Joel Robuchon au Dome – Grand Lisboa Macau
The restaurant moved from one hotel/casino in Macau to another across the road, I didn’t manage to visit the restaurant at its previous site (now a imported Portuguese Michelin starred restaurant – but not yet rated here) so this is a first. It is on the top floor of a really OTT hotel and sits under a big steel and glass dome – a really modern space age setting. But the restaurant in decorated in faux French, second empire mismatch of styles which jar the senses. The staff are wonderful - but they need to be because it is an odd space. The tables are arranged in two circles around the Dome which makes it tricky for all the trolleys to navigate the space.
It is also far from cheap, three choices, an ALC, a short degustation (MOP1,588++) and a more extensive one (MOP2,188++), on top of this is a wine list with no bottle under MOP700++ and most in the MOP1,000++ bracket. This not going to be a cheap meal!
The food is, however, pretty good:
We start with a monumental bread trolley with all sorts of breads, we do for a selection which turns out to be pretty good. The butttter trolley then arrives with two large mounds of Bordier butter, again we choose one of each. Then an amuse which is a perfect cheese gouger and a wonderfully tasty salmon sandwich. On to the meal proper:
1. Le Caviar – surprise of in fine coral jelly with aniseed cream – served in the tin which is obviously on trend these days. It’s nice but quite subtle.
2. La Tomate – salad of tomato, olive oil with basil, tomato essence topped with mozzarella cheese. This arrives on two dishes, a black jelly dotted with little wite dots topped with an orange or green gel, the side plate with a large slice of tomato. The black jelly turns out to be clear tomato jelly with the plate having a black indentation (mind games), the dots are intense cheese with herb gets. It all works really well and has a fantastic depth of flavor.
3. L’oeuf Organique – slow cooked organic farm egg with sautéed girolle and lettuce veloute under a crispy tuile –this is an amazing dish the veloute has a beautiful intensity and the other elements all contribute fantastically to the overall dish.
4. L’Amandi – pand fried Amandai fillet with crispy skin and baby arctichoke and barigoule jus – another standout, wonderfully crispy/scaly fish in an a great soupy sauce. Not certain how they cook the skin to get this effect, which I have seen in a few modern restaurants. It is very good,
5. A choice of, Le Canard de Challans – duck breast and foie gras cooked in rock salt with pepper in reduction of seasonal fruits. Or, Le Boeuf “Kagodhima” – Grilled Kagoshima beef with slow-simmered shallot in red wine served with potato soufflés. We choose one of each, and both are a slight let down, they are really rich which we struggle with after the richness of previous courses. The beef is a little tough but flavoufull, and the duck, is well duck.
6. Le Rhum Ambre – rum punch with fragrance of exotic spices, this is almost a pre-dessert and it is very, very good. It is like a little rum baba immersed in a intense sauce with popping candy - very moreish indeed.
7. La Symphonie des Douceurs – dessert trolley. And what a magnificent trolley it is. An incredible choice, with lots of takes on classic French desserts, a lovely poached pineapple, a great millfeulle, iles flotante, a Paris brest and a classic baba-a-rhum. And that is just what I hoovered up!
And then to end coffee or tea and the final trolley, a wonderful selection of petite fours….I am restricted to a mere eight by my spoilsport wife.
Overall a good meal with some excellent food, great service and very fine wine. But it is really, really expensive our meal came in at MOP5,730 (US$720) for two with wine which was MOP1,600. If the room was better, if the ambiance was better it maybe OK value (although the wine needs to come down by 50%), so whilst I loved the food I am not going to rush back. I need to try JR in HK and do a compare and contrast.
The past month has been a busy period for me; finally I had a time to wrap up the last place I would like to review from my HK Spring trip this year. I took a morning ferry to Macau to have lunch at the latest Robuchon au Dome. I’ve been to Robuchon Galera about 5+ years ago and didn’t really have a good experience there. Time has passed and the restaurant got a new “home” now; there’re plenty of positive notes about Robuchon Macau since my dinner long time ago so I thought why not giving another try? Even though it’s lunch, I opted to have a full tasting menu. As a matter of fact, I consulted with Chef Semblat via the restaurant reception’s help to devise my own menu. It looked good on paper and the time finally come to taste them on my palate.
