The 8 Restaurant at Grand Lisboa Hotel at Macau is the first and only Chinese restaurant in Macau to be awarded three Michelin stars. It has retained the stars for five consecutive years. They serve a mix of Cantonese and Huaiyang cuisines with 150 dishes as well as 40 hand-made dim sum made a la minute at lunch. It The chef, Joseph Tse, has 47 years of culinary experience working in hotel restaurants including Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur, and Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. Some of the restaurant’s signature dishes include the classic Chinese dish Buddha Jumps Over the Wall; stir-fried Australian lobster; suckling pig stuffed with fried rice; and char siew bbq pork.
Amuse-bouche: abalone and braised pork belly
The auspiciously named restaurant–“8” and “prosperity” are homonyms in Cantonese–uses the figure 8 and goldfish (another symbol of prosperity) motifs throughout the decor of the restaurant; it is designed by Hong Kong designer Alan Chan. A stunning and impressive marbled walkway with water curtains at the sides opens to an exclusive enclave of luxury. Even though it was full house when I was there (reservations highly recommended), the tables are placed far apart that it feels like you have the entire restaurant to yourself. They assigned an English-speaking server to me, an Indian man by the name of Vindoo, so handsome that I fell in love with him a little.
Among their roasted items, their char siew is their signature but since I ordered the bun, I thought I should go for their suckling pig and roast pork combo (260MOP). I was impressed by neither although they were up to par. The suckling pig by itself is too salty so you should wrap it with a coin-sized bun with sweet sauce and sugar. The combination transforms the pig into a more complex and layered dish. The roast pork siew yuk is nice but nothing extraordinary. It has a good proportion of fats and meat; and the skin is crackling. But you can get this anywhere else.
The har gow (3 pieces, 84MOP) comes in the shape of a goldfish, the auspicious motif of the decor. You may think that this is gimmicky and it may be, but it is also delicious. The skin looks deceivingly thick but it is in fact very thin and smooth. The filling consists of South Pacific New Caledonian wild Cristal blue shrimp, which is harvested once a year. There is a miraculously smokey flavour to the har gow, so smokey in fact it may choke you a little to bring you tears of joy. This is a dish worthy of 3 stars.
Continuing on the animal theme, the char siew bao (3 pcs, 66MOP) may again appear gimmicky but the spikes of the hedgehog create texture to the bun but make the skin thick. In addition, giving it more texture, the bun is also pan-fried at the bottom, like those Japanese gyozas where the juices leak to form a caramelised surface. The smokey char siew itself is more savoury than sweet and in Singapore, we eat sweet char siew. There is a nice aftertaste here, almost wine-like: is it Chinese wine? Outstanding.
I did not like the curry crab tart (3 pcs, 66MOP). They use a sweet curry to mix with crab meat, which is confusing; the sweet curry clashes with the natural sweetness of the crab, and their overall texture is mushy, almost puree-like. Fortunately, the tart shells are fantastic. They are flakey but firm and can hold the moist filling without breaking.
One of their signature dishes, steamed garoupa fillet (360MOP), is superb. The fish is extremely fresh and has a great firm texture. It is paired with crispy grains of black bean and garlic; and a very thick stock reduced from chicken and ham. It is difficult to present a delicious fish dish–Western or Eastern–because there are only that many things you can do to a fish, but here, the combination adds flavour to the fish but doesn’t overpower the delicate taste. Excellent.
I was too full but they gave a complimentary Hong Kong milk tea and Portuguese egg tart which is superb. The tea is not too sweet and the egg tart is flaky but firm.
On the whole, the meal is first class… but I came with the expectation of a 3 Michelin starred meal. As you may know, it is extremely difficult to receive 3 stars and I expected to be blown away. While I was slightly let down, this meal is objectively speaking excellent. I paid 940MOP for one person.
Note: there is a dress code: smart casual. Meaning no open-toed footwear (sandals, slippers, etc), no sleeveless tees, and no shorts (long pants/jeans only).
The 8 Restaurant
Macau, Grand Lisboa 2nd Floor, 2-4 Avenida de Lisboa
tel: +853 8803 7788
Lunch M – Sat 11.30am – 2.30pm, Sun & PH 10am – 3pm; Dinner 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Value / Price: 6/10
Decor / Ambience: 10/10
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Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.