Macau’s culinary establishments offer diners mouthwatering range of cuisines to satisfy all tastes and budgets
As the only fine-dining restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental, Macau, Vida Rica does its best to fulfil every guest's gastronomic desire. For breakfast, it offers everything from cornflakes and scrambled eggs to congee and wok-fried vegetables. For lunch and dinner, there is crab bisque, African chicken and Szechuan-style poached turbot.
However, where Vida Rica shines is in its French cuisine, thanks to Burgundy-born Dominique Bugnand. The director of culinary operations specialises in traditional French favourites with a modern twist.
We sampled his Executive Business Set Lunch (238 patacas for two courses, 278 patacas for three courses) and found the flavours rich yet balanced and the presentation both elegant and playful. Tuna belly tataki, one of four appetisers, came perfectly seared and paired nicely with a smooth apple-fennel purée and chilli-soy dressing. A bit of salad, somen noodles and slice of avocado added to the colour and taste.
Grilled beef flank was presented with mashed potatoes, pumpkin "spaghetti", chanterelle mushrooms and black garlic sauce. We almost didn't need dessert. But the vanilla panna cotta with caramelised pineapple and coconut sorbet was a light and refreshing finish. Tama Lung
MANDARIN ORIENTAL, MACAU
AVENIDA DR SUN YAT SEN
(853) 8805 8918
One of four signature restaurants at the swank Altira Macau, Aurora offers modern Italian cuisine inspired by chef Michele dell'Aquila's home region in the "heel" of the Mediterranean nation. Seafood, spices and citrus flavours are just some of the specialities on the menu, which includes à la carte dishes and a four- or six-course degustation dinner.
We started on a fresh note with Mediterranean red tuna tartare, served on a brick of Italian sea salt and topped with a layer of Osetra caviar, followed by Sicilian red prawn carpaccio arranged in a perfect square and served with melon sorbet and fennel salad.
It was obvious that presentation is important here, with porcini mushroom soup delicately poured at the table and handmade tagliolini arranged in a tower with lashings of Tasmanian black truffle. But the taste and seasoning were equally thought out, with a pleasant balance of flavours and textures.
By the end of the meal, we were happy to sit back with a glass of wine and some tiramisu to enjoy the elegant interiors and stunning views towards the Macau peninsula. Pyrotechnics fans should book now for a front-row seat to the Fireworks Display Contest, which takes place throughout September and culminates on October 1. Tama Lung
10/F, ALTIRA MACAU
AVENIDA DE KWONG TUNG
(853) 2886 8868
Macau's first Portuguese fine-dining restaurant, Guincho a Galera, is a branch of the famed Michelin-star Fortaleza do Guincho in Portugal. The restaurant offers authentic and innovative Portuguese cuisine. The rich interior, featuring orange and gold thick carpeting and curtains, comfortable chairs, white table clothes and silverware, is classic with contemporary accents.
The menu is filled with Portuguese dishes, such as bacalhau and cataplana, and Macanese ones such as baked crab meat in shell, chicken with coconut flavoured rice and African chicken. Hotel Lisboa is the home of African chicken as the dish was created by a previous hotel chef. You get the authentic recipe here - no thick rich sauces but a lighter lime infused sauce over the marinated chicken.
The restaurant introduced some new menu items recently, including deliciously refreshing seafood with sea urchin mousse and avocado served in the shell and topped with foam. We also enjoyed seared goose liver in Portuguese port wine sauce, sautéed figs and girolles.
The roasted suckling pig, with mashed potatoes and vegetables, is a must-try for its generous portion of crispy skin atop succulent meat. The stewed seafood cataplana is served as it is in Portugal, in a special brass pot, and is packed with lobster, clams and other fruits of the sea with the flavours enriching the sauce.
There is a wide selection of desserts on the menu. We went for the Algarve clementine gratin with mandarin orange sorbet after which petit fours of mini-egg tarts and other delights are served whether diners are opting for à la carte or the set menus. Tama Lung
GUINCHO A GALERA
3/FL LISBOA TOWER, HOTEL LISBOA, MACAU
853 8803 7676