If a restaurant can be judged by the quality of its consommé, Domus surely ranks among the best in Beijing. But then, to borrow a phrase from a Marks & Spencer’s advert, this is no ordinary consommé; this is a consommé dressed up in its best fine dining clothes. As the dish is served, each diner is presented with a mysterious chest containing a sycee (a gold or silver ingot used as currency in China before the 20th century) of truffle jelly, which they are invited to place in their bowl before a 24-hour veal consommé is poured over the top, releasing a heady burst of truffle fragrance. Some may scoff at the theatrics, but the flavors are more than up to the task.
This melding of Chinese elements and traditional Western fine dining is present throughout the serene courtyard space. Modern glass chandeliers hang comfortably next to genuine antique Ming lanterns, a nod to the restaurant’s location in close proximity to the Forbidden City. The spacious first floor is lit by the glassed in courtyard, but the basement dining room is an altogether more intimate affair, a hangover from Domus’ previous incarnation as a private club. The food, from that outstanding consommé to inventive dishes like herb-marinated salmon served in a cloche filled with rosewood-scented smoke, is a perfect fit for the formal space, coming out of an open kitchen staffed by a young team many of whom were poached from the ruins of Maison Boulud.
After taking a break for Chinese New Year, manager Frankie Zou (formerly of TRB) says they will be making some changes to the restaurant design, for example adding booths downstairs for a cozier feel. With this in mind, I expect we’ll be hearing a lot more about Domus in 2015.
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