Dining High For Haute Cantonese Cuisine At LAI HEEN The Ritz-Carlton, Macau

 Cantonese cuisine storied history that many people don’t want to see changed, but there is always the possibility to infuse it with some elements that can enhance its special nature. Perched on the 51st floor, worlds away from the buzz of the city of Macau, Lai Heen honors tradition in a way that only Macau can; with a modern twist. mylifestylenews writes……

The interior design is quite something and your first impression is literally breaking with tradition. They have created ceramic vessels out of broken Chinese porcelain to frame the entrance and we found quite captivating. This also created an anticipation for something special, so expectations were riding high!

The handsomely decorated space includes five private dining rooms, a cigar lounge and seating that invites lively conversation. The menu highlights hand-crafted specialties, including Chef Fu Man Piu’s signature barbecued Iberian pork with honey, sautéed lobster with porcini mushrooms and coriander in superior sauce together with other tempting dishes. Complement your meal with a recommendation from their tea master or wine sommelier.

The menu is rather extensive and it seems to cater for just about every taste and every level of diner and yet Cantonese Cuisine is still the highlight here. Even though it has a high-end dining look and feel, there are some very affordable offerings, as well as some extremely luxurious ones too that fits all bills.

Custom-made Porcelain are displayed everywhere in Lai Heen.

Spacious private dining room with lounge areas.

A beautifully prepared <Osmanthus Jelly> amuse bouche started the ball rolling and with such a deft touch for lightness of flavours although we thought dessert is served before anything else, we felt the night was going to be something special.

We followed this with the <Barbecue Meat Combination> of roast 3 layer pork belly, roast goose and marinated chicken in soy sauce, a perfect way to get to sample all of our favourites in one hit without overindulging on one meat selection too much. Each morsel was incredibly satisfying with perfectly roasted meat that was so tender and juicy, plus each accompanying sauce brought out the distinct flavours even more. It is no doubt a classic cooked and presented with panache.

A soup course is an absolute must in Cantonese Cuisine – they do make the best soups in Chinese Cuisine without question. We had a <Hot and Sour Soup with Shredded Abalone> and <Double Boiled Shitake Mushroom, Wintermelon and Shanghai Cabbage Soup>.

The hot and sour soup was equally delicious, with a good dose of sour and ‘heat’ as this soup can be very bland if it was in the wrong hands and can turn out to be a disaster. The mushroom soup was a clear soup stock close to any consommé that had a loads of flavor in it (as we had hoped), the cabbage and wintermelon were a good foil for the richness of the mushroom, a well-balanced creation. 

We were very taken by one of the simplest menu items and the <Prawn Toast> was highly recommended for such nostalgic treat. Sounds like going back to our childhood, huge prawns that were not over-cooked yet juicy and tender delivered such a punch of flavor on simply toasted pieces of bread. Not one ingredient was too little or too much in our estimation.

Still on the seafood side of the menu, next was crab claw done in two ways: <Steamed Crab Claw with Egg White in Lobster Bisque> and <Deep-Fried Crab Claw Typhoon Shelter Style> with lots of garlic, scallion and dried chili. Each dish had a completely different presentation and taste but were stunning in their own way, with delicate flavours of the crab meat shining through, that matched the extra components of each dish so well. All is the winner!

The Flavoursome <Deep-Fried Crab Claw Typhoon Shelter Style>

After such delicious seafood, we segued into the meat menu, starting with <Stir-fried Sliced Lamb Fillet with Shandong Leeks in Fermented Bean Sauce> and the signature and all times favorite dish <Chef’s Special Braised Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetable>. These two dishes are particularly tasty and best compliment with such rich palate is best goes with a bowl of steam rice as well some full bodied red wines as well as beer.

A vegetable course is a must after so many rich seafood and meat dishes, a light <Braised Bamboo Piths Stuffed with Spinach in Black Truffle Sauce> is perfect to clean the palate. This is such a gorgeous dish to look at, it is delicate and beautifully melded together to create texture and wonderful aromas. The truffle added richness to the other ingredients without dominating, a lightness of touch was evident again.

Traditionally, you follow the vegetable with a rice dish and they came up with a real twist to the usual suspect, a <Baked Crispy Fried Rice with Seafood in Baby Pumpkin> comes with a whole baby pumpkin on our table filled with delicious morsels of seafood, which imbued the fried rice with some delicate flavours that were welcomed to add more dimension to what is usually a very simple dish. A welcome twist if ever there was one.

Dessert was beckoning, but alas, our stomachs were full and we took our time to slowly sip our tea while reflecting on this wonderful repast. Every dish had its own ‘vessel’ for presentation to create a unique look for every menu item that was served and presented, plus the garnish was always different and thus the presentation throughout the whole meal was superb and created a ‘WOW’ effect that you don’t often find in a Cantonese restaurant. The Chef and his team really do show a mastery of cooking with a twist, while still displaying the classic elements that you come to expect in any good Cantonese restaurant. Lai Heen is where you opt for a real good Haute Cantonese Cuisine while dining high – on the 51st Floor. The food here is well deserved for those who truly know and appreciate the Cantonese gastronomy heritage.

Tried & Tested:
Location: 4.5/5
Design & Decor: 5/5
Food & Beverage: 5/5
Service: 4/5
Value For Money: 4/5

Prawn Toast
Crab Claws

Estrada da Baia da Nossa
Senhora da Esperanca, s/n
Cotai, Macau
Tel: +853 8886 6868

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