Sunday, 6 March 2016

Robuchon au Dome - Macau's finest?

Riding up the lift to the 39th floor at the Grand Lisboa in Macau, I was able to reflect back on the journey that had us about to visit one of the world's great restaurants.

We were heading to Macau for the very specific purpose of seeing Russell Peters live in concert, perhaps one of the funniest comedians on the planet at the moment.  Our second trip to Macau in twelve months, we didn't need to do the sight seeing thing, our plan was to laugh, relax and lounge by the pool of our hotel.  Of course there was never any doubt that we'd be hitting up the best restaurant Macau had to offer.

With a string of accolades that very few restaurants can match, we chose the very refined three Michelin starred Robuchon au Dome.  Michelin stars are just the beginning for one of Robuchon's top restaurants!  Ranked number six restaurant in the world by Elite Traveller's top 100 restaurants; thirty five on the San Pellegrino's top 50 Asian restaurants and the second highest ranked Joel Robuchon restaurant in the La Liste top 1000 restaurants, the French fine diner's a must on any serious foodies list of restaurants to visit.

The trip to Macau hadn't started off as I'd have planned.  Meeting the girl at the Macau ferry, her first question me was 'where's your camera?'.  D'oh, I'd forgotten my camera for what I'd hoped would be a meal for the ages.  What would I do?  Well, I seriously contemplated buying a new camera, just for the meal.  I mean seriously contemplated it.  That was, until I saw that the camera I had my eye on was twice the listed price in HK.  

Luckily the iPhone 6+ camera has improved significantly - while not ideal, it would have to do.

Exiting the lift on the top floor of the Grand Lisboa, I cleared my mind of the distraction of forgetting my camera.  I had more important things to focus on.  First of which was wondering why we'd (again) arrived at a restaurant before opening!  With no place to really wait, and over excited security guards that wouldn't let us move outside of the lift well, we had no choice but to wait for the restaurant to open.  Thankfully, it was only five minutes until the glass panel door slid silent aside to allow us to enter wonderland.

The aptly named Robuchon au Dome sits under the quite spectacular dome that graces the top of the Grand Lisboa hotel - right at the top of the world.  As we walked past the full grand piano at the centre of the dome, out to our table, we were able to take in the grandeur of the opulent fixtures of the restaurant.  Each of the tables at Robuchon au Dome had the same spectacular views of Macau - right on the edge of the dome - and it was a sight to behold.

Our waiter brought over the leather bound menus for us to peruse, but we didn't need to delay, having already decided to check out the Le Menu d’Hiver imaginé par Joël Robuchon - the set tasting menu.

Our tasting menu began with our waiter wheeling the bread cart over, running through the various types of bread available for our 'bread basket'.  What was most impressive was the cart contained the specially imported hand churned butter that was shaved in front of us with a heated spoon, the soft twirl of the salted butter looking amazing on its plate.

Our tasting menu kicked off with an amuse bouche of dark crumble encrusted cream puff and an oatmeal biscuit covered in a red pepper puree.  Looking simple and elegant on the plate, the cream puff was my favourite, slightly sweet and oh-so-gooey.  

Our first course was 'Le Caviar' a beautiful looking dish of Impérial caviar and king crab, sitting at the centre of concentric rings of light cauliflower cream and refreshed with crustacean jelly.  It was the second week in a row that I'd been presented with the dish, having experienced the wonder of the dish at Hong Kong's L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon the week before (see post here).  The fact that I'd enjoyed the dish the week before didn't diminish my delight at the salty caviar and sweet crab, which was offset by the slightly bitter crustacean jelly.  I did think the presentation from L'Atelier was more impressive, the Robuchon au Dome version feeling a little more cramped on a smaller plate.

I was super impressed with the presentation and detail in the 'L’Asperge Verte' with the delicate green asparagus slices wrapped around the seasonal vegetable and avocado guacamole.  The asparagus was sliced incredibly thinly and wrapped around fresh asparagus tips, pickled onion slices, beetroot and radish.  There was a punch from the guacamole that was offset by the cool and refreshing asparagus and the acidity from the pickled vegetables adding complexity.  I rarely love vegetarian dishes, but the flavours worked beautifully together for a well balanced dish.

The beautiful presentation continued with the 'L’Œuf De Poule' - a crispy egg sat on a parmesan emulsion with shaved black truffle and Iberico ham.  While the egg was advertised as being crispy, the yolk inside was warm and gooey, slowly mixing with the creamy parmesan emulsion to form a wonderfully rich sauce.  There was crunch from some thin and crispified noodles, adding a very Asian feel to the dish.  The noodle had a neutral flavour that didn't really add any value from a flavour profile, but it really wasn't needed for flavour as the egg, parmesan foam and truffle worked so well together. 

