Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Perfect Celebration

We rarely contacted chefs specifically before any visit to their restaurants, not wanting to give them a wrong impression that we were expecting special treatments, but this time I did tell Chef Fabrice a month ago about our plan to eat at his restaurant in Macau, and made a special request to eat inside the kitchen. Blame that on the missus who asked for the "Chef’s Table" to celebrate her birthday.

Really didn’t do much this time in Macau – we stayed over in the Cotai side and was too hot to be out and about anyway – so at our dinner time we just made a quick walk over from our hotel to the City of Dreams and to The Tasting Room. It’s not our first time eating inside the restaurant’s kitchen – Chef Fabrice gave us a sneak preview a week before the restaurant reopened 2 years ago – but it’s still surreal to be led through the door into the service area then to the side of the kitchen where a table has already been nicely set up for the both of us. We were at the restaurant only a month ago for lunch in the main dining room when Chef Fabrice was away, so it’s good to see the full team including his sous Leonardo and pastry chef Julien this time in the kitchen.

A few amuse-bouche bites arrived soon after we settled down with a glass of champagne. The shiso leaf “tempura” with truffles and foie gras was the same as what we had a couple of months ago, but this time I felt the batter was lighter and more delicate. Then there’s a trio of cute canapes – of which I loved the cured mackerel, lemon and piquillo pepper served with a piece of tapioca crisp most.

Of course, that’s just the beginning of a long night of feasting. The bread basket came soon after we finished with our canapes. Other than the usual suspect of the freshly baked goodies, there’s also the olive bread – flaky and warm and ridiculously delicious. We have seen this back from chef’s days at Caprice but this is a refined version with even better presentation and texture. So good that we asked for an extra one to take home – that made perfect breakfast the next day.

The gazpacho was another beautiful dish, served with avocado, tomato and carabineros carpaccio and surrounded by edible flowers of various colors. That was followed by another seafood dish, this time, a gently-poached langoustine served with a wild garlic and green peas sauce accompanied by a broad beans ravioli on top. This should have counted as two separate courses with all ingredients perfectly put together.

The seared foie gras was a repeat from our previous visit with minor adjustments – served with a black garlic compote and duck consommé jelly on top and a whole cherry garnished with gold foil on the side. Then there was another course of smoked salmon with watercress cream and well-presented with scores of garnishes including pickles and more flowers like a piece of art.

We had two main courses. My favorite one was the turbot, gently poached to the perfect firm texture, and served with a “simple” champagne sauce and topped with the seasonal green asparagus from Provence. Our second main course of chicken came in much fanfare, cooked in the bladder and presented whole, then carved to serve. One couldn’t ask for a more tender chicken breast and it’s perfectly matched with the classic Albufera sauce accented by strokes of demi-glace. On the side was the potato gnocchi, morel mushrooms and greens.

Chef Fabrice decided to give us another course before desserts, and this time it’s a slab of soft log sheep cheese withcherry compote. Then we finished with a couple sweet courses, including the cocoa profiteroles and sobacha kasha tea icecream plus chocolate sauce, and of course, those irresistible petit fours and freshly baked madeleines.

And being in the kitchen the entire evening gave us the luxury of seeing all the actions inside albeit a toned down version than usual given our presence. It’s also great to spend time chatting with chefs Fabrice, Leonardo and Julien while observing how the dishes were prepared and assembled.

Went light on wines given the amount we have been drinking recently, but we definitely went for quality to compensate for the quantity. A fine champagne to start, followed by a 20-year-old bottle we brought in. Ripe black currant followed by a hint of tobacco, some smoke and smooth tannins – certainly enjoyable and going for its peak, I believe. We even enjoyed a nice cup of hand-drip coffee at the end by their new restaurant manager Julien… talking about top-notch service! Thanks chefs and the amazing team at The Tasting Room for putting together the perfect evening of celebration and another pampering dining experience for us! *muah*

More photos in my Flickr album:

When? May 18 2019
Where? The Tasting Room, Level 3 Nuwa, City of Dreams, Macau
Menu Highlights? Slow-cooked Opal Coast turbot with Provencal green asparagus and Champagne sauce
Champagne Henri Giraud Grand Cru Fut de Chene Brut MV13
1999 Opus One, Napa

No comments :