January 27, 2018

Boys' weekend in Macau - scratching an 8-year itch

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Less than 4 hours after we finished lunch - during which most of us took some time to nap and digest - we reconvened on the top floor of the Grand Lisboa Macau for our second meal today at a 3-star restaurant - dinner at Robuchon au Dôme.

In spite of the spectacular views, the restaurant is far less busy in the evening - perhaps due to the higher cost.  Fortunately we stood to benefit from the situation, as manager Carlyne Leffondre - who is sadly leaving Macau - arranged to seat us in the large private room.  Now that's VIP treatment...

Two weeks ago I had discussed with Chef Julien Tongourian about possibly taking the black truffle menu tonight.  After looking over both the black truffle menu as well as the winter menu, we decided that we would prefer the latter for this evening - but with an extra course inserted.

Our amuse bouche was a langoustine and sea urchin waffle.  This was done perfectly - with a crispy exterior along with a creamy center.  This never disappoints.

The first trolley that came in to our room tonight was the butter trolley, because the bread trolley is too tall to fit through the door. I always love watching the staff scrape the butter off the sides of these "mountains"...

Le caviar: en surprise sur un king crabe rafraîchi d'une infusion de corail anisée - the signature dish which I enjoyed immensely last month.  I was surprised, though, that there were only 55 dots of cauliflower cream tonight, as opposed to the 72 on my plate last time.  I guess the kitchen puts in a little more effort when Oncle Joël is actually in da house...

But the dish was still delicious, despite our observation that there was a touch more black pepper than usual, and the cauliflower cream having a slightly more grainy texture.  Still, the king crab, the Imperial caviar from Sologne by La Maison Nordique, the lobster gelée, and the cauliflower cream all weaved harmoniously together.

L'Artichaut: comme un carpaccio mêlée de truffe noire aux copeaux de foie gras - a dish I enjoyed two weeks ago.  The thin discs of camus de Bretagne artichoke came with rolls of shaved smoked foie gras, radish, button mushrooms, artichoke chips, Pecorino, melba toast, arugula, frisée, noir long Maraîcher radish, and topped with black truffle shavings.  Once again, the acidity from the mustard - along with piment d'espelette - added the right amount of kick to the dish.

La Saint-Jacques: la noix poêlée, lait de noix de coco épicé et condiment de coriandre - we were stunned by the size of these medallions.  If they were thicker, we'd use them as hockey pucks. The scallops - which came with a paste of minced ginger and chives - sat in a pool of coriander coulis with some coconut emulsion on the side, along with squid ink farfalle, perilla flowers, and young leeks.  This had a distinctive Thai/Southeast Asian feel, as the flavors from coriander and curry oil were very pronounced, tempered slightly by the coconut emulsion.

The scallop was thinner than I had expected.  It was done mi-cuit, but the texture was a little firmer than we had anticipated

We asked to see the Hokkaido scallops in their shells, and this was put in front of us. Yes, that's a dinner fork...

L'Œuf de poule: à la coque sans coque sur une compotée d'aubergine au piment fumé - a dish I enjoyed a lot last month, and I was happy to have it again.  Very, very delicious.  Even The Dining Austrian commented on the interesting interplay between different textures and flavors - with the zaalouk, espelette, soft-boiled egg, and kadaif coming together.

La fine tarte: friande aux oignons confits et lard fumé paysan - BABY, THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR...  I first found out about this iconic dish from the Elves not quite a decade ago, but somehow I have never managed to hit a Robuchon restaurant during black truffle season to order it. That itch was screaming to be scratched.

After discussing with the boys, we felt that with the amount of food that was already coming our way, the four of us could share two full portions of the tart.  However, Chef Julien did not want to ruin the presentation by cutting the tarts into halves, and decided to comp us two of them so that each of us could have a tart for himself.  OUI, CHEF!  MERCI, CHEF!

This was truly something to remember.  Above the paper-thin sheet of filo pastry was a layer of caramelized onions and smoked lardon - both finely shredded.  The beautifully-arranged discs of tuber melanosporum rested on top, and the fragrance was unbelievable.

Of course, the flavors were awesome once you take a bite and start chewing... The fragrance of the black truffle - together with caramelized onions - rising from the back of the throat up to the olfactory receptors.  Heaven in a bite.  This alone was worth the trip here.

Le homard cardinalisé: au beurre salé, pois princesse et baby bok choy, escorté d'une bisque épicée - another dish I enjoyed 2 weeks ago.  Absolutely love the rich bisque with lots of umami and kick from the piment d'espelette.

The Maine lobster may not be as fresh as the ones The Dining Austrian gets right outside his home, but they were still pretty damn good.  The tuile today was made with turmeric instead of squid ink.

Le bœuf: châteaubriand et foie gras en une interprétation "Rossini" au vieux Porto - all of us chose this option for our main course, so Carlyne brought us the whole piece - which had been cooked sous vide at 58°C for 1 hour and 15 minutes before being finished by roasting with a black truffle crust.  The foie gras was actually cooked together with the châteaubriand and not separately, which I could imagine would be no easy task.

Once again, the texture was simply amazing.  The foie had the perfect wobble, but it proved a little too rich for me tonight.  I hit a wall, and in the end I left a little piece of the beef on my plate.

Pommes soufflés

A cut of broth to cleanse our palate before our pre-dessert.

Le parfum des îles: onctuosité fruit de la passion au rhum ambre, légègreté noix de coco - pineapple, caramelized banana, rum granité, sea salt crumble, and coconut espuma.  Basically, a piña colada.  Very nice and refreshing.

La symphonie des douceurs: au choix selon vos désirs sur notre chariot de desserts - given how full I was, I made the decision to go easy on when it came to both the dessert trolley as well as the mignardises trolley...

Millefeuille - classic.  Need a fix every once in a while.

Pineapple and vanilla tart - in keeping with the tropical theme of the pre-dessert.  Yum.

Canelé - I could never not have one of these...

Chocolate bon bon with caramel

Chocolate bon bon with coconut cream

Once again I combed through the incredible wine list to try to pick up a few bottles I found interesting, which would also be relative bargains.  I think I did reasonably well...

1990 André Beaufort Ambonnay Brut, dégorgé en Janvier 2012 - very ripe on the palate, nice and mature.  Beautiful, caramelized nose with salty plum notes.

1976 Schloss Reinhartshausen Erbacher Siegelsberg Spätburgunder Weiβherbst Auslese - I had never seen a rosé or blanc de noirs from Germany before, never mind one that was made as an auslese.  Nose was lovely like a Chambertin, with leather and sweet fruit notes.  Palate-wise it was kinda sweet and somewhere between a spätlese and an auslese.  This was soooo interesting!

1997 Bruno Giacosa Le Rocche del Falletto di Serralunga - we needed to pay tribute to the passing of the great man a few days ago.  Served 2 hours after decanting.  At first this was a little warm, showing a little smoky notes.  Delivered minty, eucalyptus, and cassis on the nose.  Lovely.

This was a fantastic dinner, and we also received impeccable service - which naturally deserved a big tip from us.  We will definitely be back, and will certainly miss Carlyne on our future visits.

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