Friday, November 22, 2013

Casa de Tapas - ( Macau )

 Have you been to the Michelin rated Antonio Portuguese restaurant before?   I have and that restaurant recently re-located to a more accessible area in Taipa 氹仔,  in Macau.   Casa de Tapas is owned by the same investors and Spanish food is the focus here.   How convenient that both their Portuguese restaurant and Spanish restaurant are adjacent to each other  -  just like the two countries in real life!! 



Red Sangria -
I drank a lot of sangrias lately.   Some look prettier than others,  but I have to say this one was on the better side.   It had depth and fruit taste,  although it seemed more citrus based and less apples.  


Prawn Tartare with Fried Prawn Heads – $120
This was quite good actually as it had plenty of subtle herbs and olive oil,  also chunkily hand diced which requires a lot more effort.   The fried prawn heads added a 2nd dimension.   ~  7/10




Ajillo Prawns,  Olive Oil Tempered,  Roasted Garlic and Puree with White Wine Jelly and Seaweed & Salted-Fish sand.  $88
Interesting combination of flavours.   I know Red Prawns are much more expensive,  but Casa de Tapas’s Spanish Chef believes in sourcing locally to reduce carbon food print whenever possible.  I love chefs who share this same belief and he certainly makes up for it in recipe.   ~  8/10



Olive Oil stuffed Squid -  $75
Quite fun as more heavily flavoured diced squids wwere placed on top of the squid-calamari  itself.   I really liked this dish for it’s taste and it was probably my favourite during the lunch.   ~  9/10




Pincho Moruno Lamb skewers -  $85
Came with some crunchy curled potatoes and onion confit.  To me I think the lamb was cooked at too low a temperature to have a charred crust and hence more flavour.  Although this was subtly cumin spiced and herbed.   ~  6/10




Cold Gazpacho Soup with raw Tomato,  Onion, Pepper and Cucumber -  $65
This looked so pretty and even came with different flavoured jellies on the side and a crispy bread stick.   The middle of the cold soup deviates a bit from tradition,  which is usually served with chunkier raw ingredients.   Interesting re-interpretation. ~  8/10




Light Zucchini and Parsley Cream,  Prawns,  Salmon Calviar and Mint Air -  $80
Another winner and so Spanish molecular almost.   I really enjoyed the rich zucchini and parsley cream base…   Presentation wise it’s not quite 22 Ships standards but I liked the taste   ~  8/10 




Breads with Olive Oil -
Actually these were really crisp outside but soft in the middle,  I really liked them and it’s so unique,  it reminds me of the texture of Macau’s 豬仔包!  And the EVOO has more herbs added in,  a nice touch.




Spanish Jamon,  Poached Egg and Potato Strings,  with a mix of Vegetables -  $155
The Jamon hams were slightly heated up first to give the fatty bits a translucent look,  appreciated and I have seen it at a few places in Spain but Anada in Melbourne also does similar:  Anada.   On Hong Kong side a small shop in Tai Hang also does it.   What’s not to love about a soft poached egg thrown into the mix?    ~  9/10




Cochinillo Suckling Pig with Sauteed then Crusted Apples -  $238
It has a crispy enough skin but not fragrant in your face enough but portion wise acceptable for the price point,   but can be even better and it didn’t have much meat.   But unlike some other competitors,  at least it came with some thickened Pork jus which I don’t understand why half the shops serve a totally dry version in Hong Kong or Macau…  That pork jus is where half of the essence went into     ~  7/10




Seafood Marisco Paella – $358 for 2 people
Have tried quite a few local paellas lately,  and I will give here credit for having lots of seafood.   Blighted by the supposedly dried soccarat layer being too wet however,  and despite the abundance of seafood presence,  it was missing some seafood essence taste compared to those I ate in Spain or say Fadango in HK,  or even Boqueria.   Could do with more saffron too.    ~  6.5/10      




Eye Ball Dessert -
This was during Halloween period and with the Bony biscuits,   it was quite creative and festive.  Kudos to the Spanish head chef for thinking this up !!   It actually tasted quite nice with a berries sauce.. 





Another Halloween Dessert -
They looked like the X-Wing fighters out of Star Wars. 
Mostly chocolaty and with sugar crystals.




Spanish Cheese Cold Parfait,  Liquor Almond Crackers and Honey – $75
A signature dessert here. 
Balanced and cold,  I think everyone enjoyed this although I couldn’t get more than a few drops of leftovers to try and judge properly… 


Cooking Demo:  Razor Clams dish which I had a hand at Chopping up the Veggies -
The razor clams are bought from local Macanese fish markets daily during the morning.   Why import in Spanish or Scottish Razor Clams,  when they are so fresh here too and reduces carbon footprint and probably tastes better?     This is one of the spirits of Spanish cuisine indeed.  Eat local. 


Spanish Laughing Gor  -
I like Laughing 哥 ’s approach to treating food and it is entertaining all the way.  
The pricing policy is decent,  and within the business constraints and margins he has to work within,   I think he had more potential than he can show here.   With his daring culinary techniques and exploratory recipes,  I think he has hidden potential to be one of the more exciting chefs in Macau and is almost rebellious.   Totally up my alley.. 


Casa de Tapas -
It was quite a journey and we saw more ups than downs for sure.
Compared to the newer Spanish openings in Hong Kong,  I actually think their Laughing Gor lookalike Spanish Chef has passion and his own concepts,  also what I call a 鬼才 chef in Cantonese.  Hopefully he is given the environment to thrive and shine at the next culinary level but right now this place is niche and very likeable..   



Price:   (Meal was hosted to us and try out Casa de Tapas in Macau)
Food:   ♕♕♕♕  – ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Ease of Access:  3/5
Address:  氹仔舊城區木鐸街9號
9 Rua dos Clerigos, Taipa, Macau
Ph:  +853 2857 6626

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