Bee brunch at The Intercontinental Hotel Sanlitun

Nestled in the heart of Beijing’s entertainment district – Sanlitun, on the third floor of The Intercontinental hotel is a popular steakhouse – Char bar & grill. The interior is warm, cozy, and spacious yet modern, with panoramic views of the Sanlitun area. The steakhouse not only offers classic and premium cuts but also a brunch menu (also known as bee brunch) and a four-course set lunch menu. Most hotels offer brunch on the weekends, but brunch is offered on weekdays and weekends at the Intercontinental hotel.

Brunch
RMB 268 net for 3 courses
RMB 298 net for 4 courses

Char 4 course lunch
RMB 388

I enjoyed it so much I dined at the restaurant for two consecutive days.

On the first day, I met up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. It was my friend that recommended this restaurant. My second visit was unplanned. I left my cardigan in the restaurant the day before, and I thought, since I have to go pick it up, why not bring a friend along for lunch.

We were given a little amuse-bouche to start – tuna salad on crackers, sundried tomato bread, and a complimentary cocktail (alcoholic or non-alcoholic).

Bee brunch 1

Starter 
Pancake with Nutella, Orea, Caramelized Nuts, Honeycomb

Appetizer
Mozzarella, Pachino tomatoes, Rocket leaves, Lemon olive

Main course
Butter Chicken with Basmati rice

Lunch day 1

Starter 
The iconic char salad
rocket leaves, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado, shaved pecorino, honey-infused balsamic dressing, grilled serrano ham

From the pot
Porcini mushrooms & Truffle soup
Herb Potatoes, Asparagus, Truffle dust

Mains
Australian grass-fed beef tenderloin M2+
Grilled cape grim 200 days grass-fed tenderloin, truffle croquet, green pepper glaze

Dessert
Very Berry
Strawberries, blueberries, sponge, mascarpone cream, crumbles

*With any order of steaks, customers are given a selection of 6 steak knives accompanied by a tray of 8 salt options such as fleur de sal, Himalayan salt, and black salt.

Lunch day 2

White tomato consommé
Sweet peas, roman tomatoes, croutons, organic seedlings

Silver cod
Grilled cod fillet, lime, caviar, seaweed dust, truffle croquet

Duck and honey
Crispy duck breast, honeycomb, asparagus, truffle, applewood smoke, cassis glace

Tiramisu
Mascarpone cream, espresso, dry sherry, sponge

Bee Brunch 2

Cold cuts
Lyonner, Salami, Ham, Cheese, Pickles

Steak & Eggs
Argentinean beef tenderloin, sunny side up, waffle fries, hollandaise

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All dishes were wonderfully presented and delicious. However, the Tiramisu was the highlight. It was rich, creamy, airy with a subtle sweetness and the right amount of bitterness from the coffee and cocoa powder -absolutely divine!

All in all, I must say I am impressed with the overall dining experience at Char bar & grill. The staff spoke English, and the service was attentive, with good quality food for a great price.

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Char Bar & Grill

Website: https://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/us/en/beijing/peghe/hoteldetail

Telephone: +86 010-85160062

Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. , 5: 30 p.m. – 10:00 p. m.

Address: No. 1 South Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing

Lebanese Hummus

I have been following a Lebanese food blogger, Anthony Rahayel, on youtube, which showcases authentic and traditional Lebanese food.

One restaurant that has been featured multiple times on Anthony’s channel is Ghosn Breakfast. The hummus looked mouthwatering!

After watching Elie Ghosn, owner of Ghosn Breakfast make hummus by hand,  I thought I would give this traditional method a try. There was no recipe given so I had to make a rough estimation of the amount of each ingredient needed.

These are the ingredients I used:

1 1/2 cup can chickpeas, cooked for twenty minutes to soften

1 garlic clove

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp of salt

a pinch of sumac

2 1/2 tbsp of olive oil

In the video above, Elie shows how he makes it step by step, and I followed accordingly.

The hummus turned out a little dry compared to Elie’s but nonetheless delicious! I really enjoyed the making process and I will continue to use this method to make my hummus in the future.

 

Yun Summer Lounge

This beautiful chic oriental-inspired lounge, located on the 15th floor of the Peninsula hotel, offers classic and craft cocktails with sweeping views of Wangfujing. Guest can also enjoy an up-close view of the traditional pagoda roof design of the original building, which was constructed in 1987.

