There is always a bit of a debate that goes on in my mind when it comes to Macau - stick with Fernando's (only reasonable food but in a great atmosphere) or risk trying somewhere else that might not have that chilled al fresco experience that seems to sum up Macau. This time - due to my inability to persuade my hungover body to board a ferry - I missed the Fernando's lunchtime visit and caught up with everyone for dinner at Restaurante Litoral. It's not got the atmosphere that Fernando's has but it's a quaint restaurant with a distinctive Macanese style and - more importantly - the food is much better.
The star of the show was definitely the clams which were beautifully cooked and in this simply delicious soup, full of fresh herbs, onion and garlic. I could have eaten that all night, particularly once the sangria started to flow!
The fried prawns 'Litoral style' were beautifully cooked. I found the sauce a bit too unnatural and sticky sweet but the prawn underneath was delicious.
In reverse, the sauce on the African chicken (a sort of peanut satay experience) was great but it must have been the smallest chicken in the world because there was virtually no meat on it at all. Our final dish was baked pork chop rice which was serious comfort food.
So the key question: is it going to replace Fernando's as my go-to place? It's undoubtedly got better food and is full of locals, rather than Hong Kong tourists... but there is something rather nice about the chilled al fresco atmosphere of Fernando's. Difficult to call...
There’s no getting round it, The Venetian in Macau is nuts. Brilliant but nuts.
It would be perfectly possible to pass a whole weekend without leaving the confines of the hotel itself, the shopping mall and gigantic casino but with its fake Italian skies and dimming lights reflecting the changes in the time of day, I would be slightly concerned for the mental state of anyone who achieved such a feat. With this very much in mind, E.L., J.M. and I decided that a chilled dinner at Fernandos would be a good pre-emptive strike on our first night in Macau. Fernandos is a bit of an establishment with its laid-back atmosphere and home-cooked feel to the food. One of my friends said that opinions are quite divided: usually, gweilos think it’s great and HK locals can’t see what the fuss is all about. I think the problem for HK locals (who, from my observations, tend not to be red wine fiends) is that Fernandos is as much about the complete relaxation of waiting in the courtyard with a bottle of red wine until a table comes free as it is about the food. It is a fantastic contrast to the craziness of Hong Kong, providing a chilled atmosphere that none of the al fresco restaurants in Hong Kong come close to providing.
By the time we were served (roughly in time for last orders at 9.30pm), we were thoroughly relaxed but close to starving. The clams “Fernando’s style” had been recommended by S.J. and were as good as promised (as well as being generously sized in terms of portion). The other highlight was definitely the beef stew with potatoes, not necessarily for the meat (which was beautifully cooked) but for the sauce which was great for dipping the huge chunks of bread we were given in. I wasn’t so fussed by the prawns fried with garlic which were just not as interesting in comparison with the other two dishes. The cooking was very much “home cooking style” with simplicity at the core and all in all, it was a wonderful way to spend the evening.
Having drunk a few too many cocktails at the Bellini Lounge in The Venetian (watching some extremely miserable-looking people gambling), we decided that we needed something vaguely healthy for lunch. We chose Roka with its emphasis on grilled food but then completely destroyed our good intentions by ordering the all-you-can-eat grilled and tempura option. The food was fantastic, with extremely delicate tempura batter and such variety to the grilled options - from grilled cuttlefish to aubergine, from beef to chicken yakitori. In particular, the miso soup was magnificent, a real highlight. The restaurant itself is beautifully designed with a fantastic white ceiling and a huge central kitchen area, around which you can choose to sit if you want. Even the service was good. Full marks to Roka, particularly at the weekend set lunch prices!
Praia de Hac Sa, 9
Tel: +853 2888 2264 (but no reservations - last orders 9.30)