilinged, the latter helps to diffuse the chatter from a very packed dining room.
The menu is of a reasonable length, taking in many northern Chinese classics and steering mostly clear of any pan-regional dishes. The specialty of the house, if it isn’t obvious from the moment you pass by the impressive jujube wood-burning oven, is Peking duck, which usually requires advance reservation. However this was a disappointment as there was barely any discernable smokiness from the duck, which was also on the bland side. On the plus, the pancakes with were delicate and elastic, and the slices that incorporated both fatty skin and meat were more enjoyable. Also bland was a normally powerful-tasting dish of stir-fried shredded potatoes with dried chilli and coriander, which required more heat and more salt. The best dish was a humble tureen of Sichuan-style sliced fish with preserved vegetables, actually a very soupy dish brimming with fresh-tasting, perfectly poached fish with crisp, sour preserved vegetables and a milky chilli-spiked broth. We lapped up every last drop. Desserts-wise, diners can choose from traditional or contemporary fusion of Chinese and western treats – baked alaska with osmanthus and macadamia ice cream, say, or simple double-boiled papaya with almonds. Our sea coconut, black glutinous rice and coconut milk soup was beautifully presented in a clay pot, but erred on the sweet side.
Being a Grand Hyatt operation, the wine list here is naturally well-constructed, benefiting from a great number of wines by the glass from a wide variety of regions. There is also an impressive number of Chinese wines, ranging from an affordable MOP 280 to a startling MOP 55,980. A detailed Chinese tea list is also available, with brief descriptions of each style.
There doesn’t seem to be dedicated servers for each table or section, so we had to flag down whoever looked available. We were not pleased by their insistence to respond to Cantonese and English questions or requests with Mandarin, but service was civil otherwise. When a mistake was made with our order of Peking duck, it was rectified immediately and with apologies.
A meal here is certainly reasonably priced, with mains around MOP 80-180. A full lunch or dinner for two persons will not break the bank, which is fortunate as the inconsistency of the kitchen does detract from the experience.