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Located on the ground floor of the VIP lobby of MGM Grand Hotel; vast marble caverns lead to a windowless restaurant with tiered seating and secretly hidden private rooms, creating a lively but intimate dining experience. A dramatic carved Chinese pillar anchors the room, around which comfortable spaced tables are adorned with white porcelain tableware. The clatter of staff busily weaving between tables adds to the sense of pleasure from chatting diners; a contemporary feel to match the blend of modernity and classical Cantonese food served.
Imperial Garden focuses on food; the excellence of the chef’s is immediately apparent when parcels of food are presented; courageously updating classic Cantonese dishes with modern twists that entice the diner but stay true to the essence of the original. Nan Xiang dumplings reflect this passion; a fine dumpling filled with a fragrant sauce and elegantly seasoned pork simply evaporates in a fury of flavour on the tongue; while the house speciality of barbecued goose liver and pork skewers are an indulgent fantasy of flavour.The succulent char siu sandwiched between delicately sliced and seared goose liver is exquisite and the flavours complement one another perfectly, a fusion of modern and classic Cantonese cuisine. Wok-fried prawns with chilli and shallots is a familiar dish; yet when the ingredients are fresh and combined with the chef’s deep understanding of flavour and texture, one is presented with a fragrant and elegant plate. The sweetness of the shallots balance the spiciness of the chilli; all infused into the perfectly cooked prawn make this familiar dish, outstanding. A simple request for gai lan (Chinese kale) saw a bowl of crisp steamed vegetable infused with an understated fragrant essence of ginger. It is a good counterpoint to the more heavy, deep-fried pork spare ribs with osmanthus sauce. The superbly cooked baby back ribs fall from the bone and are coated in an almost tempura-style batter, while the osmanthus sauce is aromatic and raises the dish to an elegant feast best eaten with the fingers; a dish that is literally, finger-licking good.
An extensive hotel wine list is available featuring some of the world’s finest and rarest vintages; selections by the glass are also available as is a wide and inviting range of Chinese teas,giving guests ample opportunity to taste the regions of China.
A pleasant greeting at reception is carried through to an abundance of staff all eager to please. When a dish is not known, a frantic search for someone to explain it is speedily resolved. Tea is constantly refilled and plates are never left to linger long after they are swapped for fresh, clean ones. Overall, Imperial Court delivers pleasant service with a smile.
A meal for two with premium tea will cost around MOP1100, Imperial Court offers exotic dishes that can, if you wish, see you spending multitudes of this amount. Dim sum is reasonably priced and for the quality, service and ambience, probably one of the best value lunches in Macau.