RED BOWL restaurant elevates Chinese hot pot to a stylish new level. For the first time, Beijingers’ favorite comfort food is being served in chic and sleek surroundings that mix raw with refined — exposed brick walls, recycled timber and stylish street art blending effortlessly with speakeasy-lighting and splashes ofbright colors. The menu matches the eclectic “comfort meets contemporary” vibe, combining the best of authentic hot pot dining with innovative twists on classic favorites.
Rosewood Beijing April 2015
RED BOWL’s buzzy atmosphere is a hot pot celebration – a salute to the Chinese love of sharing great food with any number of old or new friends. Drop-ins can start with custom-brewed ale, creative cocktails, sake or wine at the bar, before rubbing elbows with fellow hot pot aficionados at a hot pot counter with individual burners. Four or more can dine at hot pot tables or larger groups can take over private rooms “Ma” and “Re” with multiple-pot communal tables and their own cooks preparing imaginative set menus.
Throughout, the sophisticated décor blends rustic with chic. The raw building materials — much reclaimed from demolished houses and construction sites – are accented with moody lighting, red lacquer tableware, brass hot pots and bold contemporary art.
Decisions, decisions…the feasting begins with selecting one of six flavoured broths — Yuanyang, Spicy Sichuan, Seafood Congee, Tomato and Potato, Beijing Traditional and Wild Mushroom – followed by a choice of noodles – Hand-Cut, Hand-Cut with Spinach, Sichuan Sweet Potato, Glass and Udon – along with dumpling choices from Pork and Cabbage, Prawn and Sweetcorn, Beef and Vegetable.
Now the real fun starts, as diners select from an extensive menu of ingredients to cook in their pots. Local and imported jet-fresh seafood ranges from WholeAustralian Lobster, Whole Canadian Geoduck Clams, and Dalian Abalone. Beef connoisseurs are spoilt for choice from Australian Beef Short Rib and Japanese Kobe Beef Sirloin to Hand-Cut Beef Shank. Exotic meat options include Inner Mongolian Sheep Rib, and Hand-cut Lamb Leg, and an extensive list of fresh vegetables includes Enoki and Matsutake mushrooms, Organic Sweet Corn, Spinach and Lotus Root.
Specially crafted set menus for larger groups include themed Chuan, Beijing, Yue and Vegetable Garden. Seasonal appetizers may include Chilled Black Fungus, Smoked Tofu, Mixed Sashimi or Chilled Cucumber with garlic and chilli oil. Hot pot combinations vary according to the themes, with signature broths and premium ingredients from South African Lobster and spotted garoupa to Shandong Beef Rolls. The Vegetarian Garden menu uses a wild mushroom stock and features delicious non-meat ingredients, including fresh bean curd, abalone mushrooms, edamame and udon noodles.
Seasonal ale, specially created for RED BOWL, is custom-brewed in 10 kg. kegs in pride of place near the bar. The spirit of sharing extends to four-litre draft beer towers, as the perfect complement to rich and spicy hot pot flavors. A selection of Chinese baijiu and moutai and Japanese sake and shochu, plus an extensive wine list of fine Old World and New World wines are offered. Guests can also sip Beijing-inspired cocktails such as Red Bowl ‘G&T’ made withTanqueray Gin, tonic, goji, lemon and star anise, and a perfectly mixed Hutong Daiquiri, comprising Plantation 3 Star Rum, strawberry, Szechuan peppercorn, lemon and kaffir lime.
The History of Chinese Hot Pot
Chinese hot pot dates back more than 1,500 years, when Mongol horsemen cooked over campfires by searing meat in their shields and simmering soup in their helmets. Traditional Mongolian-style shuan yang rou hot pot subsequently became one of China’s signature dishes. Today, eating hot pot is a cheerful social event, where families and friends gather around a steaming pot, select freshly prepared meats, seafood and vegetables, place them in the pot to cook (but not for too long) before dipping the hot treats in a choice of sauces.
Hot pots are often prepared in line with traditional Chinese herbalist theories, with dried red dates, sweet goji berries, bitter medicinal roots and fresh ginger adding both flavour and health benefits.
Into the pot go typical Mongolian and Northern Chinese ingredients such as thinly sliced lamb or beef, fresh leaf vegetables, mushrooms, tofu and noodles. Across China, local adaptations embellish the tradition. Among the most famous variations is Sichuan hot pot, known for its tongue-numbing ma la sensation, combining spicy Sichuan peppers, chilli, garlic and anise with sliced beef, fresh water fish and exotic vegetables.