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Bu Pun Su

Robuchon au Dome, Macau

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The past month has been a busy period for me; finally I had a time to wrap up the last place I would like to review from my HK Spring trip this year. I took a morning ferry to Macau to have lunch at the latest Robuchon au Dome. I’ve been to Robuchon Galera about 5+ years ago and didn’t really have a good experience there. Time has passed and the restaurant got a new “home” now; there’re plenty of positive notes about Robuchon Macau since my dinner long time ago so I thought why not giving another try? Even though it’s lunch, I opted to have a full tasting menu. As a matter of fact, I consulted with Chef Semblat via the restaurant reception’s help to devise my own menu. It looked good on paper and the time finally come to taste them on my palate.

My top 3 (excellent) dishes are:

-Azerbaijan king crab served with romaine, olive oil and mozzarella. The crab was succulent and very well seasoned; it’s enhanced by fresh vegetables and parmesan cheese. A fragrant dish with some complex taste, the presention matched with the plate. Alaskan crab could make it even better probably

-The best thing about Spring seasonal items is arguablly French morels. The chef prepared a delicious morel ravioli with its juice/foam; the mushroom was earthy and flavorful. On the contrary, the green asparagus on the side was average

-I’ve always been curious about Robuchon’s famous dessert known as Le Sphere and it’s actually worth its reputation. For my case the sugar ball contained mousse, cream and strawberry. A nice display of sweet, sour and refreshing flavors yet they’re balanced. The sorbet was probably the weakest element

Besides the dishes above, you can expect plenty other good stuffs at any Robuchon restaurants. For instance:

-The caviar. I ate generous serving of caviar in fine coral jelly. It’s as good as when I had it for the first time in Vegas: a lot of briny caviar was in contrast to the sweet crab meat & anise cream. Caviar on warm scallop with lemon grass cream was very pleasant and delicate. But the last part of caviar trio was disappointing – I referred to caviar on cauliflower mousse with croutons. The cauliflower was too much and rather bland (the “worst” among Robuchon’s caviar dishes I’ve ever tasted )

-I enjoyed the delicate amadai’s flesh texture and taste. The main flavor was derived from the barigoule jus, tomato and bacons; the most interesting part was the crisp scales

-Grilled A4 kagoshima beef was rich and delicious; almost as refined as the one I had at Amber a day earlier. The shallot and parsley puree provided some flavor contrast. I wish they had served the famous mashed potato here instead of the potato souffle

There were also some dishes that I thought were quite mediocre by 3-star meal standard

-The boston lobster. I had high expectation earlier, after all it’s really hard to go wrong with any lobster dish. The claw tempura was greasy and cold when arrived at my table; the bisque was not hot with weak taste; the pasta was average with minimum amount of lobster underneath. The only good part was lobter royal, it has a nice jus/butter and roes

-The seared foie gras was too coarse. You would expect smooth and refine duck liver in the restaurant of this calibre although the flavor was Ok

-After a nice dessert in le sphere, the 2nd dessert turned out to be so-so. It’s unusual for Robuchon to serve ordinary chocolate dessert. The ice cream ‘sandwiched’ in cream puff was forgetable; the chocolate coulis was rather cold and not really tasty; the vanilla ‘cream’ was the only good thing on the plate

There are 2-3 other dishes not reviewed that would fall in between the first 2 categories above. I suppose the more dishes you serve, the riskier it can become since the Chef might be bound to make more ‘mistakes’ a long the way. Despite a few ‘negative’ aspects, one is guaranteed to have a satisfying meal here – mine is without exception. Robuchon Macau serves French cuisine executedconsistently at high levels; I got a better meal this time compared to my dinner at Robuchon galera. And the best part of Robuchon au Dome is actually the price. Both the lunch specials and degustation menu are among the “cheapest” when compared to the other Robuchon fine dining establishments or other 3-star restaurants. The cost perspective will be my main reason to return here one day if I’m near the area, but I will not make a detour to Macau just to eat at the dome.

French fine dining is idential with excellent service that usually flows smoothly and looks effortless. However, it didn’t seem to be the case here. There were plenty of staffs wandering around the dining room but possibly only fewer than half of them knew what they’re doing. A few weeks ago I ‘complained’ how some waiters in Singapore/Hong Kong high-end places looked robotics; here it looked the same, but when I couldn’t catch their dishes explanation and asked them to repeat somehow a few of them looked nervous and forgot what they just said. Then as I pointed to specific ingredient on my plate, they weren’t too sure. The lack of communication skills (in this case caused by language barrier) often disrupted the enjoyment of the hospitality offered. The good part that these staffs (who are majority from mainland China) is that they worked hard and tried to smile to the guests all the times. I could recall the only exceptional staffs were the restaurant manager, Mr. Song as well as my maitre d’ (forgot his name). The thing was my maitre d’ handled a few tables as the restaurant was nearly fully booked so sometimes I was taken care of by not-so-competent staffs. It’s not that they’re really bad; I just thought that the restaurant did not give them enough training or to cut costs, they decided not to hire more experiences waiters/waiteresses. The predominantly not so experiences dining rooms staffs might have reflected some of the kitchen teams as well

When Robuchon Macau was moved the dome, the most talked about topic was actually the dining room: how awesome and luxurious they are. It’s probably true especially as soon as you entered the 43rd floor foyer, there was the famous suspended crystal Chandelier hanging down at the middle of the ceiling consisting of more than 100,000 pieces of Swarovski crystals. Below, one could see the brown Steinway handmade grand piano. I happened to arrive earlier than most other guests, hence I had a chance to walk around the whole dining room areas including the private rooms. As I observed further, I don’t find the overall interior design was coherently integrated. One could get the feelling that the owners simply would like to showcase the most expensive things money can buy. The chic design was combined with Renaissance paintings and Chinese arts – maybe I didn’t get them. It’s almost like the Lisboa lobby (both old and grand hotel) in which you can see lots of jade and gold art items that do not ‘connect’ well with the overall hotel design. It’s very different than the dining rooms designed by Pierre Rochon at other Robuchon fine dining places. Compared to the Tokyo and Singapore dining rooms, the chairs here were not that comfortable (no sofa/booth) and the distance between tables were not too spacious. Anyway, that’s my take on my Robuchon Macau lunch meal and I gave 94 pts for the overall experience (equivalent to 2 ½* by Michelin standard). It’s not even closed to the European top restaurants, but still very good by the standard of Asia ex-Japan gastronomy establishments.

For more detailed review: http://zhangyuqisfoodjourneys.blogspot.com/2013/06/robuchon-au-dome.html

For pictures only: https://picasaweb.google.com/118237905546308956881/RobuchonAuDomeMacauChina

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Wait a minute. You "consulted" with them on your tasting menu prior to your arrival? Why in the world would you do this? Is it a food blogger thing?

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Having been to plenty of Robuchon restaurants, the initial offered degustation menu - I've tried almost half of them

In order to maximize my experience, I usually would like to have as many new dishes as possible

That's why I devised my own tasting menu and it's subject to the Chef's approval

This way is easier than on the day itself try to swap (many) dishes from their menu

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