Sunday, November 18, 2018

"Simple" Lunch at the Lounge

Last month we spent yet another weekend in Macao in one of the newest hotels in town. If there’s a time that I made a trip just to check out one new hotel and that hotel alone this year, I am sure Morpheus is high on anyone’s list and I was glad that the PR team at City of Dreams extended an invitation for us to spend the weekend there and to check out some of their facilities.

We already caught a glimpse of the hotel with its unique, spider web-like façade when we were staying just across the street, but it did take one actually standing in the center of the ground floor atrium laced with white marble floor and looking up to the ceiling and the sky window some 40 levels above to feel the grandeur and architectural magnificence of this Zaha Hadid-designed project. I know nothing about architecture but the building did strike me as something exciting with its futuristic design and extensive use of lines and curves and polygonal windows visible from both inside and outside. That made simple things like riding on the bullet elevators – they got a dozen of those shuffling guests between the floors on the two towers – such a pleasure as one could get up close appreciating the design through the glass window from the elevators. (I confess I did a few more than I needed just for that purpose)

We – there were a few of us in the group - arrived at the hotel slightly before noon, and were ushered to the Club Lounge high on the 30th Floor for a “simple” lunch. To call the venue just another hotel executive lounge was a gross understatement. The lounge was spacious in a minimalistic theme with well-stocked food stations and a long bar counter available all day – it’s also the perfect place to enjoy a good view of the Cotai side of Macau and also some of the architectural features of the hotel. This is definitely one of the most impressive executive lounges I have seen.

Our “simple” lunch was no simple meal either. Essentially what they did was to give us a highlight of some of the dishes served at the lounge. We started with a couple cold appetizers – first the shrimp tartar with cauliflower gazpacho, followed by the Japanese scallop carpaccio with tomato salsa. I particularly loved the scallop dish with finely-sliced raw scallops – almost to the texture of minced meat but still retained a bit of bites – mildly seasoned with a hint of Asian herbs and served with the sweet tomatoes. Both dishes were well-presented too.

I picked Filet Mignon as my choice for main course out of the 3 options – turned out it was great. Beef was cooked sous-vide than finished on the grill with a coating of “black charcoal” – bread crumbs and something more I suspect – and served with the meat jus on the side, crispy quinoa, pea puree and a dollop of horseradish cream. There’s a well-constructed balance of different tastes and textures going on in this what I thought to be a straight forward dish, judging from the menu description. It was delightful.

Of course, the highlight of the meal has to be its desserts. The hotel is one of the only two in Asia featuring the pastry team of Pierre Herme with its array of fine patisserie items, cakes and desserts available on all its F&B outlets including the Club Lounge. So I don’t think anyone would blame me for feeling distracted when their chief pastry chef Sebastien Bauer dropped by towards the end of the meal with a tray full of desserts. I wish I could tell him I wanted one of each but at the end I managed just a handful and all of them mind-blowing, including the coffee mousse tartlet and the caneles, and of course, their classic macarons with some of the flavors unique in this Macao location plus of course, their signature Ispahan flavor with a combination of rose, raspberries and lychees. Of course, turned out that’s just one of the countless Ispahan-flavored desserts we got to enjoy in all shapes and forms and sizes one could imagine.

To some, Morpheus might be an architectural wonder, but to me, it’s the dessert and pastry heaven.

(Our weekend in Macau was organized by the PR team of The Morpheus/City of Dreams Macau as part of the media fam tour)

When? October 20 2018
Where? The Morpheus, City of Dreams Macau, Estrada do Istmo Cotai, Macau
Menu Highlights? Selection of Sweets by Pierre Herme

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