The iceman cometh: Beijing's best cold dishes

The mercury may be dropping, but these raw dishes are intense year-round

Marinated Scampi Tartare, Opera Bombana

For raw pleasure, sensory delight and carnal indulgence, few places deliver better than Opera Bombana. In the hands of chef de cuisine Marino D’Antonio, lightly marinated giant live scampi are creamy, sweet and bursting with sea spray flavour. Ingots of orange Chantilly cream and ripe tomato emulsion alternate bright and sweet, savoury and rich, while the occasional burst of delicate beluga caviar cements this dish among the great raw seafood preparations. Oh, and top that fat spoonful of beluga with gold leaf, because it’s good to be the king. 238RMB plus 10 percent service. Available by special request.

Bistrot Steak Tartare, Bistrot B

bistrot b

The years working under some of the greatest French chefs of our time have clearly left their mark on Jarrod Verbiak. As chef de cuisine at Bistrot B he aims his well-trained eye squarely at pure French gastronomic perfection. A humble steak tartare, in Verbiak’s hands, is a modern classic. Hand-chopped tenderloin and sirloin, because tenderloin alone would be too lean, is mixed – again by hand – with shallots, cornichons and plenty of good Dijon mustard before being topped with an organic egg yolk and salty anchovy fillets. The texture of the beef is preserved and the savoury accoutrements elevate the flavour. With a glass of pinot noir from Burgundy, what could be finer? 138RMB plus 10 percent plus 6 percent VAT.

Horsemeat Carpaccio with Olive Tapenade, Vin Vie


Japanese-French inspired bistro-cum-izakaya-cum-wine bar Vin Vie’s horsemeat carpaccio with olive tapenade is good enough to win over the most avid of Black Beauty fans. Exceedingly fresh, lean horse tenderloin is thinly sliced and topped with minced olives, olive oil, plenty of sliced green onions and a squeeze of fresh lemon for an added citrusy zip that helps bring out the naturally grassy undertones of the meat. Smooth ribbons of meat wrapped around a filling of juicy olive tapenade make for a stunning combination of texture and flavour. 55RMB.

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