My top 3 (excellent) dishes are:
-Azerbaijan king crab served with romaine, olive oil and mozzarella. The crab was succulent and very well seasoned; it’s enhanced by fresh vegetables and parmesan cheese. A fragrant dish with some complex taste, the presention matched with the plate. Alaskan crab could make it even better probably
-The best thing about Spring seasonal items is arguablly French morels. The chef prepared a delicious morel ravioli with its juice/foam; the mushroom was earthy and flavorful. On the contrary, the green asparagus on the side was average
-I’ve always been curious about Robuchon’s famous dessert known as Le Sphere and it’s actually worth its reputation. For my case the sugar ball contained mousse, cream and strawberry. A nice display of sweet, sour and refreshing flavors yet they’re balanced. The sorbet was probably the weakest element
Besides the dishes above, you can expect plenty other good stuffs at any Robuchon restaurants. For instance:
-The caviar. I ate generous serving of caviar in fine coral jelly. It’s as good as when I had it for the first time in Vegas: a lot of briny caviar was in contrast to the sweet crab meat & anise cream. Caviar on warm scallop with lemon grass cream was very pleasant and delicate. But the last part of caviar trio was disappointing – I referred to caviar on cauliflower mousse with croutons. The cauliflower was too much and rather bland (the “worst” among Robuchon’s caviar dishes I’ve ever tasted )
-I enjoyed the delicate amadai’s flesh texture and taste. The main flavor was derived from the barigoule jus, tomato and bacons; the most interesting part was the crisp scales
-Grilled A4 kagoshima beef was rich and delicious; almost as refined as the one I had at Amber a day earlier. The shallot and parsley puree provided some flavor contrast. I wish they had served the famous mashed potato here instead of the potato souffle
There were also some dishes that I thought were quite mediocre by 3-star meal standard
-The boston lobster. I had high expectation earlier, after all it’s really hard to go wrong with any lobster dish. The claw tempura was greasy and cold when arrived at my table; the bisque was not hot with weak taste; the pasta was average with minimum amount of lobster underneath. The only good part was lobter royal, it has a nice jus/butter and roes
-The seared foie gras was too coarse. You would expect smooth and refine duck liver in the restaurant of this calibre although the flavor was Ok
-After a nice dessert in le sphere, the 2nd dessert turned out to be so-so. It’s unusual for Robuchon to serve ordinary chocolate dessert. The ice cream ‘sandwiched’ in cream puff was forgetable; the chocolate coulis was rather cold and not really tasty; the vanilla ‘cream’ was the only good thing on the plate
There are 2-3 other dishes not reviewed that would fall in between the first 2 categories above. I suppose the more dishes you serve, the riskier it can become since the Chef might be bound to make more ‘mistakes’ a long the way. Despite a few ‘negative’ aspects, one is guaranteed to have a satisfying meal here – mine is without exception. Robuchon Macau serves French cuisine executedconsistently at high levels; I got a better meal this time compared to my dinner at Robuchon galera. And the best part of Robuchon au Dome is actually the price. Both the lunch specials and degustation menu are among the “cheapest” when compared to the other Robuchon fine dining establishments or other 3-star restaurants. The cost perspective will be my main reason to return here one day if I’m near the area, but I will not make a detour to Macau just to eat at the dome.
