Business Travel Show Europe Kick Off, 23 February,
Global Travel Risk Summit Europe, May 2023,
3rd Annual Sustainable Business Travel Summit
Buying Business Travel editor Paul Revel finds sanctuary in a German beer hall – in deepest China
After various adventures with local food, including the famous ‘hotpot’ – dark stew brimming with fiery red chillies and peppercorns – and struggling with chopsticks to remove flesh from bony alien fish, I found sanctuary in the wood-panelled beer hall at the sparkling new Kempinski hotel in Chongqing.
The Paulaner Bräuhaus bar and restaurant is a marked contrast to the five-star hotel’s acres of polished marble, expensive artworks, and lotus flowers floating in the gleaming black stream that surrounds the elegant lobby tea-lounge. The Paulaner offers hefty steins of lager and dark beer from the onsite microbrewery – shiny copper and steel fermenting tanks, pipes and valves form part of the décor, as does the scent of yeast and hops.
A multinational and good-looking rock’n’roll band, Peachy, play crowd-pleasing standards to a small but lively audience of locals and international visitors. They’re very good, but don’t take themselves too seriously: they’ll do a bluesy ‘happy birthday’ when required, and even comic Benny Hill-esque musical accompaniment to guests in a beer-chugging race. Bayern Munich football games are screened, and whenever the ‘home-team’ score, there’s a beer on the house for everyone. And for a jet-lagged chopstick’n’chilli-phobe like me, there are comforting and tasty wurst platters, sauerkraut and Wienner-Schitzel.
However, in defence of Chinese cuisine, I must add that I also stayed in the equally glamorous and opulent Hyatt Regency (opened in August 2012), on Paradise Walk in the Jiangbei central business district. The Yu Yue Chines restaurant has a new head chef, who specialises in Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine. He does wonderful things with goose, abalone, suckling pig – even jellyfish, and his paper-thin transclucent crispy beef is memorable. Sweetcorn soup sounds rather innocuous, but somehow he makes it sublime; crystal clear and fragrant.