During our trip to Macau last year we found ourselves dining in the first three-Michelin-starred restaurant we’ve ever managed to get a table at, it being close to impossible to do such things in the UK without a) booking three years’ in advance and b) committing bank robbery on a grand scale to pay for it… so it would have been churlish to refuse when we were able to book a table for dinner just six days beforehand.
We went to Robuchon au Dôme for several reasons, including the fact that a friend we were with had been so hellishly busy on her 60th birthday that she’d not had a chance to celebrate it.
Advised to arrive reasonably well in advance of our booking we fetched up at 7.30 on the dot and were shown to the private lift that leads to the dome at the top of the rather garish (from the outside anyway) Grand Lisboa hotel. The restaurant itself is muted and not at all garish, though it does feature a very beautiful piano in the vestibule, and a stunning chandelier. The seating area is around the edge of the dome with views out over Macau and the Pearl River delta which could be breathtaking in the right weather conditions.
We started with a glass of Champagne, and then took the advice of friends who had been earlier in the week and opted for the Autumn set menu.
It took the decision making pain away and deciding to also opt for the wine pairing meant no one had to try and wrestle with the massive wine list that runs into literally thousands of bottles and would require a great deal of advance reading to get close to knowing what you might want…
The amuse bouches that arrived next featured tomato, cheese, and charcoal and were things of beauty, glossy, shiny and very tasty.
And much the same could be said for the bread. After showing us all the available breads we were served a basked containing some of each, while the waiter offered butter (salted or not) on massive posts which he then carved into curls for each of us.
What followed was superb. The first plate in front of us contained a veloute of sweetcorn which was a vibrant shade of yellow. Dotted through it were tiny, tiny curls of smoked duck. It was the sort of dish you wanted to simply wolf down but also eat very, very slowly to prolong the pleasure.
It was followed by caviar and crab, served in a tian surrounded by what was described as a crustacean jelly and cauliflower cream. It was a remarkable looking dish, very arresting to look at, and it tasted fabulous. The crab and caviar married together beautifully and it was a wonderful thing to do to cauliflower as well!
However for me the next course couldn’t be bettered with a cepes ravioli that also included chestnut pieces and a smattering of foie gras and iberico ham. It was so autumnal it felt as if it had transported you to a northern European woodland rather than somewhere just off the coast of south eastern China!
Next came the fish course, a perfectly executed piece of turbot, with a celery ragout, confit chestnut pieces and a lovely white wine emulsion. I love turbot anyway so this had me again trying to eat it all at once while simultaneously wanting to make it last as long as possible. It really isn’t easy being greedy…
After that my dining partner and I had ordered the beef for one of us and the pigeon for the other with the intent to share. The pigeon was again perfectly executed with a confit leg that melted in the mouth, and slices of beautifully tender breast meat.
The beef – which attracted a substantial supplement – was unlike any ribeye I’ve ever eaten before. Ribeye often seems loose and scrappy looking, no matter that its flavour is lovely. This came in substantial, solid looking cubes that melted in the mouth. Oh and it was served with – among other things – wild asparagus, baby artichokes and some amazingly puffed up slices of potato.
We were all flagging a bit by now, but there was a hot hazelnut souffle to deal with yet, with a chocolate marbre filling and some salty caramel ice cream to stir into it. This was the first of just two slight missteps for me, as I would have liked the ice cream to be much saltier. However, everything else was just fine with me.
Next up was the dessert trolley. If you dine here you really do need to be able to do at least some sort of justice to this. The pastry work is exquisite and has to be seen to be believed. I managed just two items, a mango mousse, and a slice of rum baba. Otherwise I was forced to wave the white flag to indicate surrender…
We had been offered cheese and had said yes to that but it seemed to get lost somewhere along the way which was the other very minor misstep. Or perhaps they just recognised that we’d had enough for now. It didn’t stop the presentation of another trolley, this one loaded with spectacular petit fours…
And with that, and a pot of peppermint tea, we were done and had to return to the real world several hundred Hong Kong dollars lighter in pocket but very content!
And just to cap it all, we were sent on our way with a lemon cake each “for the ladies”. It’s a full size loaf of a Madeira-type cake which survived the flight back and was beautiful with a cup of coffee. In fact there is still a whole loaf in the freezer, cut into single portion slices for future reference!
All in all it was an experience to eat there and vastly more affordable than if you were to do something similar in Europe.