If you could only eat one nation’s food for the rest of your life, what would it be? All roads lead to Rome. Italian cuisine is primus inter pares for its unfussy use of the best ingredients and the fact Italians all seem to live a couple of days past forever.
Via Roma is a reimagining of The Kempinski’s La Gondola but it’s had more than a much-needed lick of paint. It’s now open all day with an airy, modern space to match. The new look is a breath of fresh air, as is the new service style. Everything but the a la carte dishes is presented via trolleys at the table, providing more of a family restaurant feel than most hotel eateries aspire to. The highlight is the wine trolley, which offers a chance to try several of 100 wines, each served by the glass.
Nice touches, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the eating is very good indeed. Chef Francesco’s menu of rich flavors at a matching price point (plus 15 percent) features the expected classic dishes alongside the delightfully unexpected – wood-fired goose liver pizza (RMB 258). The veal ravioli (RMB 128) is worth the trip on its own. Tender parcels of succulent calf smothered in sage butter will have you grasping for superlatives and bread to mop up the sauce, but perhaps not in that order. It’s no surprise the dish features on the degustation menu (RMB 598). Via Roma’s simple, decadent fare is your new reason to get a personal trainer on speed-dial.
Daily 11.30am-10.30pm. 1/F, Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center, 50 Liangmaqiao Lu (6465 3388 ext. 5707)
50m southeast of Liangmaqiao station (Line 10)
This post first appeared in thebeijinger.com on June 13, 2014.
Photo courtesy of The Beijinger.