Friday, October 16, 2009

Far from Humble

A friend of mine who visits Beijing periodically raved about My Humble House in Wangfujing and so I kept this in mind when I went there with some visitors the other night.
This fusion restaurant is located west of the Grand Hyatt in the same complex, but can be confusing to find for those who venture there for the first time. There is a giant door that greets visitors and once inside, one can't help but be in awe of the stunning interior -- an atrium-like space with extremely high ceilings, a small square shallow pool near the entrance and dining tables spread around the room. The tables have wine glasses and giant decorative plates for each place setting, as well as a small ceramic square plate that holds a wet towel that's been wrapped into a flat circle.
That's why the name, My Humble House is a total misnomer -- it looks grand and sophisticated, and the same goes for the menu. The dishes are hardly considered home-cooked cuisine, but dishes with poetic names. We sampled many dishes that were not particularly fusion, perhaps because clientele here are looking for more authentic cuisine.

We had braised fatty pork that was quite delicious, cooked with cubes of dried tofu and garlic to soak up the flavourful juices. There was also a tofu dish that had thin slices of seaweed on top that made it look black, like a fish. We had a shrimp curry that was quite watery, but had a nice subtle lemongrass flavour, and a fish that was de-boned, and that part deep-fried, while the fish slices were stir-fried with carrots, celery and wood ear fungus. We also had more tofu cooked with baby napa cabbage. While all these dishes were good, the standard was average, while the presentation was beautiful, especially the fish dish.

For dessert, I tried the lemongrass jelly and sorbet with mixed fruit that came complete with dry ice for a dramatic effect. The jelly was delicious with that delicate lemongrass taste, the sorbet not too sweet, very refreshing with the finely cubed fruit.

Many of the tables were occupied by foreigners, probably impressed by the pretty good service and nice decor. However, the menu needs more variety or flexibility. For example, we wanted to have a dish of just vegetables, but there were none; this makes it difficult for particularly Chinese diners who have already ordered a variety of items on the menu but just want to add one vegetable dish. And the staff did not try to accommodate this request either, which was a bit strange.

While many will be blown away by the venue and presentation of My Humble House, discerning diners will pick up on the average taste of the food.

My Humble House
W307 Oriental Plaza
1 Dong Chang'an Jie
Dong Cheng District
8518 8811

1 comment:

ks said...

good look no good eat. long on decor short on substance.