Browns, which less than two years ago ranked among the city’s hottest spots, closed in August after an agonizing decline. Taking its place is the thousand-square-meter restaurant and lounge Revelations, which will soft open on Saturday. I’ve already written a bit about this place and yesterday I met with Revelations’ Jacky Kagi, whose previous gigs include the Jockey Club, Conrad International and Reflexion Natural Dining, all in Hong Kong.
What kind of environment can people expect?
We have a place with good food but without a conservative environment. The décor includes both Renaissance (a large mural, pillars and marble) and modern elements. The atmosphere is a bit traditional but also a place where you can put your elbows on the table and laugh out loud. It’s informal, but not so informal as to be like TGI Friday’s, where a waiter comes up to your table and on bended knee says, “Hi, I’m Bob.”
We [the management] are all from five-star hotels or the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Who are you looking to attract?
We are aiming at the middle class emerging in Beijing. We hope to attract our neighbors, people living and working in this area.
We’re not looking to provide a LAN or Block 8 experience. We’re trying to find a middle ground, to reach more of a mass market.
We will have ten set lunches, from RMB 60 to RMB 100, and a set dinner from RMB 120 to around RMB 250. We want our food to be affordable and to offer value for money.
We will also have our own caviar from Russia and Iran, both wild and farmed. A 30-gram tin could be shared by four to six people, so that they know what caviar is, so they have the experience. This is our equivalent of shark’s fin or abalone.
Like our oyster bar and sushi bar, the caviar will supplement our regular fare, which aims at value for money. It’s not something we will pressure customers into ordering.
How about the wine list?
We will mainly have a selection of Old World wines, even a few Portuguese ones, as I’m a bit of an old-fashioned guy. We will do the whole Lafitte thing, and do wine dinners and education, but will also have about 30 bottles on the menu and six wines by the glass. When it comes to wine, it’s not only about how much a bottle costs. It’s also about quality and what someone likes. We want to sell by the glass and to promote regional wine. It’s clear as crystal that we need to get regular customers.
What other places have you tried and liked in town?
I’ve been in Beijing on and off since August. I’m impressed with Alameda as a business model, though I understand some staff members have left. A place I like is Prego, in the Westin, because they always bring out some nice regional wines.
Note: I sampled the veal shank, tuna sashimi, and crème brulee, all of them tasty. Revelations makes its own chocolates. I will have more on the wine list when I receive the information.