You would think that the lobster dish would be the most luxurious on any menu, and the 'Le Homard' was quite luxurious, the roasted lobster perfectly cooked, but there was a slight imbalance with the dish.  A black pepper sauce was a little harsh on the palate and the creamy wasabi dressing didn't really do much to sooth the hit of black pepper.  The portion of lobster was generous, with a medallion of the tail and a large claw included in the dish.  I was conflicted about the dish, as I had been with the similar langoustine dish from L'Atelier the previous week - just too peppery!

We'd raced through our meal and were totally shocked to learn that our mains were on their way. The girl had chosen the 'La Caille Royale', Robuchon's very famous free-range quail with foie gras, mashed potato with truffle and a herb salad.  We'd been disappointed with the L'Atelier version from the week before, but the au Dome version was right back up to the pinnacle of food. Not only was it twice the size, but the quail cooked perfectly and the sweet and creamy foie gras marrying with the quail so well, it was ethereal. The mash was not the usual buttery concoction, looking and tasting a little strange with truffle imbued throughout - I think it suffered a bit as a consequence.

No such issues with the buttery mash with my main of 'Le Bœuf Kagoshima', the famous Japanese beef rib eye seared to perfection and served with wild asparagus and baby artichoke. The dish came with a virtual Béarnaise sauce, but I'd also asked for a serve of their famous creamy mash, the team only too happy to oblige (and for my request of a separate pot of the mash).  Look, the beef was incredible, amazing, delicious and totally ridiculous, but I didn't love the baby artichoke that came with the dish, which I mostly left on the side.  Needless to say that I polished off the mash and went looking for more!!  Much better than the mash from my previous experience the week before at L'Atelier!

We'd asked for a break after our mains, needing to let the ultra rich food that we'd consumed so far settle before finishing the meal with dessert.  After a break of around fifteen minutes, we felt prepared to face the first of our many desserts for the night.

Our first dessert was a tear drop shaped 'La Mangue Exotique' a dessert of mango passionfruit - essentially a very light mille-feuille.  The mango flavoured cream filled dessert was light and while not quite as refreshing as a simple sorbet, was a lovely distraction from the very rich main courses that had only just started to settle.  Luckily there was a passionfruit sorbet that accompanied the dish and was really appreciated, it was the most refreshing part of the dessert.

It was only a precursor to more sweets than any sane person could consume in a sitting! Robuchon au Dome specialises in a dessert trolley, which was paraded in front of us to consider which three delights we would like next.  There were countless cakes and tarts and treats on the cart, way too many to remember, but I did settle for a raspberry and lemon curd tart with toasted meringue, the house specialty vanilla mille-feuille and a mango sphere, all of which were delicious and waaaaay too sweet!  By the time I'd finished the plate, I thought I couldn't possibly ever eat anything sweet again!

But our night wasn't over just yet, once final cart was pushed in front of us, this time a petite four cart with dozens of little bite sized treats that could quite possibly have come out of the mind of Willy Wonka!  Incredibly, 'Pure Imagination' from the Willy Wonka movie was playing on the grand piano - giving us the feeling that we'd followed 'Alice down the rabbit hole'.  We were so stuffed that we could only half heartedly attempt to eat a couple of macaroons and marshmallow on a stick for me and a nougat bite and a small lemon tart for the girl.


Our Robuchon au Dome meal had been pretty spectacular, no doubt, but I think we'd not done the meal justice.  Visiting L'Atelier and Robuchon au Dome on consecutive weekends was probably a tactical error on my behalf, with the tasting menus being almost identical with their ingredients, and in some cases the cooking and presentation.  I'll never do that again, I think the optimal time between visits would be six months!

Service was faultless, as was the setting and although the food was also close to faultless, there were a couple of little issues that possibly had more to do with our pallets than the cooking itself.  The harsh pepper with the lobster left the dish out of balance and I didn't love the baby artichoke, the flavour just not working with the beef for me.  

If you're in Macau, then a trip to the top of the Grand Lisboa to Robuchon au Dome is a must - just don't follow my example of visiting a week after a trip to L'Atelier!

The salted butter was just incredible
So much bread!
Yep, I did fill up on bread - again!
Such a beautiful looking dish
Art on a plate
Generous serving sizes - meant that we were very full! 
Unbelievably tender beef
Petite four - straight out of Willy Wonka
The girl's haul
Just the right mood lighting
The grand piano played show tunes all night!  Opulence personified
Now that's a chandelier 
Robuchon au Dome has one of the most impressive wine lists in all of Asia
Views to die for

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks very much for your comment, I really love and appreciate feedback and your thoughts


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...