Lifestyle Eat

Seafood sensation

Written by The Panda

This article first appeared in the Nov/Dec 2014 issue of World Gaming magazine.

Banyan Tree Macau
Open daily
18:00 to 23:00
+853 8883 6090

This Panda had heard great things about Belon at Banyan Tree, but as always the self-proclaimed culinary king of Macau had to try it out for himself. As it turned out, this bear was about to be blown away by something very special.

It’s rare that The Panda is lost for words but every now and then I come across a restaurant that really does render me speechless. Belon, at Galaxy’s Banyan Tree, is an example of a restaurant that has hit the nail on the head. This is non-pretentious silver service dining at its best.

If you’ve never been to Belon, it can prove a little tricky to find as The Panda discovered. When you arrive at Galaxy, make sure you go to the Banyan Tree Hotel entrance and take the lifts immediately to the right as you enter. They are slightly hidden so don’t be scared to ask the friendly staff exactly where you need to go.

After a short ride up 31 floors you arrive at Belon. There is a black illuminated staircase with blue light shimmering through which makes you feel a bit like you’re walking into a Broadway musical. It’s really quite spectacular, and I’m glad I hadn’t had too many pre-dinner drinks before I tried to navigate it!

This restaurant is huge. Not only are there four private dining rooms if a bit of privacy is what you need, every table here is located next to a window. There are also plenty of lounge spaces to sit and have a drink and there is an emphasis on ensuring nobody feels crowded, which was a welcome touch for a big Panda like myself.

The theme of Belon is that of an underwater wonderland and there is even a corridor through the middle of the restaurant with the appearance of a whale’s rib cage. Belon is French for “oyster” and although this whole theme could have been overdone, it works surprisingly well. Well enough, in fact, to be voted “best interior” of any of Banyan Tree’s restaurants worldwide!

Belon is a versatile restaurant, which is rare for fine dining. You can dine here with a family and children; you can conduct a business lunch or you can enjoy an intimate romantic experience with someone special – all of this made possible by the sheer size of the restaurant, the views, the lighting and the immaculate attention to service offered by the staff.

But it’s the food we came here to try, so let’s get down to business. Belon would best be classed as a European-style seafood and grill and although there is much more to this restaurant than that, it’s a great starting point for the incredible produce available here. There is wonderful presentation and flair present in everything Chef Setiawan serves but he adheres to the principles of superb food first and foremost.

You should all know by now that I am not the kind of bear to painstakingly run through each and every dish I try, however in this case there were a few highlights I simply must recommend.

The incredible seafood platter included perfectly presented Boston lobster, Bering Sea King Crab legs, prawns and French and Tasmanian oysters served with three incredible dipping sauces including a cognac sauce I had never tried before. I also ate sashimi grade Japanese scallops cooked on a flat rock of Himalayan Salt that had been warmed with fresh thyme. These were cooked at the table and served on fresh local Chinese peach and a perfectly dressed radicchio salad.

The New York Sirloin was grilled to perfection and served with a choice of peppercorn sauce, a selection of mustards or eight different flavored salts. I could go on, but I think you get the message – Belon doesn’t disappoint!

For dessert I had three balls of cheesecake dipped in a red wine sauce and shaped to look like three perfect red grapes complete with the grape stalk. These were served on a green tea pannacotta with crunchy biscuit and a delicate, sweet sorbet. Add in some good coffee served with gorgeous truffles to finish off the meal and I was ready to be wheeled up the stairs.

At the end of the night I sat down and chatted with Chef de Cuisine Robby Setiawan, who is originally from Indonesia, and Manager Samphel Bhutia. These are two friendly guys, which probably explains why the service here is so friendly! It certainly makes for a pleasant change. I’ve always wondered why silver service is so snooty and impersonal at many other restaurants. It was also nice to see the waiter have a laugh when I suggested he needed a bigger pepper grinder given the one he was carrying was already four feet tall!

Samphel invited me back anytime and it’s an offer I will definitely be taking him up on. What impressed me most was their determination to keep improving on what they are doing at Belon. Based on what I tasted, that won’t be an easy thing to do! Put simply, Belon is one of Macau’s very best dining experiences.