Jade Dragon review date September 2, 2015
Macau’s City of Dreams has morphed into something of a go-to destination, partly thanks to the House of Dancing Water, Franco Dragone’s extraordinary performance spectacle mixing aquatic high-wire gymnastics…with motorbikes. If you haven’t yet, you really should. Another show Taboo is, as the name would suggest, apparently quite a lot fruitier.Octane-fuelled acrobatics aside, there’s another very compelling reason to hit it up: no less than three Michelin-starred restaurants under one roof. Quietly and confidently – and obviously bankrolled by gaming revenues – it’s become one of the foremost dining destinations in Greater China.
The three restaurants across very different cuisines all currently hold one star, but if my recent meals there are anything to go by, then the Michelin inspectors may well be set to increase their allocation.
Jade Dragon was the first I visited, for lunch, following an invitation from the City of Dreams marketing folks. Under chef Tam Kwok Fung, the menu melds the contemporary with the classic, to great effect. As you’d expect, the restaurant is designed with the ethos of money-no-object, meaning gilt, crystal and jade at every turn.
First up, a selection of dimsum: A Jade Dragon dumpling with lobster and prawn, a steamed Kagani Crabmeat dumpling like a xiao lon bao and an Australian M8 Wagyu beef puff in the silkiest pastry imaginable, layers of which made contours.
Kegani crabmeat, from the frozen waters of the Sea of Okhotsk, re-appears in the second dish of hot and sour soup. This is more often than not a go-to for non Chinese palates, compared with the “Double-boiled Dendrobium and Hyacinth Bean, Barley and Yellow Squash Soup with Pork”. It was the mix of botanical and Latin names which didn’t inspire me to the latter, but the former was the best Chinese soup I can recall. When you have access to such stellar ingredients, you let them do the talking:
As indeed with the next dish of steamed garoupa with egg white in a sauce made with 20-year-old ”Hua Diao” wine. I’ve written before about the textural interplay and ‘mouthfeel’ in Chinese cuisine which sometimes escapes me, but when it tastes this good, all that seems irrelevant.Take top grade A4 Kobe beef and flambé. Nothing more is needed. A little tin foil pocket adds culinary theater while it cooks:
A signature of deep-fried Fine de Claire oyster, Brittany’s finest, feels more Japanese than Chinese but is still great eating.Braised vegetable with fish maw, Azuaga ham and winter melon ring in a beetroot chicken broth was one of the most beautifully-plated Chinese dishes I can remember, even if savoury melon is always a bit lost on me: Jade Dragon signature fried rice with prawn, shrimp, conpoy and roasted goose was as good as it sounds, the telltale sign of great fried rice by all the grains remaining distinct, rather than clumping together.To finish an excellent lunch, a dessert I genuinely loved. I can’t recall ever saying that in a Chinese restaurant. It’s a very clever take on the almond soups and creams, here a crème brûlée with bird’s nest and honey, served curiously in a teapot. Tea accompanied lunch but there’s a quality wine and champagne list and a number of forthcoming events, including a champagne salon on October 5th with Didier Depond. It’ll be intriguing to see how his serious bubbles sit with Cantonese cuisine.
Jade Dragon, Level 2, The Shops at The Boulevard, City of Dreams https://www.cityofdreamsmacau.com/dining/chinese/jade-dragon