2016's Top 20 Restaurants: The Tasting Room
All eyes are on Cotai these days, with the opening of Studio City—the celebrity-saturated City of Dreams project that has roped in the combined power of Robert de Niro, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. On an autumn visit to The Tasting Room, about a month away from the grand opening, we could just see in the distance the final touches being put on the imposing building, a new glittering behemoth that will play host to even more luxury boutiques, world-renowned restaurants, and all manner of gloss and glamour. Crown Towers, the sophisticated luxury hotel within which chef Guillaume Galliot’s restaurant resides, seemed positively demure in comparison.
Now just over three years old, the restaurant has the air of a seasoned film star itself, confident in its presentation and the role it has to play. Staff move smoothly through the set, a dining room that is as pretty as a pearl with its dramatic rope-and-lightbulb centrepiece and soft, ocean-coloured furnishings. The menu is well rehearsed, with a few excellent signatures and some exciting ad-libbed additions to the tasting menu inspired by the season’s bounty.
Chef Galliot heeds special attention to ingredients that speak of the moment, so as the summer dwindled down we bid farewell to his favourite tomatoes and greeted heartier dishes such as pigeon (cooked daringly rare) with wild mushrooms and a pumpkin saffron cream. Preceding this was the crowd favourite: contemporary-style French onion soup, which plays on textures and temperatures thanks to the cool onion ice cream and hot, steamy onion soup. This time, we also enjoyed the chef’s witty nod to the classic American autumn campfire favourite: S’mores, deconstructed into an elegant dessert comprising a rich chocolate and caramel block with graham cracker ice cream and toasted marshmallows.
A sublime wine list, from which an all-star cast of heavy hitters (an impressive first-growth vertical collection of Château Mouton Rothschild, for example) coexist with boutique labels, plays another role in The Tasting Room’s continued success. From beginning to end, a meal here unfolds at an excellent pace, leaving you satiated but not uncomfortably full.
Changes are certainly afoot in Macau, with the city rising up in ways that were previously unimaginable. One thing is for sure—as long as chef Galliot continues to do what he does best, this restaurant will certainly live long and prosper.
The Tasting Room, Level 3, Crown Towers, City of Dreams, Estrada do Istmo, Cotai, Macau; +853 8868 6681