Four Seasons Beijing – Noir Or Mooncakes & Afternoon Tea
Four Seasons Beijing is one of the luxurious hotels in the bustling capital of China that opened late 2012. It’s a little bit off the main tourist hubs but it’s close to the city’s business and embassies as well as the capital’s popular shopping and entertainment hub Sanlitun.
Having tea and many different dishes at the Opus Lounge
We start our afternoon having tea at the sleek Opus Lounge filled with impressive artwork inspired by striking Chinese landscapes. This lounge is a grand two-story space that offers Asian and Western specialties during their daily afternoon tea.
We peered into the Four Season’s patisserie and picked a few items like their brightly colored (and delicious) raspberry popscicle shaped cake, decadent chocolate dome cake topped with whimsical white chocolate colored circles, macarons, cheesecake, chocolate bonbons, and other well made pastries. We paired it with the Chinese teas available on their menu (dongding oolong tea (凍頂), red robe tea (大红袍), Iron Goddess tea (铁观音), white tip silver needle tea (白毫銀針).
We were welcomed with a beautiful presentation of skewers of fresh dragon fruit, watermelon, and cantaloupe set in clear glass ornaments. Tiers of sophisticated, dainty savory crostini of seared tuna loin topped with caviar and foie gras topped with wedges of sweet, earthy fresh figs. There was an ornamental chest full ice and test tubes full of refreshing cucumber mint soup and gazpacho.
We were fortunate to reserve the limited edition Noir Or (means “black gold” in French) mooncakes since the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday passed and the hotel’s kitchen will not create more of these coveted confections. The pastry chef of the hotel Holger Deh is a chocolatier who works with Cacao Barry and created and used an exclusive chocolate blend to create these mooncakes. You read this correctly. These are not your typical mooncakes. They are elegant chocolates filled with different infused chocolate ganaches. The Or Noir Collection features Five Spice, Mango and Orange, Citrus, Ginger, Oolong Tea, and Milk and Honey. They all feature a beautifully tempered, crisp chocolate shell (milk or bittersweet) and filled with the mentioned thick, delicious ganaches.
When the afternooon tea buffet was set up, we walked our rounds to see what was available. There was such a variety of delectable things to choose from ranging from light fare of skewers of fresh fruits and buttery cookies to cakes, various roast meats sliced to order, quiches, miniature pizzas and savory Chinese inspired buns like the pork bun but topped with the pineapple bun topping. The latter was a bit too sweet but a novel idea.
We heard about the hotel’s Tea Garden and took the elevator up to the 6th Floor. The soft lit atrium that has to tall bird cages (one on each end) filled with a handful of beautiful songbirds (the aspect of old school China that I adore) the 313 rooms and 66 suites line the corridors overlooking an atrium adorned with a vertiginous “butterfly wall” featuring gleaming silver butterflies fluttering their way up. Quite a sight to see.
The floor is divided to a comfortable seating area and what look like an upscale Chinese tea shop. One side is a long counter/bar set up for kung fu tea and shelves stocked with various jars of fresh tea. The other is a larger table and have a master to perform the kung fu tea ceremony (工夫茶). We took a seat and chose the oolong tea and watch the young woman skillfully perform this ritual in front of us and take our questions (in Mandarin; a brief glimpse of this demo is seen on my Instagram). The purpose behind this ceremony is to extract and maximize the flavor of the fine tea.
We had a magnificent time to taste what Four Seasons Beijing offers for tea — Western and Eastern styles. My mother had a happy nostalgic moment when she was child growing up in China when we were all in the Tea Garden.
Service couldn’t get any better than this. The food was solid. The entire hotel has a great balance of East and Western details that a local business Chinese person would feel at home but the Western touches of technology and luxury makes this place feel quite special.
To view more photos of these visit, please CLICK HERE or view the gallery below:
Four Seasons Beijing
48 Liangmaqiao Road
100125 Chaoyang District, Beijing
Chinese address: 北京四季酒店
Tel. +86 (10) 5695 8888