For fine French dining in Macau, Robuchon and Tasting Room are virtually impossible to compete with – a task made more difficult by the calibre of their wine lists. So it was prudent and inspired for Sofitel to design a restaurant with just 28 seats (seating can be variously configured), open five nights a week (Wednesday to Sunday) and keep the cooking traditional to the point where dishes such as chateaubriand (650 patacas for two) are prepared tableside.
The space brings the intimacy of a chef’s table and has a private, exclusive feel. It can be quite romantic and has a stunning view over the beautifully lit 17th-century Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora do Monte de Sao Paulo.
Terrine of foie gras was paired with a deliciously flavoured and textured fig jam, while veal filet mignon arrived in an intensely flavoured red wine reduction alongside intensely flavoured gnocchi with fresh tomato and parmesan. Dublin Bay prawns ravioli were melt-in-the-mouth delicious, topped with just a touch of soft foam.
There was a modern moment with dessert, too, when colourful berries were served on a green tea emulsion inside a perfectly formed white chocolate apple, with a quenelle of raspberry sorbet nestling nearby. Annabel Jackson
SOFITEL MACAU AT PONTE 16
RUA DO VISCONE PACO DE ARCOS
(853) 8861 7240
Contemporary preferences for less oil and lighter, vegetable-based dishes are pulled off by an unusual chef partnership: Chow Chung and Louie Wong.
They prepare the softest of noodles with spinach purée, truffle oil and wheat flour; an airy little green pile topped with maitake mushroom and a slice of black truffle. Slices of bamboo piths and pumpkin are tied together with pieces of mustard greens into a little bundle and then served on pumpkin purée.
Barbecued suckling pig on glutinous rice, crispy skin on the top and crispy rice on the base, sounds heavy but isn't: there's no obvious sweetness, and the lean pork is mixed with chopped mushrooms, the essence of mushroom flavour oozing into the rice.
On the dim sum menu, there is some detailed pastry work. The finest layers enclose a delicious wagyu beef preparation, while a mini-mutton creation is decorated with black and white sesame seeds. Annabel Jackson
AVENIDA DR SUN YAT SEN
(853) 8802 3888
The choice of seven finely tuned broth bases, stacks of high-quality ingredients to cook in them, tank loads of fish and seafood to choose from, plus innovative Asian-inspired dim sum, Xin translates as "freshness". But this creation of an upmarket individual hot-pot buffet restaurant is as fresh as the bountiful produce itself.
A signature restaurant of what will soon be Macau's largest hotel with 4,000 rooms, the space is itself large (more than 200 seats), noisy and ever so lively.
The broths range from Sichuan and Cantonese to Vietnamese and Malaysian, and your choice bubbles away on your individual hot plate while you cook your own selections of clams and mussels, fish balls, mushrooms, pork belly, beef strips, bean curd, greens.
There are also gourmet hot pots featuring Kobe beef and prime lobster. Fill up on hot pot and side dishes, as the dessert table appears an afterthought. The only downside is the amount of waste. Annabel Jackson
SHERATON MACAO HOTEL
(853) 2882 9188
Topics: Food and Drink Dumplings Hospitality