Located within the Sofitel Wanda Beijing (see my review of the room here), is the Heritage, an award wining French restaurant with style and flair to match. The restaurant has a rich tones of purple, cream and gold which reflects the decadence of the venue. It is elegant and classic with an ambiance which proves very welcoming for any wandering diner after a long day in Beijing.
A beautiful bacon and onion style bread is brought out to start and pairs with the first course very nicely. It is crispy and buttery with the salt of the bacon providing a rich minerally overlay for the dish.
Boston Lobster Bisque (Lobster Bisque, Lime Leaves Foam and Crispy Bread)
The creamy thick bisque clothes the beautiful soft succulent pieces of lobster. The spice and citrus of the lime provide a balance to the richness of the lobster and the strength of the bisque. The bisque has a wonderful consistency and reflects the natural juices of the lobster in each spoonful. The crispy bread-like covering soaks up the bisque and leaves a lovely moppy kind of texture on the tongue.
Champagne (Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve)
The champagne unleashes a wonderful aroma of floral, fresh, pear and citrus flavours and I immediately have no regrets pairing this with the first course. On the palate the champagne is full, zesty and fresh with a beautiful array of fruit flavours (pear and ripe peaches) parlay on the tongue with light buttery bread notes and mineral flair. The citrus of the champagne does a wonderful job cutting through the richness of the lobster bisque. A stellar start to the night!
Tiger Prawns, Roasted Bell Pepper Vinaigrette, Fava Beans and Pea Shoots
The juicy tender succulent tiger prawns prove to be a sublime tasting experience, with the deep tang and saltiness of the pepper vinaigrette adding a complexity of flavours onto the palate while the mild fava beans add a nice mild balance touch to complete the ying / yang of taste experiences. The dish was full of interesting flavours and ran the risk of trying to do too much but the tiger prawns prevailed and dominated with their natural excellence.
Domaine J.A. Ferret, Pouilly-Fuisse, (2011) Maconnais (Burgandy), France
I am so blessed to pair this dish with a beautiful chardonnay from Burgundy. The wine is a little beauty which has wonderful notes of stone fruits, nuts and floral blossoms on the nose. On the palate a beautiful fresh pure minerality defines the wine with a gentle note of spice and acid in the finish to balance the rich layers of fruit flavours. It dances in tandem with the prawns and vinaigrette with such harmony.
Rougier Duck Magret: Caramelised Duck Breast, Crispy Duck Liver Pudding, Baby Carrots Glazed with Cumin and Orange Kumquat Sauce and Alsatian Spaetzle
The dish is like a little masterpiece in a museum. Sure, you have to make your way through the introductory hallways, the cafes and souvenir shops… but you really there to view the masterpiece which is the sole attraction. This is the dish I have been waiting for.
The light jus is poured on the dish to complete the experience… so where shall I start. The pure rich crispy skin of the duck which contains its juices and oils pair with the juicy tender meat to provide a sensational array of flavours on the tongue. The sugary kumquat glaze and jus adds a sweet sensation to the dish and reinforces the ducks flavour and stamp of authority. The duck liver pudding on top adds a crunchy texture to contrast with the rest of the dish and is salty and pungent to the extreme while the spaetzle (below), a beautiful doughy dumpling, with some sweet spice seasoning matches the flavour theme of the main dish.
E. Guigal, Côtes du Rhône, (2011), Rhone Valley, France
After consultation with the waiter, I settle on this wine from the Rhone Valley. The wine has an aroma of fresh red fruits and spice notes which provide a taste of things to come. The wine is full-bodied, with a streak of strong rich jamy fruit flavours with mild savoury spice notes which linger and smooth tannins to close off in the finish. It is wine that dances with elegance with the duck as if the two had known each other centuries. A fantastic tasting experience indeed.
Strawberry and Cottage Cheese Tart
I don’t normally embrace desserts but this dish is simple and elegant. A creamy thick rich cheese topping on a crumbly buttery biscuit base with fresh juicy strawberries injecting fruit intensity into the mildness of the cream. I avoid the rhubarb sorbet due to its extreme sweetness…. but the rest of the dessert proves a keeper with a standard cheesecake style blend of flavours and textures to sign-off the evening.
I finish with a light petit four to close off and then call it a night!