The Roots Restaurant

New kid on the block

Above the well-known Paddy O’Shea’s Irish pub in Beijing Dongzhimenwai, The Roots Restaurant has opened recently.
In a previous post I mentioned a small event we held there for a Rotary Fellowship Dinner.
This time we organized a small party in the restaurant for the Rotary, a post about it is coming out very soon.

Small but nice

The French manager Antoine is providing a good service with excellent food in a cozy atmosphere. The place only sits some 35 guests, it was formerly a Japanese restaurant, apparently a victim of the pandemic last year. They prefer to keep it small to make it cozy. The vacant rest of that floor where once the Indian Ganges Restaurant was (it seems also a victim of the virus), is now being remodeled and there would be another Indian restaurant coming.

Mediterranean food

For our group Antoine made a buffet with a North African inspired menu, said to be much Moroccan. It was delicious. I am a big fan of the sausages and the “stewed beef and tomato”, among others.
See the pictures!
Prices are very reasonable.
Our group was very happy with the food, the red wine and the Belgian Vedett beer.

Antoine also used his colorful North African tableware.

New year for Beijing Rotary

Safe Beijing

With the virus threat pretty well under control in Beijing, the new year for Beijing Rotary has brought a modest restart of the activities of the Rotary Club of Beijing. See about our January activities.
Our Rotaractors are still struggling to get their members back, with many foreign students abroad or not allowed to leave their campus.

At least our Rotaract Club of West Beijing has been able to induct new members, online.

Dinner 12 January 2021

On Tuesday 12 January we started our 2021 with a dinner meeting in Morel’s Restaurant.
Our US Peruvian Rotarian José gave us a speech on “Living as an immigrant in USA, Expat in Panama and a Laowai in China”. An exciting interactive talk as many of us have shared similar experiences.

José is a new member, recently inducted.

Lunch 19 January 2021

Back again for lunch at the Kempinski Hotel.
Rotarian Hans Diederen tried his best to explain the new and fascinating world of Bitcoin and Digital money.

26 January Fellowship Dinner

In the evening of January 26 Rotarians, Rotaractors and Friends of Rotary came together for a festivity evening with some Mediterranean fare at Roots Restaurant, a newly opened restaurant in Dongzhimenwai, above the well-known Paddy O’Shea. Over Sangria and Mojito, Rotarians connected with friends, and reconnected with other members.


Old China Hands 5 February

Restaurant overbooked

Our lunch for Old China Hands 5 February met for the first time a problem with Morel’s Restaurant. The reason: the restaurant has seen an intense flow of customers, mostly Chinese, who want to test European cuisine and have a good time as they cannot travel abroad or even within China. The online clip from a foreigner “Caocao” – pretty famous guy in the online media – drew some 10 million hits if I got it right. So the Chinese want to eat what he praised so much…. Result, the restaurant never sold so many steak béarnaise…
Interesting fact: Chinese customers spend much much more per head than foreigners in general. Look look who has the money these days…
The restaurant was forced to give us only 30 seats, many of our Old China Hands were disappointed as they were refused… Sadly some failed to show up, stealing away seats for the others. Poor attitude.
We ended with 28 people. We hope that the next lunch will not have the same limitation!

See some of the dishes that were on our menu.
When I apologized to other Chinese customers for our lively presence, they actually replied they found it very interesting!

Next lunch

Our next lunch is planned for Friday 5 March, the first for the Year of the Ox.

Hopefully the virus situation will remain under control…

Beijing Rotary a busy December

All pretty back to normal

Turns out it is for the Beijing Rotary a busy December.

On Tuesday 15 December we had our regular Rotary lunch meeting in the Kempinski Hotel. Janine Jakob, founder of full Potential Partners in Shanghai talked about leadership, how to become a leader with the right purpose, be it in Rotary, your company or your life.
She writes: “After having worked at American Fortune 500 IT company Hewlett-Packard (HP) for 7 years, I discovered myself more, found my purpose in life, and started my 2nd life phase by founding my own company Full Potential Partners in Shanghai. Now I’m following my calling on my path to have a bigger impact on individuals and companies in China and globally to make them happier and more successful.”

She also showed her book “365 days of motivation”, in English and Chinese versions.

Rotarian Mike presented a copy of his latest book (in Chinese) about the Forbidden City.
Rotarian René reported the good news that our communication with the Interact Club of Dulwich is back on track.
The club also decided to have our Christmas dinner celebration in Kempinski Hotel on 29 December.

Career talk

On Monday 24 December in the Yard House, a career talk by our IPR specialist Rotarian Benoit.

Thanks for (again) explaining the complex world of intellectual property rights!

Rotaract Christmas hotpot

As every year the two Rotaract clubs tried to join forces for the Christmas hotpot in the usual Ritan location, the Ritan Shuanrou in Ritan Dong Lu.
Nice crowd but some could not make it at the last moment as universities suddenly did not allow international students to leave campus. It has happened before on a regular basis, making the meetings of the West Club near impossible.

Happy to see our president of the Rotary Club of Beijing, Danny, attending!
Many potential new members took part and we had to explain more about Rotary and Rotaract.

40 years of China

Celebration or?

On 9 December 2020 I celebrated my exact 40 years of China with a dinner party for 40 guests in Morel’s Restaurant in Beijing. I arrived in Beijing for the first time on 9 December 1980 to open an office for a Belgian company (Ateliers de Construction Electriques de Charleroi, ACEC) and never planned to stay that long. Somehow I hesitated, should I celebrate, observe a minute of silence or ?

Forty years of China is a lot to digest. As I mentioned in my short speech, some suggested I show pictures or a PowerPoint. But condensing 40 years of changes in a slideshow is impossible. It’s like calling yourself a China Expert, which I never do. The longer you stay here, the more modest you become. I still have so much to learn.

The early days, my room in the Beijing Hotel, serving as office, bedroom, living room, (improvised) kitchen

It was a tough one to select whom to invite, as there was a limit imposed by the restaurant’s space, and my budget. Sorry to those who missed it.
Chef Renaat again prepared a fabulous buffet. In February it will be also 20 years I have been coming to his restaurant.

Friends and food

I had the pleasure and honor to welcome the ambassador of the European Delegation (we know each other since the nineties), the Belgian ambassador, and many other friends from our Old China Hands group.
We also welcomed our colleagues from UWEE with whom we work together for the Foreign Experts Committee under SAFEA, see here. They also gave me an unusual present with the socks!

Happy to have sold a few copies of my books, as I requested not to bring any presents.
There was plenty of food and drinks in the packed restaurant.

Speech, interview

I gave a short speech. Renaat and others then gave me a set of “bottles”, to make fun of my so-called month of not-drinking: a range of imported mineral water…

The EU ambassador brought a special present: a white board for all participants to sign as a souvenir.

I was also interviewed by China Today (La Chine au Présent), see here the online link (all in Chinese) with the UWEE video:

Or see here the PDF of the interview, along with a translation: 201209 ChinaToday interview


For those who cannot open the Chinese link and watch the video, see here (need VPN):

YouTube video:

“On 9 December 2020 I celebrated my exact 40 years of China with a dinner party for 40 guests in Morel’s Restaurant in Beijing. I arrived in Beijing for the first time on 9 December 1980 and never planned to stay that long.”

Thanks to Mark of UWEE for the great video!