A touch of Chinese class
Dubbed the most exclusive club in Germany, the China Club Berlin was created to provide a global, glamourous and cosmopolitan environment for its members, and a place where they can feel at home
Situated on the Southside of the legendary Hotel Adlon in the heart of the German capital, and taking in views of the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and Potsdamer Platz, is one of the country’s most exclusive destinations. Founded and designed by Anne Maria Jagdfeld, China Club Berlin is a traditional private Members Club that offers its guests a breath-taking restaurant and bar, library, private suites and what it describes as ‘the most beautiful roof terrace in Berlin’. Its operations are managed by ADLON Holding, which also operates the India Club Berlin, the Lorenz Adlon Wine shop, and the soon to open Lorenz Adlon Wine Bar and an Italian Restaurant in Heiligendamn.
Stepping inside the China Club Berlin, what first strikes you how it has incorporated a mix of precious Chinese antiquities, contemporary Chinese art and Chinese cuisine to create an elegant, yet unpretentious ambiance suitable for its guests. “Since the opening of the China Club Berlin, it has been a private space hosting selected members, with politicians, entrepreneurs, lawyers, royals and captains of industry proudly calling it their ‘second home’,” explains Adlon Holding’s Chief Executive Officer, Georg Albrecht Heine. “In order to become a member one must be recommended by two existing members, take part in an interview with our General Manager and then by approved by the Member Committee. This thorough process, which our members expect, assists us in retaining our unique atmosphere.”
The bar inside the China Club Berlin, with its red satin walls, polished mahogany and post-Maoist Red Guards in oil, is a modern interpretation of the legendary Peace bar in Shanghai. From here, one can also gain access to the aforementioned roof terrace, which is renowned for its cocktails and for hosting all manner of receptions during the summer months. From the foyer, oak-panelled corridors lead to individually designed private dining rooms, which are created with variable walls for events of all types and sizes. Each suite, which come with names such as ‘Concubine’, ‘Imperial’ or ‘Taipan’, has its own unique character and represents Chinese high culture, with hand-carved doors from old teahouses, Chinoiseries, objects d’art and hand-painted silk wallpapers.
Antiques and gilded panels also line the entrance to the restaurant, from which the highly-respected Chef Tam Kok Kong is responsible for creating quality Chinese haute cuisine. With great emphasis placed on first-class, fresh ingredients, many of the products used within the restaurant come from controlled organic cultivation and are obtained from carefully selected regional agricultural businesses.
“It is not only about the exceptional food that our kitchen team provides, but also about the way our members are treated and how the food is presented,” Georg reveals. “Members of our service team have all been trained by us, or honed their skills in five-star hotels around the world. They not only know the names of our members and their preferences by heart, but also fillet, carve and flambé at the table if the dish requires it. We rarely hand out menus to our members, rather the service staff will see what they feel like having and compose the menu for them. We believe that dining should always be much more than simply consuming food. It should be a whole experience that can only be achieved by having a perfect atmosphere and surrounding, complimented by professional service, the right lighting, music and an interior fitting of the product.”
As we move into 2019, plans are afoot for the reconstruction of the China Club Berlin’s rooftop in order to incorporate an Italian dining experience. “What we are planning to do is enclose our rooftop with a glass roof, one which can be opened at the sides via sliding doors so that we can still provide the experience we current do during the summer,” Georg details. “By having a solution in place that allows us to close the roof we will be able to use the space all year, allowing our members to enjoy the spectacular views around us whenever they choose. The addition of a high-quality Italian kitchen in the China Club Berlin will be a highlight for our members. We have also applied to enclose the terrace of our bar. By doing so, we will increase the indoor space of the Club bar by nearly double, which will be a great benefit to everyone.”
The China Club Berlin will be looking to replicate the success it has had since the opening of the India Club Berlin Indian restaurant on the ground floor of the building complex a little over a year ago. “The India Club Berlin is open to the public, and has been incredibly successful with the locals in a relatively short space of time,” Georg enthuses. “We were even mentioned with the 2018 Michelin Guide, which is a source of incredible pride.”
Joining the Italian kitchen will be the Lorenz Adlon Wine Bar, which will also serve small Italian dishes and fresh homemade pasta, accompanied by wine recommendations from the Lorenz Adlon Wine shop which will supply the wine bar once it reopens in the opening weeks of 2019. “With the opening of the Lorenz Adlon Wine shop, an exclusive address for wine connoisseurs in the centre of Berlin will come back to life,” Georg adds. “When Lorenz Adlon, founder of the famous Hotel Adlon, opened the shop back in 1907 it housed over a million bottles of wine, making it the largest and most important wine shop in the world, and therefore the imperial and royal court purveyor. The Lorenz Adlon Wine shop is aiming to continue these traditions by offering an exceptional selection of wines.”
Away from Berlin, ADLON Holding also eagerly awaits the opening of its Italian Restaurant in Heiligendamm on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The restaurant, which is expected to open at the end of April 2019, will provide excellent seafront views, a welcoming atmosphere and high-quality food options, making it a great addition to the business’ portfolio.
Of course, the success of a good food operation also stems from the relationships a company has with its suppliers, some of which have been with ADLON Holding and China Club Berlin for the long-run. “We have been working with Metro Deutschland, for instance, since the very beginning and are very happy with their fast service, the quality of the food service products they supply us with, and the fact that we can call on them to be a reliable partner,” Georg says.
“While we are very pleased with what we have achieved over the past 15 years, we always strive to achieve more, which is why we have begun to co-operate with exclusive brands that match our own,” Georg reveals. “Together, we are currently working on events and special experiences for our members that you won’t simply just come by or be able to book anywhere else. While I am not ready to give away any spoilers just yet, I can say that the ideas we have already come up with are very exciting indeed and we look forward to revealing them in 2019.”