At Time Out
we have a secret supper club called Kitchen X. Every few months we pull out our little black book of the biggest names in the city's dining scene and join forces with a team we love to put on a unique, never-to-be-repeated spectacle for Time Out
At previous Kitchen X events we've collaborated with TRB
for an exclusive menu in their event space Copper, partnered with The Georg
for a candlelit evening in an abandoned courtyard, and teamed up with the guys behind Maison Flo
for a night in the penthouse of a half-built skyscraper.
Kitchen X with The Georg.
Kitchen X is about anticipation. Readers book tickets not knowing where they will be going or what they'll be eating and drinking. We ask that you trust Time Out to know the city like no one else and bring you the very best of Beijing.
The morning of the event, guests receive a text message informing them of the first venue for the evening. The final venue is a closely guarded secret until you walk through those doors.
Kitchen X with TRB.
At this Kitchen X, presented by Stella Artois, the 30 guests lucky enough to get tickets before they sold out in under 16 hours were messaged in the morning and instructed to meet at Polyphony
Champagne and canapés
Guests start arriving at Topwin Center's Polyphony, a high-concept comic book and vinyl shop, for champagne and canapés.
The space itself is very cool, with jazz and classical music records on one side and comic books the other.
Drinks are served!
There's a couple of listening booths where you can play the records, as well as a cocktail and coffee bar.
If you like the look of one of the comics framed on the wall, push it and it swings open to reveal a stack of them. Very nifty.
Guests are given numbered balls to denote their seat for the evening. The music being played is super familiar, but we can't quite put our fingers on it...
After some mingling, drinking and quaffing, it's time to move to the location for tonight's dinner.
On the move
And we're off! Where to? We have no idea.
We're pretty sure 'dog with leopard-print bikini' wasn't in the script for the evening, but this is Beijing after all: you never know what you're going to encounter on the street.
Turns out we're at Chao
, the very chic new hotel in Sanlitun. Okay, now we're super
More champagne is served in one of the hotel's stylish private lounges, before Chao GM William Latour explains the evening's concept to us. Turns out, even by Kitchen X standards, this one's going to be a doozy.
The evening is going to be more than just a dinner; it'll be a sensory experience encompassing visuals, music and food crafted to inflame the senses. Everything's going to take place in Chao's luxe screening room, where a three-act film – created by the Chao team – made up of ten scenes will be paired with ten courses. Each course, made up of a few small dishes and one or two alcohol pairings, will match the feeling of the visuals and music. Scenes will include candy, acid, spice, sea – you get the idea.
The whole evening is called 'A Taste Odyssey', a nod to 2001: A Space Odyssey, which celebrated its 29th anniversary this last week. Ah – that's what the music was in Polyphony! So obvious now.
With the scene set, guests file into the deluxe movie theatre.
Each guest is fitted with a tray on their seat. This is going to be a TV dinner like no other!
And a light so we can read the menu.
Lights, camera, action!
Dinner is ser– wait, what's this!?
So as to not interrupt the visuals, waiters deliver each course in black spandex bodysuits, setting down each tray in unison. There's a kind of art even to the food delivery.
What transpired over the next 90 minutes was difficult to put into words – and that's kind of how we make a living. All Kitchen X events are about doing something creative, but this incarnation has taken it to the next level by introducing a concept – pairing food with visuals and audio – that's never been done in the city before.
There was also an interpretive dance performance from Beijing Dance Theatre during the 'Voluptuous' scene. Quite something.
Wow. That was a lot to take in. A feast for the senses indeed. Tonight's Kitchen X took avant-garde and made it edible. We're gonna need more booze to take it all in and think about what it meant. Thankfully, it's back up the lounge for more champagne. Hurrah!