"As I am French, of course I like to eat French food over most other types of cuisine," Katia said, arching her dainty shoulders in the classic Gallic shrug. "But I must reveal that I am now quite the fan of a small Belgian place called Morel's. I have learned about some classical Belgian dishes by tasting them at this restaurant: Belgian blood sausages topped with apple sauce and a pot of mussels made in Monsieur Morel's grandmother's style. Both are enough to make me sigh with plasir."
Katia again had gone out to eat and come back with another mouth-watering story. She had told me that she felt especially adventurous because Morel's does offer a variety of French plates, including goose terrine and the classic French seafood soup known as bouillabaisse. "I did not try it because my grandfather came from the region where they created this special soup – Saint Tropez - so I do not want to eat it unless I know for certain it would be as fantastic as his was," she revealed. The young French beauty did say with great enthusiasm that Morel's had a small but high quality stock of good wines. "Most people prefer the beer, the patron has many kinds and I was with guests who like beer so I did not drink wine that night." Katia smiled and added, "You know the people from Belgium are mixed: they speak both Flemish and French and they eat both French and a rather Teutonic like, heavier cuisine as well. When I was a child I saw them putting mayo on their fried potatoes. That is definitely not for me."
Morel's is named after Renaat Morel, the executive chef and owner. Trained at Antwerp Cooking University, he came to China in 1989 because he "yearned for Chinese civilization". As a young man he gained wide experience working in five star hotels as a chef all around Europe. After coming to China he began working at many distinguished hotels, feeding the rich and famous, including Chinese Presidents and Prime Ministers." But in 1999 M. Morel opened his first private restaurant and started feeding the masses," Katia said happily, "Now the public – both Chinese and ex-pats – all enjoy the feasts that come from this wonderful man's hands."
Morel's offers something for everyone. For people who are not interested putting on weight there are several beautiful salads served as either appetizers or main light entrees, and they have a few dishes for children as well. "You know, I must also tell you about the ambiance there: it is homey but the lighting is dim enough and strategically placed so that no matter what you wear or how tired you feel, you seem younger. And the smells are so nice, the waiters discreet but polite, I felt younger and somehow removed from all the crowds of Beijing. And I was in the Morel's that is located downtown, on a very busy street – yet it was as if we were eating in a quiet alleyway in Brussels. It was quite nice and very comfortable."
After reading Mr. Morel's website I discovered that he is much more than a talented chef: Mr. Morel is an astute entrepreneur and a man who dearly loves China. In fact this talented chef is also a businessman – with two chain restaurants, and three subsidiaries of Morel’s Group, Morel's Trading Co.Ltd., Morel's Golden Long Xi Consulting Co.Ltd. and Morel’s Shi Hua Attorney Agent. Morel's Trading Co.Ltd. imports 20 kinds of Belgian beers and has obtained the sole dealership of those beers while his Consulting Company focuses on exploring and expanding other kinds of food service related and culinary consultation services regarding food and beverage.
Morel's Restaurant & Café (Gongti)
Open hour: from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11：00 am to 1：00 am (Closed on Mondays)
Address: 1st FL No.5 Red Block, Xin Zhong Street, Dongcheng Dist,100016 Beijing (opposite Worker's Gym North Gate )
Telephone: 010-6416 8802
Fax: 010-6416 6658
Morel's Restaurant & Café (Liangma)
Open hour: from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11:30 am to 10:30 pm (Closed on Mondays)
Address:1st FL East Block, No. 27 Liangma Bridge Rd,Chaoyang District, 100027 Beijing (beside Liangma Antique Market, opposite Ai Jia Furniture Centre)
Telephone: 010-6437 3939
Fax: 010-6437 3232
Morel's Deli Shop
Open hour: from Monday to Sunday, from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm
Address: Park View, Caoyang District, Beijing
Telephone: 010-6538 3162
(China.org.cn by Valerie Sartor and Katia Loridon, June 3, 2008)