My friend and I visited the lounge on a weekday, so there were very few people. I love the quiet ambiance and upbeat lounge music.

I love the spacious layout and the simple yet sophisticated décor with color schemes that match the pagoda roof.

 

Drinks and food we ordered: Frozen Strawberry Margarita, Virgin Mojito, Passion Cloud (Fresh Passion Fruit, Jasmine Tea, Jasmine Syrup), and Tortilla Chips (Avocado, Coriander, Lime, Chili).

My favorite mocktail is the Virgin Mojito (I don’t take alcohol). In my opinion, Peninsula’s Virgin Mojito is one of the best in Beijing. The sweetness and the lime are well-balanced with just the right amount of ice.

My friend enjoyed her frozen Margarita, it was like a sweet berry slushy. The Passion Cloud was sweet and refreshing with a lovely jasmine aftertaste. The tortilla chips with the avocado dip were a good accompaniment to the drinks.

This is an ideal place for sundowner drinks and socializing.

 

Yun Summer Lounge

Website: https://www.peninsula.com/en/beijing/hotel-fine-dining/yun-summer-lounge

Opening hours:

Sunday to Thursday from 5:30pm to midnight

Friday and Saturday from 5:30pm to 1:00am

Telephone:  +86 10 8516 2888 Ext 6752

The Baker’s Table

This German-owned bakery is the place to go for good German bread and pastries in Seoul. They also have a brunch menu, a variety of sandwiches, and soups. It is located in a quiet and beautiful neighborhood, a short walk to the Bukchon Hanok Village and Samcheong Park.

We were greeted by the smell of fresh bread when I entered the bakery. There was a mouthwatering display of bread by the counter. The staff was friendly and we joked with the German bakers.

 

The Baker’s Table (Samcheong-dong)

Website: https://thebakerstable.co.kr/

Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 21:00 p.m.

Telephone: 02-725-0777

Address:  126 Samchong-dong, Jongro-gu, Seoul, Korea

The Peninsula Hotel

 

I treated my parents to a one-night stay at The Peninsula for their 37th anniversary. This is my first time staying at a Peninsula hotel.

The Peninsula Hotel Beijing is an all-suite hotel located in Beijing’s historic Wangfujing area. This luxurious hotel has two restaurants and a rooftop lounge. Jing restaurant and bar is a Michelin starred French restaurant, and Huang Ting offers Cantonese cuisine. The Yun summer lounge is located on the 15th floor, with views of the historic area.

I was slightly disoriented when I entered the hotel; the lobby resembled a mall because you’ll first notice the high-end boutiques. The reception desk is small and tucked in a corner; however, we were greeted by a friendly receptionist.

One highlight of the Peninsula is the “Peninsula time,” which allows guests to check-in as early as 6:00 a.m. and check out as late as 10:00 p.m.

The hotel has its own gallery showcasing a curated collection of specially commissioned paintings, sculptures, and photography. In addition, contemporary paintings and photography are also displayed throughout the hotel.

The gym is well equipped, and the pool is spectacular. It was clean, well-lit, with instrumental music playing in the background and comfortable deck chairs.

I corresponded with the hotel’s guest relations manager Katherine for my parent’s anniversary room arrangement. She was attentive when inquiring about my parents’ preferences. The flowers and cake prepared were based on my parents’ liking, and they even made a short video that played their favorite song. There was also a handwritten card. It was a lovely surprise for my parents.

I booked the deluxe suite with twin beds. The rooms are luxurious and spacious with a separate bedroom and living room and tastefully decorated with warm neutral and black color schemes and beautiful contemporary Chinese paintings. The big marble bathroom has a tub, an inset 19-inch TV, and a separate shower. In addition, the minibar was complimentary.

A feature in the room that stood out is the tablet technology. One can control lighting, room temperature, multimedia, TV, and order room service with a touch of a button. There is also a docking station that allows guests to connect their own media to the TV.

The only downside was the size of the twin beds. I thought they were a bit small.

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In-room dining

Oven Roasted Half Spring Chicken (RMB 160), Herb Roasted Potatoes (RMB 50), and Laksa Noodles (RMB 160)

The laksa noodles came in a rich, creamy, spicy coconut milk broth served with yellow noodles and rice vermicelli and a generous serving of prawns and clams. The flavors were spot on!

The roasted chicken and potatoes were well seasoned and cooked perfectly.

