Portofino is a lovely respite from the excitement in the casinos and numerous shops at The Venetian. The Italian restaurant features a sophisticated yet laid-back rustic setting, with lots of natural materials used in the décor, ranging from stone to wood, and intricately tiled floors.
For starters, the compressed watermelon is wrapped in Italian ham and garnished with goat cheese, frisee and basil that are refreshing and light, while the minestrone Genovese is hearty and comforting, chock full of vegetables and topped with pesto.
The seafood risotto is another impressive dish filled with fresh razor clams, giant prawn, crab meat, lobster, mussels and octopus mixed in a flavourful risotto.
The main of wagyu M7 sirloin arrived medium-rare as requested, and sat on a bed of rocket leaves with cherry tomatoes and parmesan cheese. While the meat was juicy, it was unfortunately over seasoned with salt.
It was the same with the side of zucchini in tomato sauce.
Nevertheless, an interesting dish is the Portuguesestyle duo of Atlantic cod, stewed with capers and olives and pan-fried with pata negra, or Iberico ham.
The fish was cooked perfectly and flaked beautifully on the fork. Another solid main is the marinated spring chicken seasoned with lemon and rosemary.
For dessert, the white chocolate mousse with poppy seeds is accompanied with seasonal berries. Bernice Chan
THE VENETIAN MACAO-RESORT-HOTEL
ESTRADA DA BAIA DE N. SENHORA DA ESPERANCA S/N
(853) 8118 9950
Mediterranean sunny skies, fresh seafood and vegetables are the tastes on the plates at Aurora, the Italian fine-dining restaurant at Altira, presented by chef de cuisine Michele Dell’Aquila.
A refreshing start is the smoked Sicilian red prawn carpaccio, complemented with an innovative scoop of cantaloupe sorbet garnished with fennel salad and yuzu jelly cubes for an added layer of flavour.
Next came the signature dish, spaghetti chitarra verrigni with Boston lobster, Alaskan king crab and cherry tomato sauce from Pachino, Italy. The seafood was cooked perfectly, and the tastes fused beautifully with the fresh sauce and the al dente pasta.
The main course of Australian wagyu beef tenderloin arrived at the table with earthy smells emanating from the shaved black truffle from Tasmania. The beef, grilled medium-rare, was tender and juicy, and the plate was equally filled with various vegetables, from beans and carrots to dollops of potato and green pea puree.
If that wasn’t enough, the restaurant’s well-known dessert of tiramisu is unlike any other. Served in a small glass, one can see the various layers, but a deep spoonful will reveal such creative touches as crunchy chocolate pearls, coffee jelly and, of course, marscapone cream, resulting in various textures and flavours that are unforgettable. Bernice Chan
LEVEL 10, ALTIRA
AVENIDA DE KWONG TUNG
(853) 2886 8868
SEEING THE LIGHT
The extravagant interior of Don Alfonso 1890 features elaborate chandeliers and etched crystal glasses that betray the fresh, clean flavours on the plate which are nothing short of extraordinary.
Chef Alfonso Iaccarino's policy is not to use cream or butter in his cooking, and chef de cuisine Vincenzo Castaldo follows that philosophy, creating light dishes but also revealing the taste of the ingredients.
Take the tomato soup, for instance. Made from the ripe tomatoes from Iaccarino's farm, the soup bursts with flavour and is paired with fresh crabmeat and dried oregano. The same could be said for the artichoke heart topped with buffalo mozzarella, though we found the fresh mint overpowered the main vegetable.
Nevertheless, for mains the meats are respected and there are no juices flowing out; it is all meat, all flavour. The organic lamb chops were perfectly cooked medium-rare so the meat was very tender, while the Kagoshima beef tenderloin was a revelation in taste.
Finally, the signature dessert is a pretty piece of edible art. The delicate Neapolitan pastry that flakes easily and is filled with cinnamon and wild sour cherries makes for a hearty finish, while the almond mousse with candied apricot, fresh rose sorbet and baby lemon balm had a creamy texture that was light and refreshing. Bernice Chan
DON ALFONSO 1890
3/F, GRAND LISBOA
AVENIDA DE LISBOA
(853) 2828 3838