March 17, 2024

B's detour day 4: death by jasmine

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While I'm generally a creature of habit, I do occasionally try out new restaurants where I've received positive feedback from friends. This time around in Macau, I was determined to check out Imperial Court (金殿堂) at the MGM Macau. In my years of somewhat frequent visits to Macau, I had never once dined in one of the MGM casinos. In fact, I've never even stepped foot in either of the casinos. So this would be a first...

But the evening did not start well. The second I stepped foot into MGM Macau, my olfactory senses were overwhelmed by the house perfume that permeated every corner of the casino, including the restaurants. I love the scene of jasmine, but I don't want it shoved up my nose for the whole 2 hours or so. And certainly not while I'm dining or trying to enjoy a nice bottle of wine.

Once again I'm trying to be conservative when ordering, which was why I could't order up the sunflower chicken that Foursheets loves so much, because it only comes as a whole chicken. Oh well...

Our amuse bouche was a green pepper stuffed with cuttlefish mousse, which was very tender and nice.

Crispy fried shrimp with seaweed flakes on toast (香酥海苔鍋貼蝦) - this turned out differently than I had imagined. Loved the crunchy, fried toast. Loved the shrimp on top. Why was there a piece of seaweed at the bottom when it was just loose and not attached to the toast?! And what was the deal with the dried fish furikake (ふりかけ) on top, when the menu said there would be seaweed flakes?! Suddenly this tastes like some kid just sprinkled stuff on his bowl of steamed rice.

Crispy fried chicken skin with shrimp mousse and salted fish flakes (嶺南魚香脆皮百花雞) - I love these "chicken" dishes where they remove part or all of the meat, and replace it with shrimp mousse. The presentation here is quite pretty, with crispy noodles arranged to evoke images of fishing nets as a tribute to the history of Macau. Finally, salted fourfinger threadfin (馬友) was shaved on top for a little pick up in terms of flavor.

Beneath the paper-thin crispy chicken skin is a mousse made of three different shrimps and prawns: white shrimp (白蝦) from Vietnam, tiger prawns (花竹蝦), and shrimps from New Caledonia (藍天使蝦). The texture was very springy and bouncy, and pan-fried at the bottom to enhance the texture.

Steamed crab claw with egg white (玉液芙蓉蒸鮮蟹鉗) - we wanted to introduce this classic dish to my friend. I've always loved steamed crab claw with egg whites, and the superior broth gives a little highlight to the dish.

Simmered baby cabbage with conpoy in chicken broth (瑤柱濃雞湯浸娃娃菜) - Chinese people always need their veg, and this was good.

Steamed cabbage money bags with wild mushroom in supreme sauce (鮮菌素石榴球) - I was surprised that the money bags came with a cabbage wrapper instead of the usual tofu skin, but I really enjoyed this.

Eight treasures suckling pig with morel mushroom (羊肚菌八寶焗釀乳豬) - I wanted to try their version of the "suckling pig maki" so I ordered this up.

This was OK, but then again, anything with crispy crackling and a layer of fat underneath would naturally taste good. The issue is the rice stuffing, which could easily fall out since the crackling isn't rolled all the way around. Tasted good with the morels.

Sweetened red bean soup with vintage tangerine peel and sesame glutinous dumplings (廿年陳皮紅豆沙湯丸) - sadly the fragrance of the 20-year-old tangerine peel wasn't very prominent.

Tart with intage tangerine peel cream (陳皮忌廉撻)

Sakura and red bean cookie (櫻花紅豆酥) - what sakura flavor???

I figured we should take it easy with the wines tonight, and I left the ordering up to my friend.

2015 Cloudy Bay Te Koko - classic nose with lots of green apple and muscat grapes.

2010 Canon - drank after 45 minutes of decanting. Honestly, I couldn't smell anything other than the jasmine perfume of the hotel. What a waste of a nice bottle of wine.

Well, I thought the food was pretty good overall, and some of the dishes were pretty creative. Unfortunately, I can't bear to sit through a few more hours of being assaulted by that jasmine perfume, so I guess that's the end of my dining experiences at any MGM casino...

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