Jacob and I were invited to dinner at Cepe at the Ritz-Carlton a few days before our trip to Seoul, and it was nice to experience the hotel on the eve of that famous sporting event in August. It seemed that the Financial Street area had yet to receive its influx of tourists, so it was still pretty calm for the time being.
As regular readers may know, I have been pretty obsessed with seafood lately. I’m still doting on my photos of mussels and scallops from the Westin brunch, and obsessively searching for a recipe for seafood stew like the ones I had in Korea. This is because I have been deprived of good seafood since moving to Beijing. Chefs in Guangdong province seem to be blessed by some divine oceanic god; in the north, not so much. So every once in a while, it’s nice to visit a restaurant that is able to source good marine life and cook it well.
This big beautiful scallop came on a bed of white asparagus and prosciutto. It was roasted until just done, with maximum tenderness. Rarely during a formal multi-course meal would I want another dish of the same instead of anticipating the next (mild ADD, perhaps?) but in this case I would have jumped at seconds.
Some dishes were not so spot-on. The risotto with porcini mushrooms was a bit too thickened, and the parmesan tuile rather chewy on an otherwise nice white king mushroom carpaccio. The roasted rack of lamb, however, wins points for the sea salt crust and a few hearty halves of rosemary potatoes.
Two more highlights of the night: excellent, coordinated service and amazing white wine. I can’t decide which of the former is harder to find in Beijing. What I do know is that I’ll be checking the good wine shops in the city (exactly two of them) for a Tormaresca Chardonnay from Puglia.*
*Update: Found it! Hooray for searchable online wine inventories.