Address: Lobby, Sheraton Macao Hotel, Cotai Central, Estrada da Baía de N. Senhora da Esperança, s/n, Coloane-Taipa 路氹城望德聖母灣大馬路澳門喜來登金沙城中心酒店地下大堂
Telephone: +853 8113 1200
With the opening of many new hotels in Macau in these few years, the dining scene of Macau has been blessed with the addition of a range of fine, sophisticated restaurants that are located in these glitzy hotels. Sheraton Macao Hotel, opened in September 2012, is run by Starwood Hotels and Resorts which operates other internationally well-known brands, including Le Meridien, Westin and W Hotels.
Bene, an Italian restaurant on the ground floor of Sheraton Macao, is a spacious and lively restaurant that serves traditional Italian familial (or, they prefer calling it “mama” style) dishes that are meant to be shared by the family. The decor of the restaurant is spacious and elegant, complete with marble countertops, large floor to ceiling windows and a relaxing alfresco dining area. Despite its sumptuous set up, however, the restaurant is actually a “trattoria” (meaning an eatery serving simple dishes) – the staff are cheerful and attentive, the prices are budget-friendly and the generous portions are great for sharing.
I attended a media lunch to try out some dishes prepared by Chef Alfredo Russo, a brilliant chef from Italy who will be serving various innovative tasting menus at Bene from 28 July 2013 – 3 August 2013, at MOP 1,280 per person. Chef Alfredo Russo has worked at a range of Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy, and is a friendly and likable character who is particularly passionate about Italian family recipes.
We started our meal with one of Chef Alfredo’s most ingenious creations, an Oyster Ice Cream, at the bar area of the restaurant. Small scoops of ice creams were placed in oyster shells and eaten with a small spoon. The ice cream had the same colour as oysters, and tasted almost exactly identical too – except for the different temperature and texture. We admired the sea-fresh taste of this appetiser, which was enhanced by a drizzle of lemon juice and truffle oil.
Our “oysters” were, of course, paired with a glass of Prosecco!
Moving away from the bar area, we were then brought to our dining table and were swiftly served with a bread basket.
(1) Our first course on the menu was a pink salmon marinated with fresh celery leaves and celery root cream and laurel. Slow-cooked salmon has become a fascination of many restaurants; I have tried many different renditions of it, and this salmon was one of the most tender ones I have had. I also liked the lightness of the celery root cream, giving mild but excellent flavours which went very well with the salmon.
The salmon was paired with a glass of 2009 Vermentino di Toscana from the Casanova della Spinetta estate in Tuscany, Italy.
(2) The tortellini filled with white meats scented with lemon was my favourite dish at the meal. The wrapping was delicately thin and smooth, which matched the light flavours of the filling made with chicken meat and fish. A suitable amount of grated Parmesan added an enticing richness without overpowering the tortellinis’ flavours, and the refreshing scent of lemon lifted the dish and brought all the elements together.
(3) Next was the polenta with chanterelles, porcini mushrooms ragout and parmesan cheese fondue. The relative blandness of the polenta was complementary with the chanterelles and porcini mushrooms, giving room for their natural flavours to shine.
(4) The grilled seabass with onion in the ash showed off the kitchen’s skills in preparing fishes. Although the skin could have been crispier, the meat was cooked to perfection and flaked alluringly. The minimal seasoning of the dish was spot-on.
The seabass was paired with a glass of 2010 Lamuri d’almerita from Sicily.
(5) Clearly on form, Chef Alfredo kept up with the high standards and presented us with the roasted lamb shoulder with pink pepper and potato cream. The lamb was succulent and flavourful, but it was the potato cream that stole my heart – it was beaten until extra velvety, and unlike French mashed potatoes which are buttery and creamy, this one was smooth in an airy way – like gelato! The lamb was paired with a glass of 2011 Nebbiolo della Langhe from the Elio Grasso winery, doc piedmont, which had a good level of tannin to match the lamb’s robust flavours.
(6) The dessert was a gianduia parfait with hazelnut mousse and crunchy hazelnuts. Gianduia is a type of chocolate mixed with hazelnut paste in it. Some hazelnuts broke up the meltingly creamy textures of the gianduia parfait and hazelnut mousse, and the dessert was a combination of sublime flavours.
I rounded up the meal with a cup of latte, a rather obligatory drink for me everyday. The coffee’s aroma could have been stronger and the milk frothier, but it was good enough for me for an afternoon boost.
I made a new “friend” during my meal, and he is Sherman, Sheraton’s teddy bear (hmmm I might sound a bit like a loner with no real friends now…). You can find cartoons of Sherman’s adventures on Sheraton Macao’s Facebook page! 🙂