The phrase delectable Danish was never uttered a mere decade ago but now, Denmark has become a powerhouse in modern cooking with restaurants like Noma at the forefront of a modern take on Nordic food. Emphasizing a more seasonal approach and utilizing traditional techniques like pickling alongside sous vide cooking, it makes for a more low key, but no less delicious approach than molecular gastronomy or French haute cuisine.
The very first of its kind in Beijing (and the world), The Georg by Georg Jensen is the stunning new design and lifestyle space with a restaurant that’s going to knock your socks off. But before I get ahead of myself, I feel a strong need to first explain the concept behind The Georg and for those who aren’t Danish, a little lesson in the history and cultural significance of the Georg Jensen brand legacy.
Anyone who has stepped through the doors into the awe-inspiring atrium will agree that this is a strikingly elegant space. By incorporating both local and international elements in its different spaces – The Lounge, The Gallery, The Bar and The Restaurant – each have its own identity and sense of space and style. The various outlets of this venue will each serve its own purpose and I suspect everyone and their mom will be wanting to book upcoming birthday parties, holiday parties, company dinner, special occasions…the list of reasons to celebrate in this drop-dead gorgeous space are endless.
“Launched by Danish silverware and lifestyle brand Georg Jensen, the house is a multi-outlet design and lifestyle space that reflects Scandinavian values- to showcase artistic design, craftsmanship and creative progression by combining art, design and food.”
Georg Jensen is an iconic national treasure that every Danish household aspires to attain at some point in their lifetime. Often given as a wedding or housewarming gift, this brand represents everything truly Danish – quality, craftsmanship, minimalism, simplicity, and understated elegance.
By appointment to her Majesty the Queen of Denmark, Georg Jensen has represented the essence of Scandinavian design for more than a century. Founded in 1904 in Copenhagen, master silversmith Georg Jensen’s exceptional attention to detail and craftsmanship in all jewellery, cutlery and hollowware designs made him one of the most influential silversmiths of the modern age. The brand is unique for its history of collaborations with leading artists and influential designers of the 20th century including Henning Koppel, Johan Rohde, Aldo Bakker and Arne Jacobsen and, today they have over 100 stores in 12 countries. And for the first time ever, they have entered the Asian market with a timeless space in Beijing designed to do the brand justice by embodying true Scandinavian aesthetics and values.
“Designed to be appreciated daily and cherished forever”
Designed by one of the most reputed design firms in Europe, Space Copenhagen, The Georg is located at the south end of Houhai just west of Nanluoguxiang 南锣鼓巷 subway station. Walk out of exit E, go west towards the first traffic light and turn north until you find the branded entrance of the siheyuan Chinese courtyard complex.
A venue you’ll have to experience to fully comprehend, I can best describe this timeless space as grand yet discreet and homely yet magical.
An emphasis on design and beauty with functionality as a motive, the entire venue pairs dark wood furniture on top of a grey cement foundation for a matte finish that sets a mood of friendly intimacy. While some might expect The Georg to be decked out in silver everything, quite the opposite is true. There’s hardly any silver in sight at first glance, but as guests settle in to their seats, they’ll begin to notice glints of silver sparkling in the corner of their eye. Strategic positioning of the few iconic Georg Jensen candlesticks and pitchers throughout the space feel natural and make the pieces all the more stunning and precious.
An expansive, airy atrium provides an amazing setting with a high glass rooftop (which opens!). Flooded with sunlight during the day, the space transforms at night. Stepping in, the hundreds of soft glowing candles are mesmerizing, like walking into a fairy tale come true.
While the two-story atrium gives the aura of a castle, the lounge on the left of the atrium is cozy and intimate with plush leather couches and chairs surrounded by fireplaces. Opposite the lounge is The Bar that will soon be known as a destination for the city’s finest cocktails.
Upstairs is a show-stopping collection of Georg Jensen silverware that is worth seeing if you arrive early in the evening for an aperitif.
The Gallery’s Display of Iconic Georg Jensen Silverware
The restaurant itself is nestled away at the back of the building and is intimate without being overbearing. The tables are bathed in light from above and sit, illuminated like islands in a dark sea, yet you never feel like you lack privacy. Also lacking is the sense of over-the-top formality that sometimes characterizes high-end dining. At our table, we felt well looked after, but at ease.
The seductive charm of the space is only rivalled by the exquisite cuisine by the very talented Chef Talib Hudda.
