The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, 3 July 2014

A lavish Gala Dinner @ Robuchon au Dôme, Macau

A couple of weekends ago, we were invited by hubby's relatives to join them for dinner in Macau for a belated celebration for hubby's birthday. At first, we didn't think it could happen - we'd have to arrange for night-time babysitting while we made the trip, and with Macau being a 60-minute ride by ferry from Hong Kong (plus commute time to/from the ferry terminals on both sides, and going through immigration), I was admittedly deterred by the very late return trip back to HK. However this would be a trip worth making, as our favourite French chef Joël Robuchon was holding a Gala Dinner at his restaurant Robuchon au Dôme at the Grand Lisboa in Macau, and we would get the chance to meet the guy! So we made it happen. It involved booking a hotel room for an overnight stay, carting both kids over to Macau with us, and arranging for someone trustworthy to come along with us and look after them for a few hours that night after they went down for their bedtime while we attended the dinner. And what an amazing meal it was! The food was excellent, and we couldn't have asked for better company. I have great respect for hubby's aunt and her husband, and I have learnt so much from them since we got to know them on a more personal level when we first visited Hong Kong for our honeymoon almost 10 years ago. It was such a privilege to accept their invitation, and to meet Robuchon! The restaurant was nothing short of extravagant, in matching with the equally extravagant 5-star Grand Lisboa. Service was personal and faultless (I enjoyed listening to the friendly banter and occasional teasing between L and the staff serving us), food presentation was perfect, and everything was just such a lovely experience. Our relatives are very generous, so we didn't pay for the meal, but my heart would probably skip a beat if I saw the bill (which included three bottles of very good wines). We have now had the Robuchon experience in four different cities - Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, and now Macau - and this one rates as the most opulent of them all (yes, even more so than Le Chateau in Tokyo which also holds 3 Michelin stars).

Upon stepping out of the lift, we were greeted with a beautiful grand piano, and crystals everywhere!

Check out that huge crystal chandelier hanging from the dome-shaped ceiling above the grand piano:

Bread cart with all the baked goodies, ready to be wheeled to each table for guests to select! Robuchon's breads alone is worth dining at his restaurants. The cart was standing near the lifts, and I could not resist taking a photo. This is just the top tier - there were two more levels under it:

The printed menu, one for each dinner guest to keep track of what is being eaten (it was all in French, so we relied on what was told us by the staff as each course was served):

Interesting candle holder:

Our apéritif as chosen by aunt-in-law, who has an excellent nose for wines, was a bottle of 1996 vintage Krug:

Huge slabs of salted and unsalted butters were brought to the table for each guest to make their preferred choice:

An assorted selection of delicious bread, chosen by our waitress because we couldn't decide what to pick:

Smooth and creamy butter:

The night's menu was designed and executed by Robuchon himself, nine courses in all. Food presentation was top-notch, the ingredients on each plate were well-matched, and I loved the gorgeous dinnerware. Towards the end of the night, Robuchon came out of the kitchen to greet guests, shake hands and take photos. Moments before I got to shake his hand, I decided to say to Robuchon: "Bonsoir, c'est délicieux, merci beaucoup", and I think he understood what I said. I'm still waiting on the restaurant to email the photo of our table with the master chef and his sous chefs, so you'll just have to take my word that we met the legend in person.

The amuse-bouche was a little bite of delicious - herby, cheesy and full of savoury flavours:

Pour commencer - velours tremblotant en caillé rafraîchi au vert de kale et aux sucs de tomate épicée. To start with, we were presented with a chilled kale and tomato soup that had been set into a lightly gelified form. Quite refreshing and the texture was smooth and velvety on the tongue:

Le Caviar "Grand Cru de l'Impératrice" sur une aiguillette de saumon d'Ecosse confit, des ravioles maraîchères, une fleurette au wasabi - caviar on top of Scottish salmon confit, with vegetables 'dumplings' and whipped wasabi. I adored the salmon confit which had a smooth texture that seemed to melt on the tongue. The whipped wasabi lent a subtle flavour, and the vegetable 'dumpling' was interesting and different:

A glass of 2002 vintage Meursault-Perrières Premier Cru - a light-bodied chardonnay that was so easy to drink because it was satiny-textured with a good acid/fruit balance. Definitely one to take note of:

Le Foie Gras d'Oie à la gelée chaude de poule chaude au curcuma et quelques primeurs couleurs de saison - goose foie gras with warm chicken jelly with turmuric and some seasonal vegetables. This was a lovely way to present the foie gras:

The turmeric chicken jelly complemented the foie gras base very well:

The next course was served under a glass domed lid:

Le Homard du Maine - rôti aux asperges vertes "meunière" sur une galette de riz dorée aux pousses d'épinards, escorté d'un velouté coraillé. Maine lobster with roasted asparagus on a crispy spinach rice cake and drizzled with a lobster roe velouté. This was decadence on a plate. The lobster was seasoned and cooked to perfection, and the vegetables and rice cake provided a textural contrast:

The lobster bisque that came with the lobster plate. Utterly rich and full of seafood flavours. I loved it, but my dining companions were not as keen on the strong flavours from the lobster's tomalley (I do not shy away from the 'guts' of the prawns and crabs either):

Le Black Cod - caramélisé et ravigoté d'un jus perlé au poivre noir de Malabar, pak choy et émulsion au lait de coco. Black cod with caramelised Malabar black pepper ravigote, pak choy and coconut milk foam. The cod was so juicy and sweet, and the sweet subtle peppery sauce flavoured the fish well without overpowering. The foam was surprisingly rich in coconut aroma:

Le Boeuf Wagyu mitonné au miso rouge, zestes de gingembre avec un medley de légumes arlequin aux girolles et amandes fraîches - Wagyu beef simmered in red miso and ginger with a medley of vegetables, mushrooms and fresh almonds. The beef was so tender with a melt-in-the-mouth texture and bursting with flavour from the miso and ginger. It was my first time having fresh almonds, and I'm stating the obvious here, but they did taste fresh - a little moist and slightly crunchy, and not very nutty at all:

The view that we could enjoy from our table. All tables are window tables, thanks to the circular design of the restaurant at the Grand Lisboa's dome top:

No less than three courses were served for desserts.

La Melba de fruits rouges, douceur de citron glacé à la fraise - red fruit melba with lemon curd and iced strawberry - a deliciously light dessert that was both sweet and tart:

Warm strawberry sauce poured over the melba:

La Cerise Céleste pochée à la bière fruitée Kriek, crémeux au chocolat manjari avec maltesers - cherries poached in Kriek with cream of Manjari chocolate and Maltesers. This celestial creation was my least favourite course, only because I'm not a fan of Morello cherries. The chocolate part was delicious though!

Rose à la liqueur de litchi - the last sweet to accompany tea or coffee. A rose cake in flavour and form, with lychee liquer. I loved it:

As what seems to be the custom with Robuchon's dinners, we got to take home an edible souvenir from the kitchen, a moist citrus cake. The 5-year-old boy loved it:

What a beautiful night, with gorgeous food and lovely company. Robuchon au Dôme is definitely one to try for a special occasion.

Robuchon au Dôme
43rd Floor
Grand Lisboa Hotel
Avenida de Lisboa, Macau
Tel. +853 8803 7878

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