A three-star Michelin restaurant that is well worth the journey
Under the Michelin star rating system three stars (***) means: "Exceptional cuisine and worth the journey."
There are only two three-star Michelin establishments in Macau, remarkably both of them under the same roof: at the plush Grand Lisboa Hotel.
Robuchon au Dome, is the Macau outpost of legendary French chef Joel Robuchon, while The Eight is a modern Chinese eatery that has had three Michelin stars for the past two years. It is a dramatic space. Think silk and wood and multiple uses of fish symbols and the number eight, considered the luckiest number in Chinese culture.
The Food at The Eight is both beautiful and fascinating - and considered among the finest in Asia. This beautifully decorated room serves Cantonese cuisine and over fifty different types of dim sum. The one dish you must sample is the goldfish. Not really a goldfish, although it looks disturbingly lifelike, but a delicate and delicious dumpling containing Crystal Blue shrimp. Other starters we enjoyed included puff pastry with river shrimp, a beautiful baked tartlet with crab meat, a shrimp spring roll, a porcupine-shaped pork bun with preserved vegetables and some mouth-watering barbecued pork.
This was followed by a standout dish of shredded chicken with crisp skin and pomelo in a honey and lime sauce. Sweet and sour spare ribs came next, then steamed bean curd pockets and finally (although I was too full to partake and disapprove of the use of shark fin), a steamed whole crab and shrimps with stewed rice and shark fine serve in a Lotus leaf - one of the signature dishes of chef Au Kwok Keung.
There is a degustation menu featuring dishes like pan-fried sliced A5 Kagoshima Beef Rolled with Watercress paired with Château Sociando-Mallet, and stir-fried lobster with egg, minced pork and black bean sauce with Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese from Joh. Jos. Prüm in the Mosel, Alternatively choose from al a carte dishes like chilled marinated jelly fish head with vintage black vinegar, or maybe poached pigeon in homemade soya sauce. Or maybe roasted goose stuffed with wild mushrooms. There's even a whole suckling pig, should you have a large and hungry group of diners.
And the cost? Well, if you have lunch with green tea, rather than wine, you can probably escape for around $100 per head. You'd struggle to find many three-star Michelin eateries that affordable. But, of course, you can pay a lot more. But what about the wine, I hear you ask? Well The Eight shares a wine cellar with over 14,900 labels with the 13 other restaurants in the hotel complex, including two others, The Kitchen and Don Alfonso 1890, with Michelin stars.
There is even a whole suckling pig, should you have a particularly large and hungry group of diners. The Eight, 2nd floor, Grand Lisboa Building, Avenida de Lisboa, Macau. +853 2828 3838. www.grandlisboa.com
# The writer was a guest of the Macau Government Tourist Office and travelled to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific, which has over 70 flights a week from six major Australian cities. www.cathaypacific.com.au.