Another awesome review from the Two Bears’ friend Alex!
It was actually a staff member of the hotel I stayed at in Hong Kong who put me on to The Tasting Room. She asked about my travels and I told her I was travelling to eat at some great restaurants, and I asked if she had any tips for me in Macau. The Tasting Room was her advice.
And so, I got to Macau a couple of days later and scoped out the location, a 10km drive to another island seemed fine so I booked in.
I arrived at my destination with plenty of time to spare, which was needed given I had to follow my way through a labyrinth that was a large shopping/hotel complex in order to find the right hotel in order to get to the third floor to find my space for the evening. I was greeted by four hostesses, one of whom promptly led me to my table. Having four seems like overkill, given when I arrived I was the only guest in the restaurant (At 7pm).
I was met by the sommelier who asked about my preferred drink options and left me with a list to browse over.
Some small bites arrived at my table, a little crispy potato and smoked salmon number, an eclair filled with foie gras and topped with passionfruit and a beautifully crisp tempura prawn. By this time I had chosen my drink (Don’t ask, I took recommendations all night long on this front) and was ready to order the degustation menu.
My first course was smoked salmon, perfectly brined and smoked in house. It was covered with a watercress puree/jelly and covered with an assortment of French heirloom vegetables and shoots. This was wonderfully light dish to start, as good a first course as I’ve ever had.
Next up was lobster. A very clever dish, this iteration came with a couple of different preperations (carpaccio, jelly and mousse) sitting a base of fresh watermelon. Some caviar (Specifically produced by a farm in the North China Sea for The Tasting Room) and a little avocado puree finished the dish. I loved it, the watermelon was a very clever touch to add some texture and freshness. The lobster itself was wonderful (And also French, this time from Brittany). I loved it.
Next up, foie gras. Not the canned stuff Australia has, this was the real deal, all the way from France (I heard this a lot). Poached first then seared, it gave the foie gras a very silky texture, and drew away some of the bitterness you sometimes find overpowering if you’re not a regular eater. (I am certainly not a regular). But, I do adore foie gras and I’ll often order it anyway when overseas just for something different. The double duck consommé jelly and cherry compote paired perfectly, this was a truly standout dish.
Seaweed butter poached turbot. I don’t need to add anything else. The asparagus was a wonderful addition too.
I had a choice of beef or pigeon for my main. I love pigeon, but the dish on the website’s menu listed beetroot and pomegranate as accompaniments, two things that don’t necessarily set my world on fire. Imagine my surprise (And unbridled joy) at discovering the menu had been updated with a new version! So, pigeon it was! A perfectly medium rare breast, with a lovely ‘croquette’ (For lack of a better term) made from the braised leg meat, some turnip and redcurrant, with a beautifully reduced sauce made this dish everything I hoped it would be. This was a wonderful main, I’m very happy with my choice.
A lovely Frenchman approached me with a cheese trolley. I love cheese. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that before. I asked for his recommendations (This is a way for me to signal that I’m all for trying something different, new and exciting. Maybe something a little special, or something the waiter likes I may overlook.) He gave me a selection of 6 cheeses of different typings (Camambert, comte, a couple of washed rinds and finishing with a roquefort). I love cheese.
A pre-dessert next, this time all about the seasonal rhubarb. With a sorbet, mousse and piece of poached rhubarb, this certainly delivered. The addition of dulce de leche was a very welcome sweetness.
You’re able to choose your dessert from the menu, and as soon as I saw mille feuille with vanilla, passionfruit and mango, I was sold. This was delightful. Crisp puff, strong vanilla cream, fresh mango, and beautifully fragrant lime zest made this a dessert I won’t soon be forgetting!
I had coffee, and some petit fours came to my table, five little items that I only just had room for.
The wonderful manager took me into the kitchen to meet chef, a wonderful experience in any fine dining restaurant. The chance to thank all of the staff is something I can never pass up.
After a long conversation surrounding a near complete collection of France’s Michelin guides on display at the entrance, I departed, reflecting on an amazing meal, with amazing service in an amazing setting. If the earlier referenced hotel employee ever reads this, my sincerest thanks for an exceptional recommendation.
Overall, I cannot recommend The Tasting Room highly enough. Sure, it’s a little difficult to find, but like it says in the Michelin guide, it is certainly woth a detour to find it. This is every bit deserving of it’s two stars, and it could easily be in contention to win a third. A very elegant dining room (With very comfortable chairs and well spaced tables), with exceptional food and equally outstanding service? Please don’t change, and please Michelin, don’t be shy, a three star outside the Grand Lisboa hotel wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Value: ★★★★★✔ (Again, very subjective. I was very happy with the price to experience ratio though)
Atmosphere: ★★★★☆ (Again, it was a pretty quiet night. The music level was great, and later on a few more tables improved things)
Address: Level 3, Nüwa Hotel, City of Dreams, Estrada do Istmo, Cotai, Macau
Tip! Go. Just go. You’ll be hard pressed to find anything more complete in Macau.