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Image 1: Macau. Today, it enjoys a reputation for being one of the best cities in Asia for fine dining, offering a simply incredible choice. During my stay here, I’ve made full use of that choice, visiting both Michelin 3-star restaurants among other places. Now, with only a day of my stay left in this small but beautiful island, I’ve decided to take advantage of an offer from the Foodie Hub Macau expert – The Tasting Room, a Michelin 2-star restaurant run by Chef Guillaume Galliot on level 3 of the Crown Towers Hotel.
Image 2: The hotel is also the home of the Jade Garden, a Michelin 2-star Cantonese restaurant, as well as a 1-star sushi Shinji. At the end of a long corridor is the entrance of The Tasting Room.
Image 3: The lounge area at the entrance of the restaurant opens up to a spacious…
Image 4: ... and elegant dining room with a lovely high ceiling. A glance at the menu showed that we were in for a lighter version of modern French cuisine, in contrast to our lunch at Robuchon, which was richer and heavier. As Chef Guillaume is from Loire, the huge selection of wines from Loire was expected!
Image 5: Compressed refresher towel
Image 6: The full tasting menu consisted of 7 courses, including cheese, and it began with an innovative amuse bouche, crab marshmallow…
Image 7: … and a combination banana with blue cheese. It was different – but it worked.
Image 8: A good selection of warm breads.
Image 9: The whole first half of the meal was a success. First came crab salad, accompanied by a refreshing mix of apple sorbet, avocado, caviar and pieces of chopped oyster with cucumber jelly underneath.
Image 10: Then came roasted foie gras and poached lobster on a layer of morel and artichoke, drizzled over with vin jaune. The flavours were rich, the textures varied - silky foie, bouncy lobster, spongy morel. Each component alone was delicious, and together they were even better!
Image 11: One of the signature dishes from Chef Guillaume is his contemporary take on classic French onion soup. First, we were served with onion ice cream, sitting on caramelised onion and covered by flakes of parmesan. Then hot onion soup was added. It was an amazing idea - the contrast in temperatures was especially effective. But after 3-4 spoonfuls of this sweet and thick soup, I struggled to finish the rest. I’d suggest reducing the portion and ratcheting down the sweetness levels to let more of the onion flavour shine through.
Image 12: That, I think, was the turning point of the meal for me. My stomach was still filled with thick soup as the next course, a Brittany sole cooked in champagne sauce, was served with leek confit and fennel salad. This would have tasted rather bland in any circumstances, but after such a powerful previous dish, I could hardly taste it at all.
Image 13: Then came the main dish – pigeon cooked in cocoa shell! This was nicely cooked with a pink centre and a pistachio encrusted skin, though the layer of fat underneath was a little too thick for my liking.
Image 14: Before the pre-dessert, cheese from les frères marchand, a well known cheesemaker in France.
Image 15: Beautiful and intense sweetness from the mango resting on lychee granite.
Image 16: The meal finished with chocolate banana millefeulle. This was an extremely enjoyable dessert, consisting of sorbet, ganache, and mouss. It wasn’t overly rich, but it offered a nice variation of chocolate textures, with the sweetness mainly coming with the banana. An excellent conclusion to a 3-hour meal.
Image 17: Finally, a cute plate of petits fours to finish - warm madeleines, popcorn and salted caramel cubes, and raspberry pâte de fruits.
Image 18: The service here was flawless with a multi-lingual team of staff able to deal with local and foreign diners – from Cantonese and Mandarin to English and French. The servers were patient and knowledgeable taking the time to describe each course and wine in detail. As to the menu, it clearly demonstrated the creativity of Chef Guillaume with its innovative combinations. Although I enjoyed the first half of the meal much more than the second half, every course was well thought-out and perfectly executed using good ingredients.