Review of Ritz Cafe and Lai Heen in the Ritz-Carlton Macau

So by now you've probably all read our review of our stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Macau, and our review of the ESPA at the hotel - but for the foodies out there, this one's for you as we give the lowdown on the hotel's best eats.

Ritz Cafe

The Ritz Cafe is (as indicated by the name) the hotel's casual chic restaurant. Don't be fooled by the cafe part of the name: while there is a laid back atmosphere, the restaurant and its patrons are definitely stylish. With beautiful black and white marble floors, olive green chairs and couches, and crystal encrusted lights above, it was hard to mistake this for your run-of-the-mill eatery. With a face-painted mime at the front of the restaurant, a guy in a beret sketching images of patrons, and another playing the accordion, the French theme was evident everywhere.

As The Boy had booked a package with the hotel the first time we stayed, our meal was included. Unfortunately, they did not offer us the set meal that we had been advised of earlier - instead, a lovely man produced a blackboard with an entirely different four course set. To ease our disappointment, we were given their French 75 cocktail made of champagne, gin, and lemon juice in a delicate vase-like glass with lemon rind, which was a bit too sour for my taste.

The first course consisted of Gillardeau oysters with onion and vinegar and spicy sauce, which were creamy without losing flavour (as some of the fatter oysters tend to do). That was then followed by lobster with champagne sauce, which was well presented with caviar, and a small selection of tiny portions of vegetables and crisps.

After that came the beef with pan seared foie gras, which was divine. The beef was tender and perfectly cooked at medium rare with a sprinkle of salt, and the foie gras came with a compote on top, which allowed it to retain its smooth texture despite being grilled. The delicious vegetables were accompanied by mashed potatoes with truffles mixed in.

The cheese selection was solid and interesting, with the one that I describe as looking like carved coral, and poached peaches and hazelnuts. For dessert, we were offered a trio of cakes: strawberry cake, strawberry sorbet, and profiterole with eclaire cream.

Lai Heen

Lai Heen is the Ritz-Carlton's esteemed Chinese restaurant. The interior is dark, with plush blue fabric chairs covered in comfortable back support pillows. The dark blue patterned  carpet with fleur-de-li shapes and overhanging lights that look like vases in hanging cages give an air of Chinese heritage, with a contemporary twist. This, combined with the dark cabinets topped with Chinese classic pottery with beautiful blue flowers painted on them, contrasts beautifully against the mahogany wood and glass wine cabinet that stretches from ceiling to floor for a wall length.

On our second stay at the hotel, we were very generously offered a complimentary degustation menu meal at Lai Heen. In an amuse bouche style, we were offered cold noodle topped with fine roe and sweet chilli sauce, delicately wrapped in the shape of a bun.

After that, we were served pork belly from Holland (according to the server, the pork from Holland has the best fat to meat ratio), which came with jellyfish and chicken. The pork belly was delicious with a crispy, crunchy skin and fatty underlayer - but fortunately given its small size, it did not taste overwhelmingly rich. The chicken was beautiful, being buttery smooth and matching well with the chive, onion and garlic mixed condiment. Unfortunately the jellyfish was disappointing, as it did not have the usual chewy texture. The later pork belly dish, topped with preserved vegetable and homemade slices of bacon had a sweet, smoky taste, which was nicely balanced against the crunch of preserved vegetables. The finely sliced bacon was an interesting mix of both sweet and salty.

Then we were served garoupa soup. While the Boy loves his soup, I've never been overly impressed by Asian soups - but this was in a class of its own. The garoupa was nothing spectacular, but the thousand year old egg and mushroom made the soup full of flavour, whilst still being light on the palate. The garoupa with XO sauce that followed was chewy, with a good touch of XO but a bit too reliant upon the sauce for flavour.

I have little interest in rice, but The Boy was quite happy with the baked rice in lotus leaf with prawn on top that followed, which had mild soy-sauce infused meat inside.

Finally, for dessert, we were served mango sago with pomelo in a chilled soup, which was disappointingly watery without any distinctive mango flavour. To make up for this though, a trio of desserts beautifully presented on a granite like dish came with a warm red bean cake that was firm outside and crumbly inside, a creamy truffle coffee mousse, and tofu jelly (which tastes unsurprisingly precisely like tofu) on a bed of ground nuts and pieces of dried strawberry encircled by tiny dollops of caramel and chocolate sauce.

xx Carmen

Lifestyle Lookbook

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