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China Dinner

Beijing, July 25, 2015

Bailliage of Beijing: Sophisticated Japanese cuisine at the Shangri-la Hotel

What comes to mind when one thinks of Japanese cuisine are words like sophisticated, refined, delicate, balanced, seasonal, Kaiseki, edible art and of course sake.

At our dinner in the Nishimura Restaurant at the Shangri-la Hotel in Beijing we had a little bit of all the above. We started off with some unusual yet delicious cocktails like a 'Sake-tini' – a Martini-style drink based on sake, Rock’n Plum – plum wine topped up with fizz, and a non-alcoholic juice drink made from mikan, a Japanese citrus fruit. A selection of intriguing canapés made the reception even more pleasurable.

The dinner started with sashimi: Katsuo bonito tataki with yuzu-ponzu vinegar and Isaki grunt fish with plum sauce. It was accompanied by a delicate Shotoku Koto-Ryojo Junmai Ginjo sake also known as ‘lady sake’ because of its light and delicate character.

The seasonal aspect of our dinner came into play when one talks about “summer fish”, which we had for sushi. Shima-Aji, a striped jack fish was chosen as it is best enjoyed in summer. It was flown in fresh from Japan. Botan-Ebi (a pony prawn) and toro (melt in the mouth fatty tuna belly) were equally simply delicious. This course was served with Kotsuzumi Hanafubuki, also a Junmai Ginjo sake but stronger and more robust.

After that we had a refreshing cold shooter with sea urchin and Japanese water lily sprouts in dashi soup. Served on a bed of ice the shooter went well with a Niwa no Uguisu dry sake.

Next came a traditional tempura soba.

For nimono, the simmered dish, we had rockfish with eggplant and baby carrot. It was served with “KID” Junmai Ginjo Draft sake.

Wagyu beef teriyaki with onigiri rice in the shape of a ball tied with nori seaweed was the main course. The choice “Born 38”, a Junmai Daiginjo (the highest grade in the sake family) was inspired.

The dessert was western style with Japanese ingredients. A poached white summer peach with Japanese pearls, Suntory Dry Gin espuma and mango sherbet made for the perfect ending to an outstanding menu.

This was our first Japanese dinner. Christopher Chia, General Manager of the Shangri-la Hotel, and his team including Japanese Chef Yoshinori Miitzutani, Hotel Manager Eric Mommejac, Executive Chef Claudio Rossi and Restaurant Manager Jacky Bai, outdid themselves for our event. During the evening all the sakes were explained by a sake sommelier.

Appropriate praise for a highly successful evening was expressed to all concerned.

Bernie Sperk, Chargé de Presse Provincial