French fine dining is idential with excellent service that usually flows smoothly and looks effortless. However, it didn’t seem to be the case here. There were plenty of staffs wandering around the dining room but possibly only fewer than half of them knew what they’re doing. A few weeks ago I ‘complained’ how some waiters in Singapore/Hong Kong high-end places looked robotics; here it looked the same, but when I couldn’t catch their dishes explanation and asked them to repeat somehow a few of them looked nervous and forgot what they just said. Then as I pointed to specific ingredient on my plate, they weren’t too sure. The lack of communication skills (in this case caused by language barrier) often disrupted the enjoyment of the hospitality offered. The good part that these staffs (who are majority from mainland China) is that they worked hard and tried to smile to the guests all the times. I could recall the only exceptional staffs were the restaurant manager, Mr. Song as well as my maitre d’ (forgot his name). The thing was my maitre d’ handled a few tables as the restaurant was nearly fully booked so sometimes I was taken care of by not-so-competent staffs. It’s not that they’re really bad; I just thought that the restaurant did not give them enough training or to cut costs, they decided not to hire more experiences waiters/waiteresses. The predominantly not so experiences dining rooms staffs might have reflected some of the kitchen teams as well
When Robuchon Macau was moved the dome, the most talked about topic was actually the dining room: how awesome and luxurious they are. It’s probably true especially as soon as you entered the 43rd floor foyer, there was the famous suspended crystal Chandelier hanging down at the middle of the ceiling consisting of more than 100,000 pieces of Swarovski crystals. Below, one could see the brown Steinway handmade grand piano. I happened to arrive earlier than most other guests, hence I had a chance to walk around the whole dining room areas including the private rooms. As I observed further, I don’t find the overall interior design was coherently integrated. One could get the feelling that the owners simply would like to showcase the most expensive things money can buy. The chic design was combined with Renaissance paintings and Chinese arts – maybe I didn’t get them. It’s almost like the Lisboa lobby (both old and grand hotel) in which you can see lots of jade and gold art items that do not ‘connect’ well with the overall hotel design. It’s very different than the dining rooms designed by Pierre Rochon at other Robuchon fine dining places. Compared to the Tokyo and Singapore dining rooms, the chairs here were not that comfortable (no sofa/booth) and the distance between tables were not too spacious. Anyway, that’s my take on my Robuchon Macau lunch meal and I gave 94 pts for the overall experience (equivalent to 2 ½* by Michelin standard). It’s not even closed to the European top restaurants, but still very good by the standard of Asia ex-Japan gastronomy establishments.
For more detailed review: http://zhangyuqisfoodjourneys.blogspot.com/2013/06/robuchon-au-dome.html
For pictures only: https://picasaweb.google.com/11823790...
Have you (or anyone) been to other Robuchons? i'm wondering how this compares to branches in vegas or tokyo. i really liked my meal in vegas a couple years ago, and had heard this branch was a lot stronger
(from here: http://www.andyhayler.com/show_restau...)
but that was the old location -- unsure if the cooking standard and chef are the same.
I was trying to decide if i should go here in a few weeks, given i'm rarely in hong kong, but visit vegas somewhat regularly.
I would say the one in Macau is about or almost the same level as the one in Vegas. As a matter of fact, all 4 Robuchon fine dining are consistently good - but never really producing "out of this world" dishes/meal experience
Robuchon dome, for sure, is "the cheapest" one among those four. Execution is still good overall, though a bit coarse at times. Personally, Chateau Robuchon Tokyo is my favorite - Japanese ingredients plus Chef Verzeroli (Passard's former apprentice) are the best combination.
re: Bu Pun Su
re: Charles Yu
I hear a lot of people say that, actually.
Are the dishes served at his restaurants now updated versions of his classics at Jamin? Or are they totally different?
Sometimes Joel Robuchon is in the kitchen visiting his various restaurants -- do you have any idea if the cooking improves when this is the case?
Haven't seen some of his classic dish like 'Tarte Fin Au Truffle' for a long while!! Sometimes, I did experience a Parisian dish like the super creamy Sea Urchin soup in places like L'Atelier in Tokyo. And, of course those 'arteries clogging' creamy mash potatoes has been on his menus for years!!
When he came to Macau to preside over the all Truffle tasting menu at Galera Robuchon, the meals were absolutely magnificent.
re: Charles Yu
do you know if he usually announces beforehand that he'll be at one of his restaurants cooking?
i'm leaning towards visiting here -- even if it is roughly the same as vegas.
do you have any suggestions for lunch menu vs a la carte vs set menu? how are the wine pairings? i'm leaning towards full degustation menu, no wine -- assuming this is served at lunch time.
i'll likely visit caprice the day before or after -- don't know if some dishes are better at one than the other.
Their wine list is second to none, and used to be quite reasonably priced. Of course, that's before Stanley Ho and the four sisters figured out that mainlanders will pay anything for the right label (and unlikely to be some counterfeit rebottled plonk), at the expense of those who go there for the food and wine and not the showing off.