Dinner at the Forbidden City

  • Interiors by Graft. Photograph courtesy of Brian McKenna @ The Courtyard.

    Interiors by Graft. Photograph courtesy of Brian McKenna @ The Courtyard.

  • The Courtyard's private dining room. Photograph courtesy of Brian McKenna @ The Courtyard.

    The Courtyard's private dining room. Photograph courtesy of Brian McKenna @ The Courtyard.

  • The main dining room. Photograph courtesy of Brian McKenna @ The Courtyard.

    The main dining room. Photograph courtesy of Brian McKenna @ The Courtyard.

  • Garden salad. Photograph courtesy of Brian McKenna @ The Courtyard.

    Garden salad. Photograph courtesy of Brian McKenna @ The Courtyard.

  • McKenna's terra-cotta warrior. Photograph courtesy of Brian McKenna @ The Courtyard.

    McKenna's terra-cotta warrior. Photograph courtesy of Brian McKenna @ The Courtyard.

  • Amuse bouche with bread. Photograph courtesy of Brian McKenna @ The Courtyard.

    Amuse bouche with bread. Photograph courtesy of Brian McKenna @ The Courtyard.

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A Qing dynasty courtyard on the moat of Beijing’s Forbidden City makes an imperial setting for any restaurant, but when the proprietor in question is British chef Brian McKenna it is likely an experience worthy of the location. Taking the reins from gallery and restaurant The Courtyard, which bowed out of Beijing’s dining scene after 15 years, the recently opened Brian McKenna @ The Courtyard bridges Asian and European cuisine with a la carte, as well as five- and 12-course degustation menus. Expect playful dishes like oak tree ice cream and similarly entertaining flourishes—McKenna’s chocolate geishas and terra-cotta warriors, for example. The restaurant’s wine list is nothing short of superb, with a strong showing of premier cru vintages.  The interiors by Graft—the studio responsible for the design of W New York—blend brass with occasional olive drab and cerulean accents in the main dining room, while the lounge space is rendered particularly chromatic. Consider a cocktail in the basement bar while taking in views of the moat or sit out on the outdoor terrace to enjoy a custom blend from the resident tea sommelier.

95 Donghuamen Dajie, (East Gate) Dongcheng District; 86-10/6526-8883; five course, paired menu from US$170

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