February 17, 2014

Me, Myself and I, édition française

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I’m back in Macau for the same work conference that I attended last year, and once again I decided to be anti-social and skip dinner with my fellow attendees. While the conference food at the Four Seasons Macau this year was significantly better than what we had last year, there are certainly even better options in town.  My experience last year wasn't so good, but I had a great time dining solo last month.

I figured that I owed it to myself to check out one of the places with macarons. As I’m dining with Me, Myself and I, doing Chinese was out of the question. After ruling out Robuchon au Dôme and the Kitchen, there was only one remaining option – the Tasting Room by Galliot at the Crown Towers.

Getting there was a breeze for me. I walked out of the Four Seasons, crossed the Bridge of Stars to the other side of Estrada do Istmo, and then it was a couple of minutes’ walk to the City of Dreams complex and yet another familiar set of air freshener. Once again I had no reservation for dinner, but it wasn’t a problem as there were only 2 tables occupied at the bar area, and I was the third table in the dining area.

I took a quick look at the menu, and decided that I would take the 6-course menu, without wine.  While browsing online through the wine list for the City of Dreams a couple of days ago, I quickly came to the realization that the prices were pretty exorbitant, and there were certainly very few choices when it came to half bottles.  I'd be better off just focusing on the food.

Before I even got to the food, my still water came, and this bottle of French water actually said "Grand Cru de L'eau"!  I'm such a country bumpkin... even after all these years of drinking wines from Bordeaux and other French appellations, I never realized that they actually classify water in France, too...

On the food front, first up were these three little bites:

Duck roulade with yuzu sauce

Salmon roll with cauliflower cream - pretty nice, actually... especially for a cauliflower freak like me.

Pork croquette with Béarnaise sauce - the cumin in the sauce was pretty strong.

The amuse bouche was a lobster ravioli with "capsicum purée" and lobster emulsion.  Well, it's not exactly purée but a little more like compote, maybe.  The ravioli was surprisingly a little bland, though...

The service was attentive and pleasant.  As I was dining alone, the staff even brought over a couple of magazines for me to keep myself occupied in between courses.  I politely declined.

Artichokes "en vierge" with lemon supreme, filet of John Dory with capers vinaigrette - this was rather pretty, with artichokes, capers, and wedges of lemon whose acidity I couldn't take.  Yowza!  That was really sour!

The John Dory itself was cooked sous vide.  Pretty nice.

The smoked egg with black winter truffle coulis, light pumpkin cream - I was first presented with a box containing the egg, mushrooms and straw.  You can see the smoky, hazy air in the box...

Then it came in a lovely presentation, with a delicious ham panini on the side.

It was black truffles and mushrooms all around - a very hearty, wintery dish.  The egg was wonderfully soft and wobbly, although I must confess I couldn't really distinguish the smoky elements.  Does it really work when you try to smoke an egg through the shell?  But this was a very, very delicious dish even without the smoke.

Brittany lobster with crab ravioli, shell fish nage, dill and coriander butter - very, very delicious.  Reminds me of the very awesome homard bleu at Restaurant André that I loved so much.  The nage was very citrusy, with perhaps a hint of fennel.  Interestingly the crab ravioli was much more tasty than the lobster ravioli that came as my amuse bouche.

The lobster was extremely well done... Love it when they're a little "crunchy" with lots of bite.

Yuzu sorbet - this came as the palate-cleanser.  Very, very smooth in texture, with standout yuzu (柚子) flavors.

Different cooking method on the French lamb from Aubrac, split pea mash - this came in three parts...

The pan-seared lamb loin was really, really delicious.  Very lamby from the fat, and very aromatic from the charring that came from high heat.  The interior was extremely moist and tender, as it was braised a little before searing.  This was probably one of the best loins I've had in recent memory.  I usually find loin to be too tough and dry, but not so tonight.

The lamb shoulder with eggplant caviar was pretty good, too.

Finally there were these thin slices of lamb tongue on consommé gelée with spicy pepper coulis.  The coulis was made peppers, coriander and other spices.  Really picked up the flavors.

Cheese from Mr. Hervé Mons - not surprisingly, the clientele in Macau isn't very sophisticated and doesn't appreciate some of the wonderful soft cheese available.  That just means that I get the benefit of having it all to myself!  Only soft cheese for me...

Mont d'Or - brand new and this was the first spoonful.

Saint-Marcellin - really ripe n runny.  Very nutty with a pretty salty rind.

Époisses de Bourgogne - this isn't getting any love from others, either...  More for me.

Brillat-Savarin - I always love this for the creaminess... and how it just melts in the mouth.  Salty first, then the acidity comes mid-palate and into the finish.  Also slightly bitter and nutty mid-palate.

The pre-dessert was orange Campari granité, which was very sweet but I loved it.  The taste of Campari wasn't too heavy and bitter.

Mandarin and yogurt - the agar on top was made with mandarin orange and yuzu.  Slices of mandarin orange among mandarin yogurt and espouma, along with a sprinkling of honey nut crunch.

Finally, a little macaron to finish the evening with my espresso.

I had told Mathieu - who left Robuchon to come here - that I wasn't drinking tonight, but he was kind enough to offer me a glass to go with my lamb.

2004 Vega Sicilia Valbuena 5° - fruity, but a little acidic.  Showing signs of oxidation from too much aeration.  A little metallic, mineral and earthy.

For some reason, I started feeling full after the egg, and was a little stuffed after the lobster.  This turned out to be a lot of food for me tonight, but I was very happy at the end of the meal.  The food was very tasty, well-executed and there was a reasonable amount of creativity and variety here.  The service here was also excellent - attentive and friendly.  Certainly worthy of a macaron, and I will be back another time... with my own bottles of wine...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Regarding the water there is no appelation in France...
Quite amusing what marketing does those days :)
Food looked beautiful.


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