Da Dong Does BMK
Most recently ranked number 4 in the Miele Guide’s Top 20 Asian restaurants, Da dong is progressively revising the menu to offer so much more than skillfully roasted Peking duck. The restaurant’s name in Beijing is synonymous with the city’s best duck, but dig deeper into that book of a menu (prologue and epilogue all worth reading) and you’ll discover some hidden treasures.
Like all things in life, he’s getting with the times, golden embossed paper bags to brand his restaurant and delightfully simple plating to match his so-called “molecular dishes” which are really, more conceptual than science, if anything.
Working with culinary creative chef Brian Mckenna, the menu offers a range of beautifully plated dishes that are all little journeys in itself— taking the diner from land to sea and back to land again. I lost count of how many dishes we had between us, but this tomato dish with honeyed pecans was a fantastic way to start. You begin by lifting the cherry tomato whose base is sliced off and then you stab them gently onto the plate to pick up the pecans… then you gobble it all down together, where squishy texture meets crunchy nuts, with sweet and tart mixing like a laundry load.
Then came a shrimp spring roll dish that I have little recollection of… and then the langoustine pushed through a press, given a look and feel of noodles, served with a delicious sauce that I forgot about.
Inspired by chef Brian’s dish, fruits are stuck in a tube and served with a traditional dish of “口水鸡“, a typical cold dish that translates into “saliva chicken” (god knows why) served cold with chili oil and usually a dash of MSG. I wasn’t too thrilled by this, not even by the gimmicky tube of fruits.
What followed was interestingly done calamari, perfectly cooked liver—bordering on raw, juicy rich and almost bloody, sweet king scallops, and button mushrooms stir fried with goose liver, served with balls of honeydew.
And then my camera ran out of battery as I spent all my time obsessively adjusting the ISO, trying to salvage bad shots. I think it’s time to invest in a better camera, and perhaps a photography class.
I love going to dinner with chefs, because they always order the right things and get special dishes prepared upon suggestion. Better yet, they willingly entertain my incessant questions on everything food related.
I recommend going to the Nanxincang one for ambience and a quiet stroll in one of China’s oldest existing granary.
1-2/F , Nanxincang Int’l Building, A22, Dongsi Shitiao,
southwest of Dongsi Shitiao Bridge
+86 10 5169-0328