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TREASURE dome

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 March, 2012, 12:00am

DRAMATIC SETTING


Joel Robuchon's restaurant recently moved from Hotel Lisboa to the Grand Lisboa Hotel and took on a new name. Its new home creates a dramatic setting for what it describes as French haute cuisine, which it definitely is. Situated at the top of the dome of the bulbous building, the place has fantastic views of the city. The d?r matches the high-end dishes, with a stunning crystal chandelier and tableware featuring top names such as Christofle, Riedel and Baccarat.


But we were there for the dining experience, and the set lunch was nothing short of memorable. For starters, the crabmeat 'ravioli' was actually cold and very refreshing. This was quickly followed by sublime caviar jelly with cauliflower cream, sweetcorn veloute and lemongrass cream, thin couscous and chive topped with caviar. Each little package melted in the mouth.


Next came pan-fried angled sea bass with five spices and verjus sauce, perfectly cooked and topped with finely diced vegetables to play on the textures and flavours. Another main was roasted guinea fowl and foie gras served with potato confit that was very tender.


Those with a sweet tooth will have a field day sampling items on the dessert trolley presented tableside. It has everything from Napoleon to pies, profiteroles and ice cream. There are also more than 8,000 wines on the list to suit every budget. BC


Robuchon au Dome
43/F, Grand Lisboa Hotel
Avenida de Lisboa
Macau
(853) 8803 7878
www.grandlisboahotel.com


NEED FOR FOCUS


One cannot help but wonder whether upmarket Portuguese food will prove something of a hard sell here? Guincho a Galera, which launched in January, exudes the same classy aura as Robuchon a Galera, which previously inhabited the space, and the menu is unashamedly fine dining, studded with luxuries: abalone, truffle and goose liver.


Not particularly Portuguese, however. So there's a need for more focus, but young chef Martinho Moniz knows that, and he's clearly got the necessary talent. He tightly rolls ham into a disc about the size of a five dollar coin; and caldo verde, the classic cabbage and potato soup is very well done - the cabbage is finely sliced gai lan in a ball at the centre of the bowl, which then disperses elegantly through the potato broth; and the chorizo which would normally float on the top is served on a cheese crisp balanced on the edge of the bowl. Other deconstructions work less well, such as entirely separating the clams from the pork (above), based on the famous Alentejo dish, and deep-frying the codfish for bacalhau a braz. Great to see serra cheese served alongside Portuguese wine. AJ


Guincho a Galera
3/F Lisboa Tower
Hotel Lisboa
2-4 Avenida de Lisboa
Macau
(853) 2888 3888
www.hotellisboa.com


ITALIAN RENAISSANCE


It has a happening cocktail bar for business networking, an outdoor terrace loved by Steve Wynn himself, impressive high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and a large open kitchen. It serves upmarket pasta dishes featuring quintessential Italian olives, capers, tomatoes, rocket and sausage; basic pizza for children made in an authentic oven; and looks over choreographed musical fountains that burst into life and colour every hour.


All sounds a bit much in one space? In fact Il Teatro, with its private lift well away from casino life, is a really well-done, kitsch-free restaurant with consistently charming service and an exciting menu that changes regularly, and keeping regulars' favourites. New is a melt-in-the-mouth grilled octopus salad, pungent with flat-leaf parsley and excellent olive oil; and succulent black cod simmering in a lemon-grass scented broth with crunchy discs of asparagus beneath. Milk-fed veal is delightfully served with pan-seared gnocchi and roasted artichoke. Combinations like that should have you coming back for more, and so does the dessert platter, a highlight of which is the sour-sweet lemon cream pastry. AJ


Il Teatro
Wynn Macau
Rua Cidade de Sintra
NAPE Macau
(853) 8986 3663
www.wynnmacau.com


ELEGANT SETTING


It must be a tough decision to close down a Michelin-starred restaurant but, in today's competitive Macau, restaurants are not judged on cooking alone, but have to look gorgeous, too. So in the location previously occupied by Tung Yee Heen, where even the fried rice was memorable, Kam Lai Heen has been opened, and what an elegant space it is in muted earth tones with little flashes of matt gold and jade green and twinkling branch-shaped chandeliers. It is a large space which can be ever-so- discreetly partitioned off to form private rooms. Chef Bong, from Singapore, is a whizz at presentation with a great eye for colour and form.


