So, I felt a bit legless at fancy pants restaurant The Georg on a recent Saturday night as the previous 24 hours included taste-testing a bunch of beers and wines, catching The Beijing Beatles while knocking back John Lemon and Apple McCartney shots at Q Bar, and shenanigans til the morning’s wee hours, including pushing someone’s scooter backwards through half of the city (okay, it wasn’t quite half) because her battery died (it only goes in reverse at that point), a shining example of A Little Help from Your Friends.
It was my first The Georg visit, due to an invite from Austrian wine guy Lenz Moser, but I’m struggling to write about it since a) as noted, it was essentially A Hard Day’s Night and b) our group was in deep discussion for most of the meal. To make up for that, I’ll reference Beatles songs throughout this review (two already!) although I won’t make any corny quips about the restaurant name (The Georg Harrison!).
Let me start this Long and Winding Road with a summary: everything was fine.
The food—a “Scandinavian take on international flavour driven cuisine”—was fine. We had four fab dishes as chosen by the manager, with each serving roughly the same size and, I’m told, price. This asparagus dish was best, especially those fresh flavorful peas:
I also liked the pork neck. What I didn’t like was the bread, a lukewarm Nowhere Man, neither soft enough inside nor crusty enough outside, and in need of some (a kilo?) of Danish butter. There’s my review: asparagus yes, pork neck yes, bread no.
We also had dessert, one that included Valrhona chocolate, and I realized I’d had this item dozens of times but knew little about it. Is Valrhona the brand name? The city where it is made? A nod to the Rhone river? Help! The manager said it is a brand of especially fine French chocolate. (Well, Ain’t He Sweet?) Also, it turns out this chocolate has been produced in the village of Tain L’Hermitage for almost 100 years.
The wine was also fine. The Georg has a few hundred options, emphasis Burgundy, and serves them in elegant Zalto glasses. We had a few bottles “blind” and correctly guessed the first as Riesling although we were surprised to see it hailed from Slovakia (formerly Back in the USSR).
German wine writer Rene Gabriel and I both thought the second bottle was a bit corked but the manager said it was simply the wine’s style. Let It Be, said we. Perhaps it’s like those wines that have some barnyard-y “brett” as feature rather than fault. Anyway, by this point, I felt like a total wine knob—see here for here for more on cork taint—and started thinking a switch to some John Lemon shots might be in order.
We also had Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand (good), Nine Peaks Chardonnay from China (divisive) and two nice Burgundies. I brought the Nine Peaks, produced in Shandong, and learned The Georg stocks no local labels—they aren’t seen to offer value for money.
Finally, the atmosphere was fine. The restaurant is part of a larger Georg Jensen complex set in a courtyard set in the renovated areas along the Jade River close to Nanluoguxiang. The seating was comfortable, the lighting pleasant, the overall vibe one in which to lose track of time. The only event that broke the mood was a food critic who arrived Twisting and Shouting and swearing and sat at a nearby table. The staff quickly said You Can’t Do That and told him to shut up.
Oh, I almost forgot the cheese:
Those cauliflower-esque shavings are from ‘Monk’s Head’ cheese or—thanks Google—Tête de Moine. The appearance is due to it being scraped from the top of the wheel. Seems like it could become a Georg go-to, much like the madeleine at Temple or the 42-item salad wherever Brian McKenna goes.
And that concludes A
Day Night in the Life of The Georg. I promise I’ll behave myself the night before I Get Back again.
(Can’t believe I wrote about a Scandinavian restaurant without making a single reference to Norwegian Wood.)
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