Beijing's best desserts

The city's most bonkers, over-the-top and just plain delicious desserts

The eternal question: to dessert or not to dessert? Satisfy your sweet tooth by tucking into one of these tasty treats.


Feast, East Beijing hotel

The Pavolva is proof that humble ingredients can, in the right hands, yield impressive results. Chef Rob Cunningham’s ode to his home country of Australia’s national dessert (if that’s even a thing) is a marvellous strata of meringue – both crunchy and light yet also chewy and lush – rich whipped cream, tangy raspberry sorbet and a cacophony of fresh tropical fruits and berries, all drowned in a thick passion fruit sauce.
68RMB plus 10 percent service and 6 percent VAT

Modern Banoffee

Opera Bombana

Opera Bombana is blessed among restaurants for many things, but perhaps above all for its pastry kitchen. Pastry chef Enze Jiang has crafted a dessert menu and programme of petit four for the ages. The Modern Banoffee is a star of the new menu, with a ribbon of Opera’s custom-blended Valrhona Dulcey white chocolate encasing banana crème alongside a quenelle of banana and orange sorbet. Restrained in proportions and elegant in it simplicity, the sweetness of the chocolate and supple texture of the fruit crème make for an exciting yet familiar indulgence.
118RMB plus 10 percent service charge

Hot & Cold


The Hot & Cold is Migas’ take on a classic Spanish dessert. A thick slice of torrija, a sort of dense brioche, is soaked in tonka bean sauce and coated in ribbons of burnt caramel. Topped with tart wedges of sugared kumquat and a quenelle of mandarin orange rind and white chocolate ice cream, the tart fruit and bitter rind cuts through the mouth-coating richness of the cake as well as a glass of cava (but you should still have a few of those too, of course).


Taco Bar

While Taco Bar is well loved for tequila-fuelled taco fests, there’s one item on the menu we never fail to order. The canelitas are a two-pronged attack on your sweet tooth. Golden-brown, cinnamondusted churros, piping hot from the fryer, are covered in cinnamon sugar icing and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dipping. It ain’t fancy, but boy is it good – a lowbrow carnival treat.

Cherry Thunder Bomb


Leading the way in desserts that seem to skip the ‘why’ and go right for the ‘why not’, Remicone, a South Korean ice cream parlour in Sanlitun, presents the Cherry Thunderstorm Explosion. It’s a hot mess of salted caramel and vanilla soft serve, served with a pipette of mango puree and a crown of cherry Pop Rocks and hot-pink cherry candy floss. Hey, why the hell not?

Pistachio Gelato

Pizza View

When we want proper ice cream, we look to the Italians. For us, their straightforward approach – keep it simple, use whole ingredients and don’t skimp on the booze – can’t be beat. For gelato, few come close to the maestros at Pizza View – a spin-off from chef Umberto Bombana’s Beijing restaurant, which is conveniently located downstairs in the same mall, Parkview Green. In this ode to the ugly green nut, the richness is hammered home with a dusting of crushed pistachio nuts, adding just the right amount of chewy texture to the ice cream.

Pollution Mio

Four Seasons Beijing

For a dish named after Beijing’s biggest Debbie Downer, chef Nello Turco’s creation is remarkably restrained in its attempt to hasten the demise of our health. ‘Chocolate’ cookies made from reduced coconut and crystal sheets of dried pineapple jut violently from a quenelle of pineapple sorbet and dulce de leche crumble. A cloud of rosewood smoke lingers over the hectic pile of shards and spikes, but somehow its complex, dynamic fl avours all make sense together – much like our fair city itself.
138RMB plus 10 percent service and 6 percent VAT