Monday, March 17, 2014

The Tasting Room by Galliot, Macau

Smoked egg with black winter truffle at The Tasting Room by Gaillot, Macau
Macau, Asia's try-hard attempt at Las Vegas, has seemed to serve a certain function in Hongkonger's vacationing habits that isn't dissimilar to its American counterpart. It's not the first time I'd been to Macau for hen's nights (that's a bachelorette party, non-Aussies) and big birthday bashes. The latter was the purpose of this trip, and this meal at The Tasting Room, and at the risk of sounding like a spoiled brat, we'd all been to Robuchon and wanted to try something different. Plus, it was about time to test run our expensive handbags on different bag stools... I kid.


Amuse bouche (L-R): sausage (?), salmon with celeriac creme, pork croquette
The Tasting Room on the third floor of Crown Towers (where interestingly, rooms are usually not available on regular booking engines as it's reserved for high-rollers, or so I'm told), it's not way up, but it's elevated enough to get a good view of the Cotai Strip. I'd been here for lunch before while researching a story on Macau (must've been two years ago or something) and in order to get a cake arranged, I hereby disclose that this booking was made through the kind PR team at Crown. We paid and didn't get any freebies or discounts, of course, but you can still curse me under your breath.

Amuse number two: purple yam espuma with thyme sorbet
The amuses went down a treat, especially the yam and thyme with its unusual combination of herbaceousness and sweetness.

John Dory fillet with artichokes, lemon supreme and caper vinaigrette
The John Dory was a favourite of the birthday girl's, though I thought the fish was just a little too fishy (the kind of fishiness I associate with lack of freshness). The lemon is a sharp, but welcome addition, and along with the capers, made for a good opening to our six-course degustation.

Smoked egg with black winter truffle, mushrooms and pumpkin puree, with a ham and cheese toastie
An element of drama was added to the presentation of the smoked egg, when they came out with a box and opened it a little to let a puff of smoke out. A few minutes later, the egg was plated and served. This was probably my favourite dish of the night, although it pains me to say that I didn't think the black truffles added much to the dish, as it was masked by the mushrooms, pumpkin and ham & cheese. The toastie was divine - crisp and a little chewy in all the right ways. The wine paired with this was rather memorable too - Bussiador from Poderi Aldo Conterno, a slightly smoky, oaky, medium bodied chardonnay with a little herbaceous, licorice-like twist at the end.

Brittany lobster with shellfish nage and crab ravioli
I've never been a fan of cooked lobster, as I find it gets stringy and loses moisture, but this was slightly undercooked and therefore rather perfect. The nage was reminiscent of tom yum goong, an I mean this in the best way possible - it was a very pleasant surprise.

Yuzu sorbet
The yuzu sorbet was suppose to serve as a palate cleanser, but it was way too yummy for that. The citrus just went on and on and on forever on our tongues, which was super lovely, but didn't do it's job of cleansing. Ah, the dilemma.

French lamb with split pea mash (part 1 of main course)
The menu just says comically that this is a "different cooking method", but whatever it is, it works. I particuarly liked the sweet honey-like sauce at the base, and the cube of parsnip was just sublime.

Slow cooked lamb shoulder with eggplant (part 2 of main course)
There were three parts to the dish, and this was the second - slow cooked lamb shoulder that was pulled into strands, sitting on some eggplant mash. The combo seemed quite Moorish - perhaps there were some spices, or maybe it was just the tingly feeling you get when you eat eggplants sometimes) - the others in my party even said they thought it reminded them of X.O. sauce.

Kagoshima beef
One of us doesn't eat lamb, so this was her substitute. Not much to say except that you can't really go wrong with Kagoshima.

Cheese course
The cheese trolley is no match for Caprice, but it was good nonetheless, with crowd pleasers like Mimolette, Beaufort, Mont d'Or and Reblochon. A note about the service - it would have been nice if the server actually knew the names of the cheeses she was serving...

Mandarin and yogurt with yuzu jelly
Cirtussy, creamy and crunchy, you can't go far wrong with this dessert. Everyone gladly gobbled this down.

More notes about service - it's a huge issue in Macau, with so many openings in such a short time, so it's not an issue that exists only here. Little things like not offering a bag stool that was right behind our table, forgetting the names of cheeses, and asking "how is everything?" when everyone's mouths are full are small hiccups, but hiccups nonetheless, and no one likes hiccups when they're eating... We also thought that the music was eerily quiet, and we felt weird speaking at above whispers. Again, small things, but with time, I'm sure these will improve. The food is enough to bring me back again, in any case.

The Tasting Room by Gaillot
3/F Crown Towers
City of Dreams
Cotai Strip
Macau
+853 8868 668
Lunch & dinner daily


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