Breakfast at The Lobby

Breakfast is served in The Lobby. I was excited at the availability of gluten-free bread, which elevated my breakfast dining experience (I found out a few months ago that I am gluten intolerant). The buffet had a small spread. There was an assortment of bread, cheeses, cold cuts, fruits, cereals, congee, sausages, and bacon. There is also a made-to-order a la carte menu of hot dishes such as beef noodle soup, pancakes, eggs benedict, omelets, etc.

The poached egg with smashed avocado on gluten-free toast was done well. The beef noodle soup was packed with umami, the noodles were cooked perfectly, and the beef was tender.

 

Hotel staff from all departments were friendly and polite. Everyone greets you with a smile. And not to mention the impeccable service.  The guest relations manager Katherine and her assistant Ludi made an effort to make our stay comfortable and memorable. The Peninsula exceeded my expectations. I can’t wait to visit the other locations.

 

The Peninsula Hotel

Website: https://www.peninsula.com/en/beijing/5-star-luxury-hotel-wangfujing

Telephone: +86 10 85162888

Address: 8 goldfish lane, Wangfujing, Beijing, 100006

Mo bar

Mo bar is perched on the fifth floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. This stylish contemporary bar offers inventive cocktails and a spacious outdoor terrace with views of the Forbidden City.

The rich wood paneling and warm lighting decorated with leather seats make the perfect setting to enjoy their cocktails. There is even a flavor map that outlines each cocktail’s flavor profile.

Certain seating areas on the terrace require a minimum food consumption of RMB 2000 ($308).  It gets busy on the weekends, so either go early or make a reservation.

 

It was a last-minute decision to go to the bar. We were lucky to get a seat on the terrace. The view was nice, but we could only see the rooftops of the historical buildings.

Service was slow, drinks came out slow, and the waiters’ attitude was not up to par for a high-class bar at a five-star hotel. Instead, they were casual, inattentive.

Original sin (RMB 128)

Peach, apricot, toasted oats, Michter bourbon, milk, lemon

Sweet and tangy with a hint of bitterness

Mogroni (RMB 98)

Seedlip spice 94, Seedlip grove 42, Campari syrup, Mancino vermouth Rosso

Beautiful presentation – bold and bitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mo Bar

Website: https://www.mandarinoriental.com/beijing/wangfujing/fine-dining/bars/mo-bar

Telephone: +86 (10) 8509 8850

Opening hours: 4:00 p.m. – midnight (Mon, Tues, Sun)
4:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. (Wed, Sat )

Address:  No. 269 Wangfujing Street, Beijing, China, 100006

 

Ralph’s coffee

The latest addition to Beijing’s coffee scene is Ralph’s coffee by fashion mogul Ralph Lauren. Located in the heart of Taikoo Li Sanlitun shopping village inside the Ralph Lauren retail store, this café serves coffees, teas, hot chocolate, and desserts.  The establishment is relatively small, with six tables inside and four tables outside.

The chic retro green and white color schemed interior with marbled countertops and jazz music playing in the background reminisce of a cafe in New York. I love the relaxing vibe and smartly dressed baristas and waiters.

Coffee beans are available for purchase along with merchandise such as mugs, tote bags, and t-shirts.

The dessert menu is small, but the cakes and cookies come in a generous size. Your cake options are carrot cake, chocolate cake, brownies, new york cheesecake, and honey cranberry loaf cake. For cookies, you have chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter, jelly cookies, red velvet sandwich cookies, and oatmeal raisin cookies.

I ordered a chocolate cake (RMB 65) and an 85% dark chocolate drink (RMB 48), and my friend got a carrot cake (RMB58) and an Uji matcha latte (RMB 42).

The hot chocolate wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be. I like mine thick and creamy, and this was the opposite. However, the chocolate cake is the chocolate cake I have been waiting for; it is decadent, moist with the right balance of sweetness. In my opinion, the best chocolate cake in town. This is now my go-to place if I have a hankering for chocolate cake.

The carrot cake had a good balance of sweetness and spice with a velvety cream cheese frosting. The Uji matcha latte was bold and creamy. My friend is a matcha fan, and she absolutely loved it.

I will definitely be making another visit to try their coffee and cookies.

 

Ralph’s cafe

Websitehttps://www.facebook.com/RalphsCoffeeSanlitun/

Telephone: +86 10-64155600

Opening hours: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. daily

Address: Unit S6-10a on First Floor, Taikoo Li Sanlitun South, No.19 Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District 100027 Beijing

Four Seasons Hotel

The five-day labor day holiday was just around the corner, and I thought, what better way to spend it than a staycation at the Four Seasons Hotel.

