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Could this be the most beautiful dining room in Macau? Robuchon au Dôme, hosted on the 43rd floor of the elaborate Grand Lisboa, is a gleaming paragon of pulchritude, all crystal and gold set in a way that stops short of the overly ostentatious. The “dome” is the circular room set at the apex of the casino hotel, and the effect is that we half-expect the view to rotate as we dine. The restaurant, of course, stays still so that we have the sweeping north-facing vista of Macau to feed our eyes between courses. Stepping into the dining room following two separate lift journeys – in between the two, you’ll float past the restaurant’s legendary wine cellar – you’re met with a dramatic crystal chandelier that soars high above a grand piano, and a view of the restaurant’s signature bread and dessert trolleys.
Fans familiar with Robuchon will find comfort in the menu, which offers many of the chef’s greatest hits. Yet when combined with the extraordinary setting, the visual impact of the plate seems amplified. This year, we were most impressed by the treatment given to a number of seafood dishes, a testament to the kitchen’s deft hand. An appetiser titled Les Saveurs Iodées presents the best of the sea in a small and elegant triptych: abalone and baby artichokes (their toothsome textures in verisimilitude) with a parsley foam, sea urchin cream in a delicate wasabi emulsion, and sweet battered prawns with a citrus dipping sauce. Then there’s the famous L’Amadaï, a riot of textures; the crisp fish scales contrast with the tender baby artichokes, and the black truffle coulis is an indulgent accompaniment to the mild-tasting fish. Try as we may, it’s always difficult to resist the dessert trolley when it ambles over – the perfect choux pastries, the golden rum baba, the light-as-clouds île flottante often conspire against our waistlines. But as we tell ourselves: if you find yourself all the way out here, up in the air in this most stunning of restaurants, never leave with any regrets.
There are few wine lists as formidable as that at the Grand Lisboa’s Robuchon au Dôme, which is also shared with its sister establishment, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Hong Kong. Wines can be ordered either from a number of massive leather-bound books or, rather less cumbersomely, on an iPad. For oenophiles, it makes for an exhaustive read, with helpful Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator scores – and there are very few below 90 points, it has to be said.
The floor staff are trained in the art of French savoir-faire, and introduce each diner to this milk-and-honey world with efficiency and warmth. (It’s worth noting, too, that each staff member’s lapel carries a country flag denoting the languages they speak.) Like their sister team in Hong Kong, staff are well versed in the intricacies of the wine tome – an unparalleled resource – and make several well-judged recommendations based on our preferences and food selections.
A meal for two with wine and service will easily clock in at over MOP4,000 at dinner; lunch offers a good value set menu, and you can enjoy the Robuchon treatment for a fraction of the price.