A cuisine characterized as “focused food”, Chef Talib believes everything has a purpose and he’s a little playful to boot. Even the menu descriptions of each dish are limited to three primary ingredients, giving guests just enough information while still keeping you in suspense.
Starter Snack Spread: Homemade Sourdough Bread + Danish Butter Whipped with Yogurt
Airy Flaxseed Crackers
Homemade Yogurt with Leek and Leek Ash
Spinach, Pear, Egg
A dish that wouldn’t look out of place in 798, the presentation was a work of art. Though we all thought that the truffles would be the overwhelming flavor, turns out that the slow-cooked egg yolk stole the spotlight. Slow, slow cooked, it was incredibly luscious and creamy. I really need to learn to sous vide at home if this is what can be achieved!
Sauteed Mushroom, Cauliflower, Brioche
Gorgeous cauliflower crudités spring up from a creamy cauliflower puree that blends beautifully with the fragrant Shiitake mushrooms in thyme oil. The aerated brioche was delightfully light and fluffy and was perfect to sweep up every last bit of that cauliflower puree.
Grilled Parsnip, Squid, Black Garlic
There is a missing chapter of the Bible somewhere. “The angel Gabriel descended from the heavens in the form of a complex glass of burgundy and he spake: “Verily the black garlic doth pair most wonderfully in thine next course, partake ye heartily thereof.” At least that’s how the revelation happened in my head.
The black garlic puree set the base for the Chinese 5-spiced baby squid and Canadian mussels, curly strips of parsnip root, celery and a few drops of the leek oil and mussel sauce.
Duck Breast, Beets, Potato Cream
At first glance, this dish could be mistaken for a dessert but that ruby red sauce is black currant with juicy purple beetroot on one side and tender slices of duck around creamed potato. The finishing touch was a rich black seaweed and duck sauce.
Grilled Angus Tenderloin, Smoked Sweet Potato, Fennel
This dish is amazing for the amount of flavor crammed into it. Tender beef, bathed in a fragrant jus with a chicken and star anise glaze, accompanied by a fennel and potato confit and some seriously smoky sweet potato puree.
Showcasing the spectacular wines paired with our dinner
Rice Pudding, Caramel Sauce, Whipped Cream
Like goldilock’s porridge, this pudding was just right. Not too big or small, not too sweet or bland. A small but not insignificant gem. The traditional Danish risalamande, the mix of rice, almonds, vanilla and cream is laced with white wine and topped with a rich caramel sauce, made by a traditional family recipe.
Caramelized Oats, Apple, Shiso
If only store bought granola were like this. Usually it is so subpar compared to a bacon-based breakfast it isn’t a fair comparison, with some liquid nitrogen wizardry however, I did briefly reconsider my food allegiance, only to be jerked back to the sad reality that I can’t replicate this in my own home.
Brandy Snap, Apple Tacos
An all too brief affair, gone in a mouthful. You will yearn for more afterwards.
Popcorn with Valrhona Chocolate
So moreish. This will ruin going to the cinema for you. Salted popcorn just will not cut it after this.
With each course priced at RMB 130, guests have the freedom of choice and quantity. If you’re not quite sure where to begin, I highly recommend the 4-6 course Chef’s tasting menu for RMB 450 and an additional RMB 450 for the optional wine pairing option. If you know your wines, you’ll agree that General Manager Stefano Censi chose an exceptional selection of fine wines (he’s a big fan of old world Burgundy wines) that adds another dimension of delight to your Georg dining experience.
Still in soft opening and extremely competitively priced, word of The Georg is sure to spread like wildfire. Stay tuned for news of their special Christmas and New Year Eve’s menus and some exciting events in 2016! I can already foresee weekend brunches and gorgeous garden parties in their beautiful atrium.
The Georg Contact Details:
- Address: No. 1 Jade River, 45 Dongbuyaqiao Hutong, Di’anmen East Street, Dongcheng District
- Chinese Address: 东城区地安门东大街东不压桥胡同45号玉河一号院
- Tel: +86 10 8408 5300
- Email: email@example.com
- Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday), Lounge Hours from 10:30AM-midnight and Restaurant Hours from 6PM-10:30PM
- Website: http://www.thegeorg.com/
Kristen Lum has an accomplished background in PR, communications and events in China. Born and raised in California, Kristen has been based in Beijing since 2006 and is founder of the lifestyle blog called LumDimSum, covering mostly restaurant news and reviews alongside upcoming events around town that relate to Beijing’s muti-faceted, quickly-developing creative industries like art, music, film, health and fitness, fashion, nightlife, charity events, and travel tips.