Wok-fried beef tenderloin is served with dices of the brightest red and green capsicums; and saut? scallops have a piece of choi sum speared through them. The superior sea treasure dumpling in an intense crab-laden broth, with just a touch of ginger, is utterly delicious and served in a classy plastic bag which is ceremoniously untied at the table. This is a lovely touch - a very sophisticated dish served in a manner reminiscent of buying take-away soup noodles on the street. Oh, and the fried rice remains noteworthy. AJ


Kam Lai Heen
2/F Grand Lapa
956-1110 Avenida da Amizade
Macau
(853) 2856 7888
www.mandarinoriental/grandlapa


IT'S SHOWTIME


Argentina meets Japan at this casual fine dining, Japanese-style steakhouse. With an open kitchen, Robata features authentic robatayaki and parilla charcoal grills - you might want to sit at the counter to enjoy the show. There are innovative dishes featuring bold, fresh flavours that are prepared from the traditional Japanese charcoal grill and the sushi bar. Start with some artistically prepared sushi. If you like steak, you will love the fine cuts of beef grilled to perfection on the parilla. Ask the sommelier to match your steak with the right vintage from the two walk-through wine cellars which have an excellent selection of wines, with a special focus on New World wines, or sake. The eatery also has a sake lounge, popular with Japanese expatriates based in, or visiting, Guangzhou on account of its impressive selection of Japanese alcoholic beverages. Following Japanese tradition, dishes arrive at your table one by one. Not to be missed is the perfectly marbled Rangers Valley Angus beef with Himalayan rock salt, sourced from Australia's largest farm. Free of hormones and bred according to Japanese practices, it is flavourful, tender and practically melts in your mouth. Fresh tuna fillets are served on Thursday. Make sure to leave some room for the yummy cr?s, which are expertly prepared at your table. MT


Robata Grill & Bar
6/F, Sofitel Guangzhou Sunrich
988 Guangzhou Da Dao Zhong
Tianhe District, Guangzhou
(86 20) 3883 8888
www.sofitel.com


GUSTY ITALIAN


The surroundings are elegant, the service is professional and friendly, and there is an open kitchen, so you can smell the aroma of your pizza baking. Start with antipasti. The baked eggplant with tomato and mozzarella cheese is sublime. For soup, you can't beat the velvety yet pungent crema di zucca con capesante e pancetta cruccante. The house speciality is seafood linguine, served with a savoury sauce of sun-ripened tomatoes that are bursting with flavour. For your second course, try the braised veal shank with saffron risotto. Served in a thick sauce, the well-seasoned veal falls off the bone, practically melting in your mouth. The risotto, meanwhile, is rich, creamy and packed with subtle, spicy nuances. For dessert, the chocolate ice cream with hazelnuts is gooey decadence. Il Ponte has an extensive wine list, but what sets this Italian eatery apart from the pack are those iced house specialities. The Campari over crushed ice with freshly squeezed orange juice is refreshing, with just the right balance between sweet and tart. The homemade limoncello, a lemony liquor that is aged for 45 days, is also a delight. But be forewarned, you won't be able to stop at one. Check out the set business lunches at midday. At 88 yuan (HK$108), they are a downright bargain. MT


Il Ponte
2/F, Hilton Guangzhou Tianhe
214 Linhe Xi Heng Road
Tianhe District, Guangzhou
(86 20) 6683 9999
www1.hilton.com


ROMANTIC INTERLUDE


A fine dining Japanese-style restaurant, Shizuku serves sushi, sashimi, appetisers, teppanyaki, tempura, Japanese-style hot pot and other hot dishes in quiet surroundings, making it perfect for romantic interludes or business gatherings. Not to be missed are the restaurant's signature grilled oysters with spicy miso sauce. Not only are the oysters fresh, the miso is made in-house. Other house specialities include poached vegetable salad with chicken meat sauce, marinated tuna and tofu salad with wasabi dressing, and Shizuku's take on nikujaga(pictured), a traditional Japanese dish. The poached vegetables are served warm in a bamboo basket with home-made miso sauce and a savoury chicken base. The marinated tuna is steeped in a special soy sauce, delicately seared, then sliced, and finally placed on the tofu, making it appear like sushi. Served with fresh green salad and wasabi dressing, it strikes a perfect balance between saltiness and sweetness, with the right amount of heat. A traditional Japanese favourite, nikujaga is a simmered beef and vegetable dish (pictured) that has been stuffed into a potato ball. At Shizuku, the potato ball is fashioned into the shape of a bun, where the crust is made from grated potato with simmered potato, vegetables and beef inside. Together with the usual selection of fine wines, there is a great selection of Japanese sake. MT


