Beijing's New Hot Spots
The couple behind Imperial Tours on their favorite places in Beijing.
Green T. House and Living
JinR is the beautiful multitasking artist, tea connoisseur, musician, chef and designer behind two of Beijing’s most stylish restaurants, the Green T. House (6 Gongtixilu.; 86-10/6552-8310) and Green T. House Living (No. 318 Cuige Zhuang Xiang Hege Zhuang Cun; 86-10/6434-2519), as well as the Bath House Residence (86-10/6434-2519), a transcendent spa on the city’s edge. She also just launched Green-T-House.com, a new online boutique that showcases furniture and homewares of her own design. “I am inspired by the beauty and elegance of my traditional culture,” JinR says, “but also wish to take this design vernacular forward and create a certain relevance to the modern Chinese.” A clear Plexiglas chair ($3,755) in the form of a traditional Ming Dynasty seat is a perfect example.
Daniel Boulud came to Beijing early, opening Maison Boulud in the former U.S. embassy adjacent to Tiananmen Square in 2008, a time when most Western chefs had made headway only in Shanghai. “Years ago, only French chefs from France were invited to open restaurants in Asia,” says the French-born, New York–based Boulud, who is both. “Today the world looks to New York restaurateurs.” Three years since opening, Maison Boulud still has the best French cuisine in town and has used its primacy to procure the choicest ingredients from local purveyors: Though the beef is Wagyu and the lamb is from New Zealand, chef Brian Reimer sources much from the area’s farmers, like eggplant and zucchini, which make their way on to the menu as an accompaniment to za’atar-dusted veal tenderloin wrapped in pancetta. At 23 Qian Men Dongdajie; 86-10/6559-9200; maisonboulud.com.
Midnight in Peking
For the release of Midnight in Peking, the new book from Paul French based on the true story of the murder of Pamela Werner, the young daughter of a former British consul in 1930s Beijing, Penguin China has put together a wonderful walking tour through many of the locations, from the hutong where Werner once lived to the legation quarter, which now houses Maison Boulud, to the ice-skating rink where Werner was last seen. For tour information, contact Abi Howell at Penguin China; 86-10/6409-6982; midnightinpeking.com.
China World Summit Wing
One of the city’s chicest new hangouts is Atmosphere Bar, on the 80th floor at the China World Summit Wing hotel, in Beijing’s tallest building. Often booked solid for a month (hotel guests receive preference), Atmosphere has Beijing’s best cocktails, while the crowd—beautiful, sophisticated and well-off—is among the city’s most stylish. Of the hotel’s 278 rooms and suites, the newest of the Shangri-La gang, try one of the Grand Premiere rooms, the only places where one can soak in a marble bathtub while gazing out over the Forbidden City. At 1 Jianguomenwai Ave.; 86-10/6505-2299.
While most wealthy Chinese are drawn to the new Lanvin and Prada shops at the upscale Sanlitun Village North, true cognoscenti head to the mall’s basement, where half a dozen shops by Chinese luxury designers have sprung up. The best is BNC, opened by media guru Hong Huang, who has a keen eye for up-and-coming local designers like Uma Wang and Pari Chen, whose knit dresses (from $470) and elegantly draped eveningwear (from $320) are sold at this store. At 09A Sanlitun Village N.; 86-10/6416-9045.
Temple Restaurant Beijing
Housed in a 600-year-old former Qing Dynasty temple compound (forgotten, buried and only rediscovered in 2007), Temple has been restored and is now one of Beijing’s most exclusive restaurants. Opened in mid-September, it’s also available for private parties, which include French-inspired tasting dinners and the warm care of Ignace Lecleir, the former general manager of Maison Boulud. At 23 Songzhusi, Shatan Beijie; 86-10/8400-2232; temple-restaurant.com.