Eating Out: Macau The Eight @ Grand Lisboa
I’ve been wandering around less these days and going to more ladies lunches and I have to say that Macau’s standards of dimsum and Cantonese cuisine surpasses Hong Kong.
Of late, we’ve dined at quite a few fine Cantonese restaurants from Jade Dragon (surely it will get starred in the Michelin guide 2014?), Wynn’s 2* Wing Lei and Grand Lisboa’s 2* The Eight and the Four Seasons 2* Zi Yat Heen – arguably whether all these restaurants deserve their 2 star status in terms of Chinese fine dining; if Hong Kong dimsum is by any standards to go by – 1* Lei garden and Din Tai Fung chains crowned with their Michelin status, then the Macau restaurants are definitely ahead of that curve.
The base of the chef’s cooking techniques lie in classic dishes done brilliantly – light, fresh, delicate and pristine – the best ingredients in their purest form, soups light and rich, seafood cooked a perfect medium rare – the hallmark of Cantonese cuisine and most dishes at the above Macau Chinese fine dining restaurants passed the litmus test.
It was my first time at Eight. The ambience and decor stunning and tastefully decked out, with an interactive pond projector on the floor with fishes that swim past with every foot step and beautiful private dining rooms – we ate in one with a goldfish theme.
With wintermelon in season, most Chinese restaurants are serving the rich double boiled soup – the one at Eight comes with shrimp dumplings wrapped in a delicate thin layer of melon flesh, a trompe l’oeil and lovely surprise. Dimsum presentations are made a little more exciting with beautifully done goldfish looking shrimp dumplings hargau 虾饺 served alongside the Shanghainese xiaolongbao and a hedgehog BBQ pork bun charxiu bao 叉烧包 accompanied by the traditional deep fried taro nest topped with a fresh shrimp – all packed full of flavours and textures, a great duo combination on both dishes that balance the rich flavours lightness of the dimsum.
We were thrilled by the chef’s revisit of a classic street side dish of the liver and pork fat sandwich 金银鸡饼酥 – in this reinterpretation of this dish, the chef used goose liver over thinly sliced pork fat served alongside with frog legs, a twist to the traditional dish. Tad greasy but packed full of flavour.
Dishes that came after were good, again with a twist on classics – lamb deep fried in batter and a classic ‘pei pa style’ roast chicken paired with a shrimp mousse that had consistency and taste of a fish cake.
And then there was the crab (and sharks fin) fried rice – beautifully presented and packed full of flavours of the sea, fresh shrimps, a whole crab and roe stir fried into the rice.
Dessert came in the form of a sticky heavy glutinous texture of black & white sesame with a side of sesame ice cream… we would have liked to end a little lighter.
Our drinks damage at last week’s brunch and a wonderful Pommery Louise 1999 champagne we started with. Huge thanks to our friend F who generously invited us to lunch this time!
Service as you would expect was unobstrusive and clockwork. All in all, we definitely recommend dimsum here and we’ll be back on our own dime for sure. It’s always best to make advance reservation as it’s most likely always full.