“Do you like snails?” the young chef asks and you bluff. “Yes, I must … I’ve had them once, I think … Well, I don’t remember not liking them.” And if they were anything like these, then you surely are a lover of that terrestrial gastropod. The grilled Burgundy snails (RMB 98) arrive chaperoned by a cloud of potato foam, delicate cubes of the tuber, lightly sautéed leaves of spinach and crisps of ham.

The kitchen at S.T.A.Y. largely serves simple classics and from them you learn why the canon is as it is. A brilliantly vermillion wagyu beef carpaccio (RMB 298) hides beneath shavings of black truffle, dainty rings of chive and translucent curls of tomme cheese. For value (this is a hotel – add 15 percent to all prices), there is a four-course “gourmet” degustation menu for RMB 528 as well as a six-course “epicurean” menu for RMB 1,188. A three-course lunch set (RMB 288) offers an excellent and accessible entry point to the restaurant which includes options such as roasted duck breast, served in three slices varnished with a slick of apicius sauce.

But sweets are the crowning jewel here. Their Pastry Library is a misnomer as you won’t want to return anything you take. In keeping with the savory, the desserts are of the cannon – chocolate cheesecake, a caramel bar, a poached pear. But these are elevated. Exceptional cheesecake comes encased in a chocolate shell and oozing a core of dulce de leche; the decadent caramel bar has a tropical twist of banana in a passion fruit glaze; the gorgeous poached pear has been colored a sheer red by mulled wine and flecked with gold leaf.

A volume of dessert can be ordered for RMB 128 each or served with S.T.A.Y. signature presentation of a ribbon of dessert four to a half-meter (RMB 438) or a full meter (RMB 898). Go for the full meter.

Tue-Fri 11.30am-2pm, 5.30-10pm, Sat-Sun 11.30am-3pm, 5.30-10pm. Valley Wing 1/F, Shangri-La Hotel, 29 Zizhuyuan Lu, Haidian District (6841 2211 ext 6727)
1.3km northwest of Huanyuanqiao station (Line 6)

Photos: Mitchell Masilun

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