The diners seated in the ¡°secret¡± restaurant: Copper. Time Out Beijing's Kitchen X event brought 50 diners to two undisclosed locations to taste a one off menu. Photo taken October 17th, 2015. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.COM/William Wang]
By William Wang
Beijing's high end food scene is hardly a well-kept secret. Unless, that is, you're talking about Time Out Beijing's Kitchen X event, which was held this past Saturday evening. The event was bravely billed as ¡°the ultimate dining experience.¡± While that may be debatable, the event was definitely unique one. Diners signed up for the 888 rmb dinners, not knowing where they would go, what they would eat, or who they would eat with.
The day of the event, diners received text messages revealing the first evening's destination: Shichahai Club. Adjacent to bustling Houhai Lake, the classy courtyard space feels remarkably removed. Diners trickled in and started sipping the free-flow booze until the first ¡°surprise¡± came along: a traditional Chinese shadow play.
Shortly afterwards, the crowd of 50 climbed into a fleet of shiny Tesla to be driven to a dusty hutong. From there, the formally dressed diners hopped into the waiting rickshaws which zipped off to the next secret location which was hidden within the maze of hutongs.
The destination was Copper, a gorgeous restaurant/event space which once used to be a copper factory. Copper is run by the same crew that operates the award-winning Temple Restaurant Beijing and TRB Bites.
Belgian chef Niels Desnouck was busy preparing the one-night only menu, and he came out to briefly introduce each of the night's five dishes. The menu boasted dishes like trompette de la mort consomme, burned trout, and deer served with pomelo skin. Each dish was paired off with a specially selected wine.
Diners were seated in groups of ten, where they chatted with the partner they'd arrived with, and whomever happened to be around. It was a great opportunity to make connections or for moments of awkwardness. Luckily the servers kept pouring social lubricants into diners' wine glasses.
Some diners raved about the meal, the accompanying wines, the artistic presentation... But at least one diner wasn't quite so enamored, calling the dishes ¡°hit and miss.¡±
Time Out deputy Cat Nelson mentioned that the evening was just the beginning of a series of secret supper clubs. ¡°We're hoping to showcase the best of Beijing for venues and restaurants,¡± she smiled. For those in attendance, it was clear that Copper is making its mark on the scene.
Ignace Lecleir is the proprietor of Copper and other Beijing establishments such as TRB. He enjoyed the spontaneity of the event. "It was a great opportunity for us to have our chefs have carte blanche and to have a lot of fun with not knowing what do in advance," he enthused.
The spontaneity was reflected in the playfulness and daring of the menu. One presumes, however, that chef Desnouck will keep these culinary discoveries in his back pocket.
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