Char Dining Room and Lounge

  • Restaurants
  • Western
  • Steakhouses
  • Restaurants
  • Western
  • Western
1 Nan Sanlitun Lu

Sanlitun’s skyline has been forever changed by the arrival of the InterContinental. The technicolour display blazes indifferently into the night’s reverie, a beacon of the continuing gentrification of the area – and the rising price point for a good time in general. Everything about the InterCon seems like it was designed with high-class partying in mind, from the marble decor to the crimson fedoras worn by uniformed staff.

The playfully opulent design of this steakhouse moderne combines elements of commercial pop art and trinkets from a gentleman of leisure’s world travels – the thick buckles and studded suitcases pair nicely with tones of brushed bronze patina and the smell of real leather. It smacks in part of Parkview Green’s high-design boutique property, Hotel Eclat. A waitress approaches, drinks are ordered and the menu is cracked.

You can tell a lot about a restaurant by the first few menu items. At Char you get a 180g Blackmore fillet mignon with half a grilled lobster, foie gras and shaved truffles – all of which are mindbendingly excellent – clocking in at a cool 2,188RMB. That’s right, Char is not for the faint of heart of light of wallet.

We regain our composure over an assortment of freshly shucked oysters (335RMB), briny and delicious in their cool baths of rich ocean liquor; fat Kumamotos and meaty Tia Maraas are a welcome surprise. Next a slightly flat, monotone, lobster bisque (138RMB) cries out for a splash of vermouth or sherry to wake it up, but dies a quiet lonely heat death, without enough sea flavour to stand up to the raw shellfish. A Caesar salad (128RMB) does a better job, with a delicious sous-vide egg supplying richness that the dressing lacks and crispy wisps of fried ham doing the rest.

For any steakhouse the main event is the meat, and Char does flaunt some impressive offerings. The famous Australian-raised wagyu from producer David Blackmore (1,288RMB per 180g) is exquisitely rich, with ripples of flavour-laden beef fat across the palate. We find the Jack’s Creek grain-fed ribeye (438RMB per 250g) to be a more toothsome, if comparably flavourful, alternative. Pair it with a glass of Tempranillo Rioja (218RMB).

Vegetarian options exist but seeking them would raise more questions than it would answer – Char is for carnal indulgences of the highest order. We end the meal with a trio of pineapple ravioli, a tart finish with a zippy lime mousse that helps cut some of the residual fat from the palate. For high-fashion beefy indulgence in the centre of the city, look no further than Char. Just be sure to bring that platinum credit card.

Venue name: Char Dining Room and Lounge
Opening hours: 5.30-10pm daily
English address: Third floor, The InterContinental Hotel, Topwin Mall, 1 Nan Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang district
Chinese address: 朝阳区南三里屯路1号北京三里屯通盈中心洲际酒店三层
  • 4 out of 5 stars