This article first appeared in the Jul/Aug 2011 issue of World Gaming magazine.
|Robuchon à Galera|
|3rd floor, Lisboa Tower, Hotel Lisboa|
|2 to 4 Avenida de Lisboa, Macau|
|+853 8803 7878|
|12:00 to 14:30, 18:30 to 22:30 (every day)|
The Panda and The Dragon agreed it was about time they treated The Stallion to a slap up meal. The Panda pulled a few favours and soon got a coveted reservation at the world famous French restaurant Robuchon à Galera at the Lisboa hotel and casino. He’d been anticipating this meal for quite a while, and with The Dragon covering the bill he was going to make the most of the only restaurant in Macau carrying a three Michelin Star rating.
For me a steaming hot bowl of dumplings or a burger and fries can be just as satisfying as silver service. There is something special about dining in a place where artistic flair blends with culinary excellence in perfect surroundings. I have dined in three Michelin Star restaurants before and mostly thought they were overpriced and pretentious. Robuchon à Galera on the other hand is one of those acclaimed restaurants that deserve every accolade they get. They have an excellent lunch menu that is very well priced but if you’re looking for the full treatment you should really go for dinner.
The key to fairly reviewing food is that you have to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. It’s no good comparing casual dim sum to silver service fine dining – they are designed to cater for different occasions and clientele. Robuchon must be compared to the very best restaurants in Asia if not the world because it really is in that class.
Robuchon à Galera is situated on the third floor of the Lisboa. The Lisboa itself is a special place. It is hard to imagine that this small casino would lay the seed to what is modern day Macau. It could be compared to the Pink Flamingo in Las Vegas, which was the first of its kind and remains virtually untouched.
The Stallion remarked that the décor reminded him of being on the set of Titanic, in a good way. Low set lighting and exquisite antique furniture are the perfect setting for this type of restaurant. Polished wood and a quiet ambience all prepare you for something special.
The wine list comes on either an iPad or a massive tome that really should be held by two people, not one. There may be more extensive wine lists somewhere in the world but I have yet to see them and believe me, I have seen plenty. With almost 8,000 (yes, eight thousand) labels available you can spend a small fortune on wine here from anywhere on the globe. We chose a shiraz from McLaren Vale in South Australia for a little over HK$1,000 a bottle and considered it great drinking particularly after the third bottle.
The standard menu looked interesting but I had my heart set on the best degustation option they had. As you know, I love degustation menus because you are guaranteed to see the real form of the kitchen. They must prepare multiple, perfectly cooked and exquisitely presented dishes that all work well together. Robuchon proved to be more than up for the challenge.
After choosing the most expensive degustation choice we could find, from start to finish the food was simply inspirational. This is fine dining at its best and food lovers must treat themselves on occasion to celebrations of culinary masterpieces such as this.
Trying to describe each incredible mouthful would be doing the food and future diners a disservice. From the freshest seafood and meats to incredible vegetables and fruits the dishes were perfectly presented in a way that left our table spellbound. Creative flair blended with a desire to produce real food that tasted as good as it looked and sounded. Just one example of this experience was a dainty tin filled with fresh crab, topped with the finest caviar I have ever tasted – this Panda’s heart was well and truly won over by that point.
The evening ended with an incredible dessert and cheese trolley laden with handmade delights that complemented well-made coffee, which in itself is a treat in Asia.
Part of my job is to warn diners of a restaurant’s shortcomings. In this regard I am not often lost for words, but with Robuchon there is simply nothing bad to say.
Robuchon à Galera can stand proud and would not be misplaced on any list of the world’s finest restaurants. It is without doubt Macau’s best restaurant.
(Editor’s note: this is the highest overall score ever awarded by The Panda in his World Gaming restaurant reviews, just beating Grand Lisboa’s The Eight restaurant which was awarded an overall score of 17.5. The Panda’s food score of 9.9/10 is simply unprecedented.)