- Mandarin Oriental, Avenida Dr Sun Yat Sen, NAPE, Macau www.mandarinoriental.com/macau
Breakfast Buffet, Mandarin Oriental, Macau. At 6:20 am I’m already there. Staring at them while they set up endless stations of food is both a pleasure and tease.
In the attempt to pass by unnoticed, I fill a plate with the nearest things. It so happens they are pan fried noodles, roasted fish and sliced tomatoes.
It’s not quite what I crave in the morning, but I devour it nonetheless. The luscious vegetables explode with flavor in my mouth.
As the waitress, Linda, catches my presence, she kindly seats me and offers me tea in a tall stainless steel pitcher.
Geronomo, the chef, is looking at me from the Dim Sum station. “I’m in your hands,” I tell him. Using the tongs, he throws an assortment of rice and spinach noodles, vegetables and meat into the boiling water.
Three minutes later, he hands me my bowl. “What sauce do you recommend?”. “Chinese people eat this,” he says, pointing to a red chili sauce. “Very spicy, very good.” I’m nervous.
I stir the concoction to dilute the flavor. Of the four dumplings, I try the beef first. Suspicious. It’s too salty and I can’t tell what part of the animal I’m eating. The prawn and the fish ones are good, delicate and fresh; but the seafood is my favorite. Its salty shell is a nice compliment to the Chilean spice.
When I’m finished, I’m ready for Dim Sum (a separate station filled with treasures). “One of everything,” I say. Geronomo fills my plate. Two more sauces tag along, Satay (a peanut glaze) and Lea & Perrins, made of Worcestershire. I pour it on the beef: extremely bitter and sour. I put it down. The chef warned me to stick with the chili.
The chicken and rice, wrapped in seaweed, is excellent. The protective cover is unforgiving, but once breached, savory. The vegetable dumpling is light, squishy. The last one, pork with crab meet, is extremely particular, a nice coercion of flavors to finish off the helping. It’s a good thing I like salt.
I take a breather and sip ongreen cucumber juice. It’s refreshing, with a hint of musk.
Time for dessert. “Don’t miss the Lemon Cake,” Geronomo tells me. I take two, just in case, and stock the rest of my plate with some other sweet samples and a side of sauces: a raspberry and rosewater jam, an orange marmalade and a thick Australian honeycomb.
The Lemon Cake is moving. Its tartness mixed with the raspberry jam is to die for. I try every combination of cake and marmalade and return for my favorite. The Danish Apple Crisp, when assisted with the orange chutney, which is stuffed with real chunks of fruit, is on another level.
The Banana Bread Pudding, has a delicate, wet center; it tastes like a brandy cake but it’s made with melted carmel.
After asking the staff my usual 1,000 questions, I am ready to go.
It’s nearly 8:00 am.
It would have been better if… I had stayed there all day.