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Winter warmers

By Mike Peters | China Daily | Updated: 2015-12-25 09:13
Winter warmers

Capital M, with its commanding third-floor view of the Forbidden City area, has updated its menu, adding winter-season specials to the mix of modern European cuisine.[Photo provided to China Daily]

"I want our guests to feel as if they're at a dinner party - that sense of warmth and happiness, accompanied by great food and drink, and of course, great service," says Matthew Nilon, the genial Queensland native who is general manager of Capital M.

Few restaurants have become iconic in Beijing as quickly as did Capital M after its 2009 opening. Perched on the edge of the 600-year-old Qianmen pedestrian street, its interior is luxurious and contemporary, with a 54-meter-long mural that celebrates the changing seasons, inspired by a 16-century Chinese painting.

The M Group is keen to bring quality cultural events and eclectic entertainment to its eateries. Besides the annual Shanghai International Literary Festival (now in its 12th year) and the 4-year-old Capital Literary Festival in Beijing, the M restaurants also frequently host history talks, chamber-music recitals, visiting DJs, performance art and support events for women's charities.

The restaurants are also keen on dessert. Today there is a pear and chocolate tart topped with crispy walnut praline - some of my favorite flavors dancing together on one plate. There is fresh soft cheese, made by le Fromager de Pekin in the capital, served with local dried fruits and lavosh, one of the Middle Eastern touches that pops up on the eclectic menu. There's a baked mascarpone cheesecake with a berry compote, and baked and stuffed apples with a creamy vanilla custard.

None of those winter-inspired treats, however, will deter us from our chosen sweet finale: the pavlova. This colorful riot of sweet fruits atop a mound of crispy meringue has been a signature of the restaurant group since M on the Bund opened in 2009.

"Some things on the menu will come and go - and come again," says Nilon, the Beijing GM. "But the pavlova will always be with us."

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