October 6, 2023

Bday in Macau 2023 day 1: living the suite life

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It's Foursheets' birthday this weekend, and she has decided that she wants to spend it in Macau this year. While I have already made 3, albeit short, trips across, it has been 4 years since her last trip. So I contacted our friend to make some special arrangements, only to have her insist on arranging the accommodation for us. We're so grateful for her kindness, because it is really going to make this a special weekend.

I was already getting excited on our way to catch the ferry. A friend had very kindly helped me buy the very special Nissin Cup Noodle laundry bag and carried it back for me, in time for me to use it as our weekender bag. I was getting some looks at the terminal, and eventually the bag got its own seat on the ferry.

We were picked up and driven to the Karl Lagerfeld at the Grand Lisboa Palace Resort Macau. The hotel is one of three towers at the resort and opened less than 2 years ago in the middle of the pandemic. After the borders opened earlier this year, we finally had a chance to come check it out.

We stayed in one of the Ikonic Suites, which provided a lot of privacy and tranquility as the door opens to a very long corridor leading to the living area.

The bedroom area was also really spacious.

Commenting on the design, I jokingly said that this is "better than Donald Trump's bathroom" despite the walls being covered in gold mosaic...

In addition to the huge fruit basket, we've also got some macarons and chocolates as part of our welcome...

...as well as a hazelnut and chocolate mousse cake for wifey's birthday.

Our evening started at the bar at Mesa by José Avillez. They had earned themselves a spot in the "back 50" of Asia's 50 Best Bars earlier this year, so I thought I'd order up a couple of their creative cocktails. Of course, the ones I ordered would totally be considered "girlie drinks", much to Foursheets' chagrin...

Rose Mary - gin-based but made with rose water and garnished with rose petals.

Tower in the Clouds - also gin-based and made with sparkling wine. The foam on top was definitely high in acidity, definitely got the lemon, but I couldn't get any bergamot from it. The sprinkles were made with raspberries.

We took our seats at a table in the restaurant for dinner. I wanted to come here because at the gala dinner for the announcement of the Michelin Guide Hong Kong and Macau earlier this year, the dish presented by Chef José Avillez was the best of the evening, and that verdict was almost unanimous among the people I spoke to. So I wanted to see what he could do at a restaurant that bears his name, taking into consideration that this is some 11,000 km from his homebase.

We were served three different types of butter to go with our bread: original flavor with paprika, onion butter with onion powder, and goat milk butter with nori (のり) powder.

Cone de tempura com tártaro de atum, soja picante - apparently a signature dish for the chef, but they remind me of Thomas Keller's iconic cones.

Apparently there was kimchi juice mixed in with the tuna tartare, but I definitely tasted the soy sauce.

Bolinhos crocantes de bacalhau - I loooove bacalhau croquetas, but these were done more like tempura so that the batter was pretty fluffy. Topped with some yuzu (柚子) mayo, salmon roe, and a sprinkle of raspberry powder. Very juicy on the inside but a little light on flavors.

Cenoura Algarvia em diferentes texturas - the three textures of carrots include raw, cooked, and purée. Served with a sauce made with macadamia nuts.

Carabineiro com molho de moqueca - I love carabineros so this was right up my alley. The moqueca was rich and lovely, with nice coriander mixed in.

The prawn was still fairly raw and tender, and the texture was wonderful.

Gambas com alho e malagueta - can't go wrong with this classic dish. The sauce was made with garlic and tomatoes for that nice kick of acidity.

Bacalhau à brás - this is probably my favorite dish from Portuguese cuisine, and I really wanted to see how it's done here. The bits of deep-fried potato are still very nice and crunchy, but the rest was more wet and mushy than I had expected... which was not necessary a bad thing. The mix of scrambled eggs and bacalhau was pretty nice, with some 'olive oil caviar' on top.

Polvo na brasa com arroz de grelos e molho de kimchi - the octopus tentacle was nice and tender, but the rice that came with it was pretty wet... but very tasty. It was fairly salty, though, and was on the border of being unacceptable.

Leitão crocante com batata frita e salada de laranja - OF COURSE we had to have the suckling pig! The crackling was, surprisingly, not paper-thin... but nevertheless still crunchy and delicous. There was also a very tasty layer of fat underneath the crackling.

The jus for the pig came in this little container...

French fries - love these.

Millefeuille - since this was meant to be an occasion to celebrate Foursheets' birthday, the hotel's signature millefeuille was served up as the cake.

This was really, really good! Loved the vanilla cream, and of course all those crispy layers of pastry!

Petits fours

I picked out a bottle of wine that would suit the particular palate of my wife:

2011 Dauvissat Chablis Le Clos - nice and toasty nose. There was some ripeness on the palate but overall this was still pretty lean, and definitely not buttery. After one hour the nose was more open, and now showed a hint of buttery notes.

This was a pretty happy meal, and we really enjoyed catching up with our friend after all these years of not seeing her. She even arranged a bouquet of flowers on my behalf, since I never buy any for Foursheets. What a nice day this turned out to be! Many thanks to our friend for her hospitality.

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