June 2, 2011

Lisboa tour: the Eight

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Our last meal of the trip took place at the Eight in the Grand Lisboa, which has earned itself 2 Michelin stars.  We had finished lunch a mere 3½ hours ago, and I wasn't the least bit hungry.  Nevertheless, I sucked in my stomach and prepared for battle...

We were in one of the private rooms, which was pretty nicely decorated.  The decor of the entire restaurant was surprisingly subdued and not as bling-bling as I had imagined.  The hand-embroidered goldfish motif along the main wall was particularly impressive.

The amuse bouche was stir-fried diced pork and peppers.  Not bad.

Steamed superior river shrimp dumplings in fish shape (霸王淡水鮮蝦金魚餃) - the freshwater shrimps used seemed to pack more flavors than ocean shrimps, making me wonder at one point whether baking soda was used.  The yellow accents on skin were actually crab tomalley (蟹黃).

Steamed "Shanghainese" dumplings with Yunnan ham essence (金華火腿汁小籠包) - this was very tasty, and we were advised to consume this without dipping in vinegar.  The skin was a little too thin and fragile, and my attempt to peel the thin slice of carrot from the bottom would have ripped a hole in the skin, had I not stopped my motion in time.

Deep-fried Macau sole with spicy salt (椒鹽龍脷仔) - very, very delicious.  The baby fish was extremely crispy and fragrant, as was the accompanying pile of deep-fried garlic and peppers.

Barbecued pork with French goose liver (法國鵝肝金錢雞) - I love the "cholesterol sandwich", and thought this one was pretty yummy.  The French foie was soft and more silky, compared to the usual chicken liver used which are drier and have more bite.  I love succulent, fatty stuff...and this one ticked all the boxes in my book.

Poached fish mousse soup with bamboo piths and bean curd (竹笙魚圓) - very good stuff.  The fish balls - made from Eastern Star garoupa (東星斑) - were very light and airy, almost as light as what I had at Hong Zhou.

The julienne of bamboo piths was unexpected but good.  The  thin, white strips of tofu show the knife skills of the chef.  Chewy bits of conpoy (瑤柱) added yet another type of texture to the already-busy mix.

Barbecued pork (叉燒) - we each got one piece of char siu to taste.  It was tender and succulent with just a touch of fat, and ever slightly charred around the edges.  Very good.  If I weren't so full I'd ask for a few more pieces.

Stir-fried lobster with egg, minced pork and black bean (廣東式炒龍蝦) - the biggest disappointment of the evening.  I was actually wondering about how fresh the lobster itself was, as the dish just tasted a little weird somehow.  The flavors were just too strong for my taste.  For stir-fried lobster I don't think you can beat the one from Fook Lam Moon (福臨門), which put the fresh, sweet taste of the lobster meat front and center.  There was also a ton of starch used on the legs, which was another indication of the condition of the lobster itself.

Fried glutinous rice topped with roasted chicken "pei pa style" (琵琶糯米雞) - very yummy.  The chicken was boned before being roasted and kinda spreadeagled... I thought the chicken was pretty decent.

The bed of fried glutinous rice, however, was simply awesome!  The diced preserved sausage bits embedded in the rice just hit the spot for me.  I kept saying how full I was, but I couldn't stop shoving this into my mouth...

Steamed Japanese bean curd pocket stuffed with imperial fungus and sea mosses (羅漢布袋) - I was wondering whether the pocket was really made with tamago dofu (玉子豆腐), because the exterior wasn't smooth and must have been treated or processed somehow.  The veggie and shark's fin stuffing was pretty good.

Fried rice vermicelli with shark's fin and shredded conpoy (瑤柱魚翅炒米粉) - this was a totally amazing dish.  I don't normally eat shark's fin for environmentally reasons, but it would have been impolite for me to refuse tonight.  The chef had stir-fried the egg yolk and the rice vermicelli together, and used chopsticks with a lot of effort to break up the yolk into the tiny bits that we see.  Fried with high heat and completely dry to the taste, with no grease stains left on the dish - a very tough act.  The dried conpoy on top added a nice crunchy texture as well as flavor.  Very yummy.

Chilled mango and coconut pudding in fish shape (鴛鴦錦鯉凍) - the two puddings were OK, but the coconut sauce on the side was totally amazing.  I think the mango sauce was pretty thick and delish, too.

Milk tea with egg custard - the tea was made with a mixture of different types of leaves, and sweetened condensed milk.  Pretty yummy.  I thought the egg custard was pretty much the same as the one we had for lunch today, but the others disagreed.  It was pretty sweet...

This being our last meal in Macau, I wanted to drink a bottle that was a little nicer than what we've been having.  KC was guessing that I'd open a bottle of white, and he would be right.  I always prefer a white wine with my Chinese food, and Rieslings or Gewurzs in particular.

1971 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Extra Long Goldkapsel - drank over dinner at the Eight.  Nose of orange marmalade, honey, apricot and slightly musty.  A little sweet on the palate with an acidic finish.  After 30 minutes in the decanter, the familiar petrol notes emerged, along with some white flowers.  About 1½ hours after opening, the also-familiar notes of polyurethane showed up, as well as a hint of almonds.

The color has now turned a dark, beautiful amber.  A very, very beautiful wine, and so nice to be able to pick up something that I can't find anywhere else in Asia...

Very stuffed, yet very satisfied.  We said our goodbyes to the Grand Lisboa and headed for home.  Four full meals, 5 bottles of wine and 5 Michelin stars in 36 hours...  Many, many thanks to everyone at Hotel Lisboa for making our stay so memorable!

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