Fully expecting a long dinner, we arrived early for our 7:30pm reservation. As we reached the dining room of the restaurant after a change of elevator on 39th Floor and walking past a wall boosting their extravagant wine collection (we saw a 1821 Chateau d'Yquem being showcased), we were pleasantly stunned at such a turnaround this restaurant got as far as decor goes.
We have different opinions on the pan-fried sea bass with red verjus sauce- CYY thought the fish and sauce were nice but I found the sauce overwhelming and the fish a bit dry. You can't fault the chef's technique though as the sauce is nicely prepared and the skin of the fish fillet perfectly seared. Just that I am not a big fan of this combination and this style of preparing fish, I guess.
Just as we were preparing to receive the desserts, we forgot there's one more dish after our main course: a pearl pasta with smoked cream, crispy pork and white truffles. It's essentially a glorified pasta carbonara - looks simple but with an elegant touch. I enjoyed that a lot too, and realize there's no such thing as too much truffles for a season.
I didn't think of the dessert of chocolate served in a martini glass much at first until I realize how complicated this dish was. Starting off is a mix of chocolate granita and blackcurrant-flavored champagne at the bottom of the glass, which I sipped with the sugar straw, then I cracked open the chocolate on top of the glass and ate it (and the edible straw) with the rich and smooth chocolate mousse which was layered in the middle. Genius - God knows how long it took for them to come up with this.
The second dessert's even more amazing - apple foam and calvados jelly was wrapped in a bright red sugar sphere, and served more caramelized apples, vanilla cream, caramel sauce and peanuts icecream. A highly unusual combination but nicely executed - with the tangy apple flavors complimenting the sweet notes from caramel, vanilla cream and icecream.
As we were finishing our dinner, Chef Semblat dropped by our table to say hi and we seized the opportunity to ask him to show us around at the kitchen. It's located at one level down and I think it's quite big a kitchen for a restaurant of this size, but with 20-plus chefs working it feels just right. We were also shown by the pastry chef how the sugar sphere we had for dessert was made - it's such a crafty process. Impressive and definitely not something we could even contemplate of doing at home.
You can't always get to try a 3-star restaurant in its opening and being shown around the new kitchen by the chef himself, so this is certainly a memorable evening for us. I always think Robuchon Macau is the only one restaurant in the region that truly justify the "Worth a Journey" annotation used by the Michelin guide, and with its new location, a facelift, and consistent food quality, I think it's continue to be above any others in the area (pun intended), and truly worth our 1-hour ferry journey.
when? December 4 2011
where? Robuchon au Dôme, The Grand Lisboa Hotel, Macau
menu highlights? Crispy frogs' legs with garlic and parsley coulis
Frederic Magnien Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2005
Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey 2001
more photos of the dinner can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/g4gary/sets/72157628297854743/