Fine Dining #1: Cafe Panorama

A and I have done quite a few hospitality and restaurant projects and the feeling while dining at the places we designed is priceless. The finished product might not be exactly as per specs especially here in China but… hey, it ain’t the end of the world. Enough with the laments of a designer. What I want to say is that I’ve always wanted to share photos of the food being served there. The food photos never landed here as they never came out good. Few scenarios – I was too hungry my hands were shaking it’s impossible to take decent photos. Or simply too shy to take photos with people around, most especially if dining with Clients. But this is just the right time to reconsider! Ces of spiCes has come up with a very interesting blog project that is, like she said, close to our hearts. She calls it Fine Dining.

Share a photo of a dining area or a particular table you like. Yours or somebody else’s. Say a showroom you’ve visited, or maybe you’ve been invited to dinner by a friend you just can’t help but adore her fabulous dining room. Or a dining table that is such a wonderful piece of art. I don’t know what the exact guidelines are. I guess even the food photos are not exactly included but… I’m in.

To your left is Cafe Panorama, the western restaurant of Grand Mercure Hotel located at the heart of Hebei’s Capital that also offers international dishes. Still with minimal accessories, the photo was taken during daytime a couple of months after its soft opening last year. A bright place, simple lines yet elegant. Contemporary dining chairs with velvet upholstery and Regency-style English dining tables.

Lemme share few food photos though. Sorry, they aren’t decent enough. I was still using my old cam (5-year old) and my tummy was already aching after spending hours taking project photos; up and down and around the 26-storey hotel. We had lunch buffet and here are my platters of appetizer and vegetable salad.

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On Rosa Francese, Steamed Fish & Hip Chinese Restaurants

Beijing boasts of old courtyards turned hip and yuppifed restaurants mostly frequented by expats rather than locals. And last Tuesday, we were invited to one on the outskirts of the city near the airport. My, never thought one would find a place like that in the middle of fruit orchards. It’s kinda cool though, not what our Chinese Clients would call ‘elegant’ (when they say elegant they actually mean “expensive-looking” or “filthy rich”) but simply cool or “China modern” it reminds me of Cool Hotel books. But the food, oh the food, is such a delight that doesn’t disappoint.

The main restaurant wasn’t open until late afternoon so we killed time drinking tea at the adjacent pastry and cafe bar. It is actually the restaurant’s pastry branch. Our interpreter ordered pink rosebud tea and A chose the cake to go with it – chocolate truffles, mocha mousse and tiramisu. The place has ‘no picture-taking allowed’ signs but I said to myself… who cares? Hehehehe not for foreigners, I guess.

Aaah… that’s the wonderful Rosa Francese tea though I don’t think the buds are French. I guess they’re the famous Chinese imperial rosebuds from Anhui Province believed to be beneficial to heart and skin.

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