Everyone seems gaga about Nobu Beijing these days but another Japanese restaurant brand also recently opened in our fair city: Inagiku. Started in Tokyo, and with branches in cities such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Manila, you can find the Beijing edition in its “soft opening” phase on the third floor of the Yintai Center, on the opposite end of the complex from Room Beijing. Yesterday I talked to shareholder Michael Chin, who says he has been in and out of Beijing since the mid-1980s when he was part of a team that opened the Shangri-la Hotel. Here are ten quick points…
- Chin says the wine list is still being finalized but will focus on high-end Bordeaux and Burgundy, with some white options from New Zealand and Australia. There will also be shoju and sake options. Dom Perignon is the lone Champagne on the menu.
- The menu includes 19 set lunches, from RMB180 to RMB950, and a la carte items from RMB68. Expect to drop a few thousand if you order lobster or hairy crab. Chin says the average spend in the main dining areas will be RMB1000 or more per person, and much higher for those in the private rooms.
- The space has similar dimensions as Room Beijing, which means a staircase at the entrance, with a small “cellar” on one side and views of the CCTV Tower on the other.
- The restaurant is split between a series of private rooms and the public dining areas. There are 11 private rooms, including two with cooking stations, that each seat six to ten people. Chin is proud of the décor and furnishings and points to the chairs from Spain, lamps from France, glass doors from Germany, and so on. The leather covered tables are a nice touch. He says there is no direct lighting in the venue. The private side of the restaurant includes two Toto toilets for all of your warming and washing needs.
- There are four chefs from Japan, all working in Beijing for the first time. Chin says he brought in chefs because his menu includes cuisine from Kyoto and requires specialized skill.
- He also says he is bringing in many ingredients from Hong Kong, even chicken stock, to ensure quality. He says the items he had been bringing in from Japan are now being sourced from elsewhere until the nuclear crisis there is resolved.
- There will be a band on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The play list will include jazz, oldies, and Chinese songs.
- There are a lot of other details, including the many skylights, the Swarovski crystal art in bird cages, the decks, and so on. In any case, I am saving my mao and fen and hope to be back soon to try some of the dishes and drinks at this place.
(Big hat tip to Beijing Elvis)