August 2, 2019

Macau quickie: 50- and 60-year-olds

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Mr. Christmas is making a trip around southern Guangdong Province, which included a stop in Macau.  Being the nice guy that I am, I decided to meet up with him this weekend and share a couple of meals together.  I was very surprised to find that he had never dined at The 8 (8餐廳) in the Grand Lisboa, so I made arrangements for us to be here tonight.  As always, the kind people at the Grand Lisboa were very accommodating and put us in one of the private rooms.

I left the ordering up to Mr. Christmas, since the main reason for this dinner was to let him have a taste of the cuisine here.  As usual, we started with a duo of nibbles:

Abalone with water bamboo celtuce stem - the waitstaff introduced it wrong...

Turnip with shrimp mousse, mushrooms, and mushroom paste

French goose liver with “char siu” and a thin-sliced of Chinese preserved sausage (法國鵝肝金錢雞) - honestly, this was disappointing.  While the foie gras was OK, the char siu (叉燒) at the bottom was certainly tough and fibrous.  Not enjoyable.

Barbecued pork (玫瑰蜜汁叉燒) - always one of my favorite char sius (叉燒) in the world... especially satisfying since it's always served as a thick cut.

Thanks to the swine flu in Mainland China, Chef Joseph Tse has switched to using pork from Okinawa (沖縄).  Needless to say, this was pretty damn good.

Steamed crab claw with egg white in fish broth (魚湯蛋白蒸蟹鉗) - Chef Tse mentioned that they had some crab claws, and we thought those would be a good idea.  I chose to have mine steamed with egg white, and I gotta say that the egg white was pretty filling.  The meat from the claw, of course, was pretty fresh and sweet.

Baked stuffed crab shell (焗釀鮮蟹蓋) - Mr. Christmas wanted to have this dish, but it wasn't on the menu, so I had to ask Chef Tse for a favor... and he ended up delivering in spades!  This crab shell was seriously big... much bigger than any other version I can remember.

Underneath the cheese and panko (パン粉) gratin, we actually had two different types of crab meat - from both mud crabs (青蟹) as well as Alaskan king crabs... and the latter came in nice, big chunks.  We've also got diced mushrooms and onions together in a cream sauce.  Nice and sweet stuff.  Hello Kitty decided to add some X.O. sauce on top, and much to my surprise, it was a lot more enjoyable than adding Worcestershire sauce.

Sauteed surf clams with phoenix nut (鳳眼果炒北寄貝) - Chef Tse also suggested that we take this, as the phoenix nuts (鳳眼果) are in season, and he thought they would go well with the Japanese surf clams.  Not bad la... At least I liked the texture of the phoenix nuts tonight.

Pan-fried chicken pieces with black bean and aged dried tangerine peel (三十年豉香陳皮雞) - the other disappointing dish of the evening.  What should have been the beautiful fragrance of 30-year-old dried tangerine peel was overpowered by black beans, and there was also liberal use of soy sauce.

Sauteed kale with dried shrimp and shrimp paste in casserole (啫啫芥蘭) - we had another visiting French chef with us, and he was totally enamored by kailan (芥蘭).

Coffee jelly (咖啡啫喱) - what can I say?  I'm a creature of habit.  Even though I thought about having a different dessert tonight, I ended up going for another serving of the delicious jelly.

Portuguese egg tart (葡式蛋撻) and milk tea (奶茶) - always the best ending to the meal here.  The Portuguese egg tart tonight was pretty damn good.  And that milk tea, of course...

OF COURSE we did our homework when it came to wine. Both Mr. Christmas and I dutifully scoured the wine list for bargains according to the budget that he set, and I pre-ordered the whites so that they were already in our room by the time we arrived.  I was a little surprised, though, that we ended up going about 50% over budget...

2002 Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons - nose kinda ripe, buttery, sweet and tropical, flinty, later obvious notes of frangipani.  Good acidity, with some ripeness but overall still kinda lean.

1969 Schloss Eltz Eltviller Sonnenberg Riesling Feine Spätlese - spiced quince, almost nutmeg, honey, marmalade, orange peel, and savory mineral notes.  The second pour delivered a little more sweetness on the palate.

1959 Anheuser Kreuznacher Narrenkappe Riesling Feinste Auslese - actually more dry than the '69 spätlese.  Oxidized and mineral nose, with polyurethane.  A little hint of bitterness on the palate.  The second and third pours came flat and short on the palate, while the bitterness became more pronounced.  Not as pleasant as the '69.

2000 Chave Hermitage Rouge - served more than 1½ hours after opening, without decanting.  Lots of fruit with eucalyptus, along with a bit of iron rust and metallic notes.  Exotic spices, pretty jammy underneath the oak, along with leather, smoke, a bit of graphite and some barnyard.  Drinking absolutely beautifully.

Another happy meal, although I felt a little let down by a couple of dishes. Many thanks to Chef Tse, Kenneth, and the team at Lisboa for taking such good care of us. And so, so happy to see AC in such good spirits.

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