Thursday, May 23, 2024

The New Two Star in Town

It’s somewhat an unplanned, “serendipity” moment when we got to eat at a restaurant the same day they were elevated to two Michelin stars. My whirlwind Macau stay in March (the first of the three trips I made to the town that month) concluded with dinner at The Huaiyang Garden at The Londoner. 

Just earlier during the day, I was at the Michelin Guide ceremony seeing the team led by Chef Xiao received the much-coveted two Michelin stars, so I was just happy to see him again in the evening at the restaurant and offered my personal congratulations to the team for such an achievement. 

And with the dishes we managed to try this evening, I felt the accolades were well justified. (other than the 2 Michelin stars, they were also recently voted one of the Top 20 restaurants in Tatler Dining Guide for Hong Kong and Macau). Our 12-course tasting menu began with a few cold appetizers. My favorite was the Suzhou-style crispy smoked cod fish, which was served in big chunks and with nice crispy texture on the crust and silky soft inside. 

The shredded tofu soup was considered one of the craftiest dishes in Huaiyang Cusine (which traditional refers to the food from a few provinces around the downstream area of Yangtze River) with bloc of tofu cut into thousands of hair-like threads. What Chef Xiao did this time was a variation of the original version, with crab meat and steamed egg white custard added for some extra complexity. 

The steamed Hilsa herring fish was another dish that tested the kitchen skills. The fish was known to be tasty but mixed with numerous tiny bones but here, somehow they presented this as a boneless version. The 20-year-old Huadiao wine that was used to steam the fish with gave the dish an fragrant aroma. The “lion head” was another dish I love this time, with the fatty minced pork meatball mixed with crab roes and stewed with superior soup – unlike the Shanghainese version with a much richer flavor profile, this one was clean yet intense and comforting too. 

The area was well known for the seafood either from the river or the catchment area near to the sea, so we continued with a few of those in the later courses. The steamed pork patty with crab worked perfectly well with a bowl of steamed rice, with the latter taking in all the flavor from the sauce underneath. And I also like the braised yellow eel, with sizzling oil poured on top just before served at our table in a casserole. 

Our dessert of Dingsheng Cake 定勝糕 is the famous pastry from the region, traditionally it’s made for well-wishes for victory using rice and sticky rice flour with a touch of sugar but no yeast (with the word “victory” inscribed on top). It's soft and spongy. Second dessert was tofu pudding, served with red bean, barley and osmanthus, done slightly less sweet than usual but equally delicuious.

More photos here:

When? March 14 2024
Where? The Huaiyang Garden, Level 2 The Londoner, Macau
Menu Highlights? Shredded Tofu with Crab Meat and Egg Whte in Superior Soup 蟹肉蛋白文思豆腐羹

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