Capital M is the sister restaurant of M on the Bund in Shanghai. In line with the group’s policy of choosing special locations, Capital M could hardly have a better one: Virtually on Tiananmen square, the restaurant offers some of the finest views in the city.
That really is part of the appeal here. Especially if you come in summer, you can eat on the terrace, overlooking Qianmen, Mao’s Mausoleum and the square that has played such an important role in China’s history. In winter on the other hand, the warm dining room offers an equally stylish and enjoyable place to escape from the biting cold for a few hours.
The service at Capital M is one of the strongest points here. After all, the manager Espen Harbitz is probably the most dynamic and charming maitre in town, alongside Ignace Lecleir at the Temple.
Food-wise, Capital M has more or less the same concept as M on the Bund. The idea is to bring simple food from all over the world to China. That ends up in a menu that has French, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Scandinavian influences to name but a few. To go with it, an equally eclectic wine list has a solid selection of wines from all over the world.
The strongest dishes at Capital M are delicious. The perfect example would be a mushroom risotto. This is cooked beautifully, creamy, not too dry and with that bite to the rice that makes a good risotto what it is. The various wild mushrooms that come with it add an autumnal feeling to the dish, which makes you want to eat more and more.
Arguably the most famous dish here is the Pavlova. It has to be said that the Pavlova at Capital M is no less good than that in Shanghai. Perhaps the meringue is a touch dryer than that in Shanghai, but the balance of flavours and textures is still nearly perfect.
At times however, the kitchen here produces dishes that are less exciting. A suckling pig for instance comes with a skin that is too hard and thus doesn’t have the delicate crunch that makes this crackling so addictive. The dish also is a bit heavy on the sweetness, which overpowers the other elements.
A meal at Capital M is different from any other restaurant in Beijing. Maybe it is the location, décor and service that make it what it is? The food is mostly very simple and good. Given that it doesn’t try to do anything too fancy or pretentious, it is certainly one of the unique restaurants in town.