Lifestyle Eat

Resting on their Laurels

Written by The Panda

This article first appeared in the Mar/Apr 2014 issue of World Gaming magazine.

Galaxy Macau
Open 11:00 to 15:00 and 18:00 to 23:00 (weekdays)
10:00 to 15:00 and 18:00 to 23:00 (weekends)
Telephone +853 8883 2221

The Panda was invited to try out a traditional and highly acclaimed Cantonese restaurant at Galaxy MacauLaurel. Unfortunately, he left more than a little disappointed.

There are a couple of things you notice as soon as you walk through the front door at Laurel. The first is that this is a very “Chinese” feeling restaurant. From the perfectly laid out tables to the classical music, this is the furthest thing from a noodle house you are going to find when it comes to Cantonese dining. From the look of the place, I was confident I was about to enjoy a great meal. How wrong I was to be!

A Szechuan restaurant with people flowing out onto the street is more my cup of tea but I like to try as many different foods as I can because experiencing new things is what life is all about. Laurel had come with a good reputation and I was keen to see what all the fuss was about.

I left the ordering to a good friend of mine and I must say I’m glad I did, as there was nothing to particularly excite me on the menu. I would have been able to point at whatever food seemed appealing at nearby tables – as I have done many times before – but my hopes of navigating through the uninspiring menu itself would have been nigh on impossible.

I started off with a meat and mushroom soup which was good without being fantastic. The broth was complex in flavor but it was so subtle it soon became a little dull. The meat, which I think was pork, was also decent but not special although the mushrooms were succulent and perfectly cooked.

Next on the menu was some BBQ meat. This included some tasty duck, some goose as well as some crispy skin pork. These are all staples of good Cantonese dining and I enjoyed combining them with the sauces provided. The plum sauce unfortunately had stones in it and when I bit down on a piece of meat my first thought was that I had done some serious dental damage.

For the main course I was served sea cucumber with mushroom in an abalone sauce, accompanied by steamed vegetables. I certainly wasn’t offended by it, but I wasn’t blown away by it either. It had a soft texture and appeared to be well cooked, but for me, it lacked any excitement factor. The mushroom and abalone sauce were nice although the vegetables were a mixed bag. They consisted of broccoli and red and yellow peppers in a garlic and ginger sauce. While the broccoli was perfect, the peppers weren’t sliced small enough, were undercooked and some pieces still had part of the stalk on them. Hardly five-star dining.

The service left much to be desired. My tea warmer was not lit and the service was just one pay grade above being outright rude. If you are looking to be treated like a king with smiling faces and attention to detail, Laurel is not the place to go.

By this stage I was starting to fill up but I still had desert to come so I crossed my paws hoping the final course could provide a great ending to a relatively uninspiring meal. I was served five cubes of two-colored jelly with a little container of pre-made coffee creamer. Excuse me, did I miss something here? I’ve had some wonderful Chinese cuisine in my time but by the time I had made it through the second cube of this tasteless jellylike substance I’d had enough and was eagerly eying the door.

I have to be truthful here. I wasn’t impressed with the food, the service or anything else about Laurel.

At WGM we are all about offering honest opinions, so I am afraid for Laurel we have to call it as we see it. Perhaps they will pick up their act in the future and we will try them again in a year or so.

It’s a shame the high expectations I had when I first sat down gave way to general disappointment.


[*Ed: Since WGM was launched in January 2010 we’ve published 72 Good Food Guide reviews and 26 Panda restaurant reviews. Laurel at Galaxy Macau takes the dubious distinction of receiving the lowest Panda score ever awarded by WGM.]