December 1, 2017

Week of drunkenness: cinq chariots

Pin It

Thanks to some last minute work, I ended up checking out of the Countdown Hotel a little late.  Coupled with the shitty taxi situation in Macau, this meant that I was a few minutes late to my lunch appointment at Robuchon au Dôme in the Grand Lisboa Hotel.  The Great One was already chatting with Jonas Schuermann - the MD of Hospitality Services at SJM who had extended the kind invitation to the two of us.  They were already happily sipping on their first glass of bubbly.

It has been waaaay too long - almost 17 months - since the two of us were last here.  Oncle Joël is in town this week for the Michelin festivities, and Jonas wanted to make sure that we come and try out the dishes of the season.  And lunch here - at least for the Great One and I - is always a drawn-out and relaxing affair... punctuated by the 6 trolleys that come our way.

And we soon start with the first - the bread trolley.

The staff very kindly filled our bread basket with a wide variety, even though we know this was definitely way too much.  The second trolley - bearing two large mounds of Bordier butter - was rolled in front of us, and naturally we all wanted the salted butter...

Langoustine and sea urchin waffle - this amuse bouche has always been deliciously crunchy.

Le caviar: en surprise sur un king crabe rafraîchi d'une infusion de corail anisée - one of the signature dishes and a dish I certainly will not tire of.  When Jonas Noël left his position as assistant executive chef of L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon Shanghai, he joked that he had squeezed "1,188,888 dots of cauliflower cream"...  Well, there are 72 dots of cauliflower cream in front of me, with corresponding 72 "nipples" on top made with parsley chlorophyll.  Certainly a beautiful presentation, with very time-consuming attention to detail.  Despite the serving china being incredibly bling, I was ever so grateful that the chef saw fit to only put a tiny little dab of gold foil on top of the caviar.

Once you dig in with your spoon and take the first mouthful, the reason this is a signature dish becomes glaringly apparent.  The sweet yet slightly savory crab; a hint of anise; the Imperial caviar from Sologne with its oily, salty flavors; the sweet and creamy cauliflower cream; and the savory and umami lobster gelée... all coming together to work their magic in the mouth.  Each spoonful is a lesson in elegance.

I can think of no better way to start a meal.

La truffle noire: en ravioles de Pecorino crémeux cuisiné au bouillon de poule - apparently Oncle Joël wanted to show us that Frenchies, too, can make decent pasta.  These beautiful pockets were filled with cream made with Pecorino and black truffle, then seasoned with a light and delicious chicken broth sprinkled with piment d'espelette, finely chopped chives, and tiny bits of courgettes.  The Great One described it as "ethereal", and I couldn't disagree.  The flavors were certainly very delicate, yet had the power to seemingly transport the diner to a higher plane of existence.  A truly beautiful dish.

L'Œuf de poule: à la coque sans coque sur une compotée d'aubergine au piment fumé - the soft-boiled egg sat on top of a bed of zaalouk garnished with kadaif, topped with bay leaf emulsion seasoned with piment d'espelette.

The runny yolk was delicious.  In fact, the mélange of flavors was simply beautiful.  The zaalouk gave us richness and sweetness from the eggplant balanced with acidity from the tomatoes; while the espelette delivered some spiciness that built up towards the end.  Cumin and parsley contributed their own fragrances.  And the kadaif added a little crunch to the whole affair.

Le bœuf: châteaubriand et foie gras en une interprétation "Rossini" au vieux Porto - next came our main course... and what an incredible dish!  Opening the lid of the re-used Boerl and Kroff Champagne lacquer box released beautiful smoke which filled the air, while we admired the beautiful piece of châteaubriand inside.

The beef was perfect.  It's easy to see how soft and wobbly it was while being sliced by manager Carlyne Leffondre.  The color was a beautiful hue of red, and the foie gras top practically melted in the mouth.  What an incredible dish!

Pommes soufflés - I can't help being excited every time I see this. 

Les fromages de nos régions: sélectionnés par nos soins - trolley #3 arrives, bearing the selection of fine French cheese.  I picked out a few - including something I've never tried before.

Chabichou du Poitou - thick and creamy goat cheese, with that farmyard and gamey flavor that generally comes from goat.

Curé Nantais - as its name suggests, the cheese comes from the city in the Loire valley.  The outer rind is washed with Muscadelle.  Nice and a little chewy.

Mimolette, aged 36 months - much deeper flavors, with more salt.

Époisses - pretty ripe.  Very nice.

La mangue perroquet: dans sa coque de chocolat Opalys, crémeux et coeur fondant aux fruits exotiques - so we've got ourselves a "mango", which in reality is a mango-shaped chocolate shell made of Valrhona Opalys filled with mango mousse inside.  A scoop of passion fruit sorbet is served on the side, with some passion fruit coulis, coconut gelée, and toasty crispy rice.

Cracking open the chocolate shell showed that there was liquid hidden in the center of the mousse...

In fact, we've got mango cubes and passion fruit coulis inside.  Love it.

L'Ourson: en velours rose et noire - such a cute little bear-shaped chocolate mousse.

La symphonie des douceurs: au choix selon vos désirs sur notre chariot de desserts - trolley #4 comes bearing a whole host of desserts.  I am greedy and pick out a couple.

Mango tart - more mango?  Yes, please!

Tarte tatin - a very interesting interpretation, with many thin layers of apple stacked together.

Tarte citron - I could never resist the tangy acidity of a good tarte citron...

Caramel and chocolate tart - what's not to like about caramel and chocolate together in the same bite?  With hazelnuts, too!

Madeleines à la minute - nice and warm.

Le café ou le thé: escorté de mignardises - I decided to skip the ice cream trolley, so here we have trolley #6...

Chocolate tart


Jonas was his usual generous self today, so we were treated to a beautiful lineup of wines...

2000 Krug Clos du Mesnil - nice and mature now, with caramel notes, and good acidity on the palate.

2006 Ramonet Bienvenue Batard-Montrachet - beautiful, toasty nose.  Surprisingly ripe and alcoholic on the palate when warmed up a little. 

1979 Haut-Brion - smoky, leather, still a bit of fruit, with a hint of rust.  Beautiful.  Still some tannins here.

2007 de Fargues - acetone, honey, and orange marmalade.

This was a fantastic meal. Every single dish was superb, and I was ever so glad to see that Oncle Joël was looking better in person than in some of the recent pictures I had seen. We also congratulated Chef Julien Tongourian for maintaining the 3 stars the restaurant has held for 10 consecutive years.  Is there any doubt as to why this is my favorite French restaurant in the Pearl River Delta?

Many thanks to Jonas and the Grand Lisboa Hotel for the generous treat, and thanks to Carlyne for taking excellent care of us.  Too bad Hello Kitty arrived about 2 hours late...

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map