Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bene Italian Truffles Menu - [ Sheraton Hotel, Macau ]

 Got invited over by Macau Sheraton Hotel for an overnight stay and to sample their Winter limited Truffles Tasting meal,  with a mix between both Alba White Truffles as well as Black Truffles.   This is a hotel I have recently been to stay overnight for dozens of times whenever I come over to Macau,  my old favourite used to be Venetian Hotel but that is now a little worn out although very spacious,  so either here or Conrad or Holiday Inn are my top choices nowadays.   Bene Italian also happens to be one of my favourite Italian Restaurants in Macau and I must have dined here personally at least 7-8 times,  provided I didn’t lose too much money at the table games lol,  which does happen.     



Focaccia Bread,  Grissini and a Crispy Bread -
The oven baked Focaccia is studded with rosemary,  olives and semi-dried tomatoes and was exceptional.   I have been to Bene inside Sheraton many times,  and despite a change of bread dip options these days,  this bread and the lovely grissini were even more exceptional than before somehow.   Loved them.   ~ 9/10



White Truffles from Alba Italy and Italian Black Truffles.  Stored with Carnaroli Risotto rice -
The black truffles will eventually shift to the French Perigord version when it is ripe for the season.

Amuse Bouche -
Pumpkin Puree and Foam with Black Truffle,   Foie Gras and Figs Sandwich,  Salmon and Caviar in a spoon.    Part of the Truffles Tasting meal.    Loved the slightly winey foie gras sandwich with figs the most.  ~ 7.5/10



2010 Dog Point Section 94,  Marlborough,  New Zealand - 
100% Sauvignon Blanc
A starter Wine to begin the night.   Not as green vegetal as Textbooks would have you to believe,  this was quite citrusy and surprisingly carried a French oak barrel flavour within. 

Slow cooked Egg with Taleggio Cheese fonduta,
Winter Wild Mushrooms and shaved Italian Black Truffle -

The combination of Porcini,  Chanterelles and shaved Black Truffles made it an earthy dish,  the cheese and egg combination was always going to be pleasing.    ~ 8/10


Meroi Chardonnay, Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy -
A small producer,  this was definitely the most elegant wine and my favourite.   It had a floral and honey note with a stone fruits flavour.    Opened up ever so slightly as it went from cool to room temperature.    A lovely wine. 


Seared Hokkaido Scallops, Chestnuts and purée, Pancetta, Rosemary.
Topped with Alba White Truffle -
The plump scallops were caramelized seared perfectly and still rare in the middle,  although 1 scallop was better than the other which was under-caramelized.    I personally found the pancetta to be slightly distracting and over-powering the subtlety of the scallops,  so I ended up eating them separately.  May be it is only me.   The White Truffles had a nice fresh aroma,  and with the Chestnut presented 2 ways as bits and puree it complemented the dish well enough especially with some rosemary leaves.    ~ 8/10

White Truffle Carnaroli Risotto, with Jerusalem Artichokes 2 Ways and shaved White Truffles. The Black Truffle 4 Course Dinner is MOP/HKD $628, White Truffle a $290 supplement -
My favourite dish of the night.   Jerusalem artichokes aren’t actually real artichokes as I pointed out before,  they are more like Sunflower tubers.   Here it is served both diced and as fried chips,  the risotto rice below was cooked just below All’onda wavey state,  which seems to be a current world trend but risotti back in the days carried less liquid and were more firm.   Amazing fragrance and depth here.   ~ 9/10


Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne Brut, Champagne, France
Another very small producer of Champagne,  but that is located just slightly outside the famous regions and the big boys from like Reim and Epernay.    Personally speaking,  many of the Petillants, sparkling Vouvray,  Cremante,  or lesser known Champagnes are equally as good as each other.   But that is just me.   I have previously drank very sophisticated Prosecco from Italy and even Spanish Cavas too.   They are mostly aperitifs in European culture,  so if you think you can afford to pay a premium just for big names,  it’s your own choice.  To me this is more a cultural thing rather than always picking the pricier drinks to show off.  Sad smile



Venison with Black Truffles,  Chanterelles and Cream,  Jus –
The Italian sous Chef comes from Sicily but grew up in the Alps region,  hence this dish was not un-expected especially during the Autumn-Winter period.   Venison is hard to cook by default,  I used to cook it myself in Australia where it is also common.   You either wrap it around Bacon or lard them properly with fat injections,  even a certain Michelin 3 Star restaurant I visited in Paris got it pretty wrong before despite all their other recipes being perfectly sublime.  Here this was done right and the jus and puree lubricated it well,  and the Chanterelles paired with it precisely.   ~ 7/10



2011 Oakridge Guerin Vineyard,  Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley, Victoria,  Australia -
I lived around this wine producing region for more than 20 years,  during recent years the tastes have changed a bit due to global warming.   This was made like the more cloudier Burgundy style with a rustic red cherry touch.   Good pairing with the above venison dish,  but sweeter than vintages before 2011 for me. 


2004 Vilmart & Cie,  Ratafia,  Champagne,  France -
This is a fortified wine.   This particular smaller bottle is imported exclusively to Sheraton Macau and instead of Pinot Meuniere,   is 100% made of Pinot Noir grapes.   Fermentation is stopped by adding Cognacs or Brandy and this totally reminds me of other French regional drinks like Pineau des Charentes,  Eau de Vie or Floc de Gascogne,  all of which I love but not too popular outside of France.  The Ratafia is extra special in that this half fermented drink actually preceded current day Champagne making,  before the latter became more popular and well-known since it has a higher profit margin and prestige in the Champagne region. 


Piedmont Gianduia Parfait,  Hazelnut and Black Truffle with a Dacquoise base -
Surprisingly a very satisfying dessert.   Apparently Restaurateurs and PR Persons find me pretty harsh on my critiques,  but sorry to say I have eaten at too many great restaurants to compare them with.   I hardly eat desserts in HK or Macau context,  but this particular dessert had the right balance in hazelnut,  chocolate and truffle flavour.   Pity I was too full to polish off more than half of it.  Kinda regretting it as I am such a small eater than what my iPhone or Camera can eat.   At least it will be part of my memories    ~ 10/10




Price:  MOP or HKD $628 per Person,  Additional $290 for White Truffles + 10% + Wines

Ease of Access:   4/5  (Inside Macao Sheraton Hotel.  Get off Ferry at Taipa Pier and take direct bus)
Food:   ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 
Meal was by Invitation by Sheraton Hotel,  Macau)

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun  - 11:00am - 23:00pm
Address: 路氹城聖母灣大馬路喜來登金沙城中心地下大堂
Lobby, Sheraton Macao Hotel, Cotai Central, Coloane-Taipa, Macau.
Ph: (853) 8113 1200

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