Beijing : the Kiwi Connection

Raining through the smog, Beijing

Here I am in Beijing, about to have dinner at the best restaurant in the city (all the top food reviewers say so) and the owner wants to talk about New Zealand water. Antipodes Water, a lightly bubbled mineral water from Whakatane, has just beaten the long-established mineral waters of the world – Evian, San Pelligrino et al – to be chosen as the sole provider of water for the tables at Temple Restaurant Beijing. The owner of TRB is a 38-year-old Belgian called Ignace Lecleir. He brings his “contemporary European cuisine” to Beijing after being general manager of the famed Daniel restaurant in Manhattan (itself one of the most highly ranked restaurants in New York). So Ignace knows his stuff, and he’s so excited about his discovery of Antipodes water that he’s brought a NZ chef to China for a month-long Kiwi event to celebrate.

Ignace was won over by Antipodes general manager, Deborah McLaughlin, who cheekily booked a table for lunch and brought along her water to show off.  She says Ignace and his maitre d’ liked the subtle minerality of the water, and the carbonation which adds a very fine champagne bead. The simple bottle, designed to complement rather than dominate the table, also appealed.

Deborah’s back at Temple Restaurant Beijing at the moment, helping celebrate NZ Food and Beverage month in Beijing. Celebrated chefs Kate Faye and Sam Cottrell-Davies, from Cibo in Auckland, are there to cook a special New Zealand dinner.

Temple Restaurant Beijing is within a courtyard of 600-year-old temples in an old area of the central city.

Temple Restaurant is in a courtyard of 600 yr old temples