Shizuku
2/F, JW Marriott Hotel Shenzhen
6005 Shennan Boulevard
Futian District, Shenzhen
(86 755) 2269 8888
www.marriott.com


MODERN AND FRIENDLY


Caf?Marco is a fine dining Western restaurant that presents a choice of a buffet and ?la carte menu for diners. It is modern, friendly and suitable for business gatherings and family dining. The menu offers selections from appetisers, salads and soup to pasta, pizza, mains, grilled meat and Asian classics. The buffet has well-laid-out stations for salads, pasta, hot dishes, seafood, sushi, noodles, desserts, fruit and ice cream. The menu has been revamped. Not to be missed is the beef noodle soup, featuring stir-fried slices of Australian beef tenderloin with black pepper sauce, and bell peppers served with steamed rice. The eatery's signature dish is the Singapore-style lobster, wok-fried in special spicy chilli sauce, served with either French bread or rice to mop up the delicious sauce. The fresh whole steamed fish, served tableside, and Australian prime beef tenderloin are also not to be missed. The extensive wine list favours New World vintages from the United States, Australia, Argentina and Chile, and Old World wines from France, Italy and Spain. MT


Caf?Marco
1/F, Marco Polo Shenzhen
28 Fuhua 1st Road
Futian, Shenzhen
(86 755) 8298 9888 ext 8358
www.marcopolohotels.com


TOP OF THE WORLD


Cielo 51 Italian Restaurant is located at the top of the tallest building in Foshan, the Swiss?tel Foshan. Affording magnificent views of the city, it is cosy, trendy, and serves stylish Italian cuisine in elegant surroundings. The menu runs from starters and soups to pasta, pizza, risotto, main courses and dessert. Start with the velvety cream soup of porcini mushrooms, made from ingredients imported from Italy. Move on to the saffron risotto with smoked salmon, made with saffron from Spain and risotto from Italy. For mains, the beef carpaccio, comprising beef fillet, roasted bell peppers, Parmesan cheese and truffle oil, is highly recommended, as is the filetto di manzo, which is made of US beef tenderloin and comes with crispy oven potatoes with lemon, bacon, onions and braised cherry tomato served with a creamy morel sauce. Make sure to leave room for the decadent home-made tiramisu. There are five semi-private rooms. A spring menu will be launched next month. It will feature costoletta di agnello, or lamb chops, from Italy. Cielo 51 has a wine list featuring Louis Jadot, Bourgogne Pinot Noir AOC from France, Ruffino, Nobile di Montepulciano Lodola Nuova DOCG from Italy, and Rawson's Retreat Riesling from Australia. MT


Cielo 51 Italian Restaurant
51/F, Swiss?tel Foshan
1 Chengmentou West Road
Chancheng District Foshan
(86 757) 8236 2888
www.swissotel.com


SUBTLE STYLES


Regional Chinese fare with a focus on the subtle cooking styles of Guangdong province balanced with fiery Sichuan and Hunan cuisines are featured at this innovative Chinese restaurant. Don't expect the tried and true - order one of your old favourites, and expect a surprise as most of the dishes are given a new twist. Take the sweet and sour pork for example. The fatty pork is dipped in a crispy batter, with just the right texture. The sauce is sweet, thick and gooey as you would expect. However, those yellow nuggets are not chunks of pineapple - they are cubes of ginger. As for the perfectly roasted Peking duck, rather than being served with paper thin cr?s, you get spongy oatmeal pancakes that have been steamed. They are moist, chewy and full of texture. The pan-fried shrimp with spicy coconut sauce is light and crunchy, with just enough heat to add interest. The menu changes each month, according to which ingredients are in season. With stylish surroundings and a decidedly modern take on traditional Chinese d?r, Canal Luna reflects an exciting new trend in the dining out scene in southern China. Check your preconceived notions about Chinese cuisine at the door and keep an open mind. MT


Canal Luna
3/F, InterContinental Foshan
20 Denghu East Road
Nanhai District Foshan
(86 757) 8626 8888
www.ichotelsgroup.com

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