The Four Seasons Hotel is located in the embassy district, with restaurants and a shopping mall within walking distance.

As one of the more expensive hotels in Beijing, I had high expectations for it.

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When I entered the lobby, the first thing I noticed was the size; it was smaller than most hotels. A beautiful display of various flower arrangements adorns the entrance. The check-in procedure was quick and smooth. The receptionist was friendly and spoke proficient English. I was upgraded to a premier room which is located on the 21st floor.

All rooms overlook a 20 story inner atrium with a wall decorated with 400 stainless-steel butterflies designed by Australian artist Jayne Dyer.

The hotel boasts two 1 Michelin star restaurants; Cai Xi Yuan, an upscale Cantonese restaurant, and Mio, a contemporary Italian restaurant.

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The room is spacious with standard five-star hotel amenities such as a Nespresso machine and a minibar. The bed was firm but comfortable; the armchair and ottoman next to it was the perfect place to wind down and watch TV. But, disappointingly, the TV was somewhat small with limited channels.

The cleanliness of the room could be improved; there was dust on the countertops and a handprint on the window. Most hotels I have been to equip the rooms with a Bose Bluetooth speaker; the room had a Panasonic iPod dock with poor sound quality.

The tub is one of the highlights for me. It does not only have a great view, It is spacious and comfortable, allowing you to have a nice deep soak. A bath pillow is provided too. The toiletries are by Atelier Cologne. Unfortunately, due to covid, the hotel does not provide toothbrushes and shavers in the room but are available at the guest’s request.

There is a turndown service and a variety of pillow options to choose from based on your preference. You can also have your newspaper of choice delivered to you at a specified time in the morning.

I did not want to leave the room, so I ordered room service for the whole duration of my stay. For dinner, I ordered a nasi goreng (fried rice) with chicken satay (RMB 178 / $27) accompanied by a mango sago pudding (RMB 78/ $12). For breakfast, I got the french toast (RMB 118 / $12) with a cappuccino (RMB 68/ $10).

The food did not justify the price. It was good but average. I could get better food from the restaurants across the street.

Overall, I am not impressed; it was not a memorable stay for me. However, there were aspects that I liked, such as the tub, the views, and the friendly staff.

 

Four Season Hotel 

Website: https://www.fourseasons.com/beijing/

Telephone: 86-10-5695-8888

Address: 48 Liang Ma Qiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100125

Noryangjin Fish Market

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Noryangjin Fish Market is one of Korea’s largest seafood markets. If you are a seafood lover, this is the place to be. There is an old and new building. The new building is relatively clean and organized. The floors tend to be quite wet, so I recommend wearing closed-toe shoes. There is also a live fish auction at 3:00 a.m every day.

A delicacy at the market other than sashimi is san-nakji – chopped up live octopus. If you are an adventurous eater, do give it a go.

Many vendors have a restaurant or are connected with restaurants situated on the second floor. So if you want your seafood to be prepared in the restaurant, just talk to the vendor you’re buying from, and they will arrange for someone to escort you to the restaurant.

Tip: Bargain, bargain, bargain! Most vendors speak little to no English, but they are quite resourceful with the calculator and hand gestures. There are a few Chinese vendors; if you speak Mandarin, you can look out for them.

I bought a king crab, sole, and mussels which cost me 200,000 won (around 184 USD). There were five of us, so I got a big king crab which cost over 100,000 won. We decided to have our seafood cooked at a restaurant.

 

The mussels were cooked in a mild broth, while the fish was accompanied by a sweet-spicy sauce. I loved the sauce; it wasn’t too spicy with a hint of garlic, not overpowering the fish’s natural flavors.

Most shellfish are either steamed or grilled. Our king crab was steamed. It was my first time having king crab, and the meat was delicious! It was naturally sweet, not requiring any dipping sauce.

The restaurant bill came to around 48,000 won.

In the city where I’m currently residing, we don’t get a lot of fresh seafood, so this was a real treat!

 

Noryangjin Fish Market

Website: https://www.susansijang.co.kr/nsis/miw/en/intro

Opening hours: Daily 1:30 a.m – 22:00 p.m.

Address: 13-6, Noryangjin 1-Dong, Dongzak-gu, Seoul