He may be old hat to purveyors of the New York and London design circuit, but a Philippe Starck-designed eatery and lounge is still a noble destination within Beijing social circles. The designer pulls-out all the stops in one of his largest restaurant spaces to date, located within a voluminous 60,000-square-foot bar and dining complex owned by restaurateur Zhang Lan. One of Beijing's most fashionable and successful businesswomen, Lan gives Starck free reign in decorating the main dining room in a dark and mysterious mix of Louis XIV meets minimalist decadence. Far more bourgeoisie than one would expect in the world's last successful Communist country, the lounge area is even more over-the-top with its canopy lounge chairs, chaises, winged statues and ceiling-mounted frescoes.
If the glutinous décor hasn’t satiated your appetite, a Szechwan feast awaits like a modern interpretation of Asia de Cuba. Maybe we’ll call it Asia de Beijing, with its family-style tables elbow-to-elbow with guests in Marc Jacobs and Valentino couture. The menu pairs traditional Chinese specialties like spare ribs, fried noodles and seafood platters with Western-influenced lamb and steak dishes. A series of private dining rooms and VIP lounge allows true political diehards to eat in a more tranquil setting free of social fawning and gossip columnists. Better for late night drinking than serious city dining, guests should come to nibble and choose to feast elsewhere.
Starck-designed dining room created by one of Beijing’s most powerful female restaurateurs.