Thursday, February 17, 2011

Beijing Kitchen 滿堂彩 (Macau)

Peking Duck

After my recent visit to Beijing Kitchen (滿堂彩) at Grand Hyatt Macau, it marked the end of my Hyatt's Peking Duck journey at three distinct locations across the Greater China region, namely, Sha Tin 18 (沙田18) at Hyatt Regency Hong Kong as well as Made in China (长安壹号) at Grand Hyatt Beijing. All 3 restaurants specializes in what we commonly known as Beijing cuisine 京菜 which is heavily influenced by Shandong cuisine 魯菜, the technically correct reference as to one of the Chinese Four or even Eight Regional Cuisines. I will leave this topic to a future post, for the time being I will focus on Peking duck. So in addition to the same cuisine specialization, all the 3 restaurants of different geographic locations have almost the SAME decor, same utensils and the identical semi-open kitchen design. Talk about uniformity and consistency ... except on the services aspects which I will shamelessly write about in details because I had two cups of coffee at 9pm and I am pretty awake now at 3:10am!


Beijing Kitchen

A little side information I like to share on Cotai Strip which is "the casino and tourism project in the Cotai District, Macau as inspired by the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, USA on a considerably smaller scale," accordingly to wikipedia. That I know from the over abundance of news on how Macau is becoming the casino capital of the East and even surpassed Las Vegas Strips in terms of gambling revenue. Enough of that because I am more interested in something more ... interesting per se? Reference wikipedia again, "Cotai is a portmanteau of the names of the two islands, Taipa Island and Coloane Island," which was linked initially up by a very narrow two-lane road of reclaimed land some years ago. With the narrow two-lane road of reclaimed land in between the two islands, it naturally blocks, yes  BLOCKS one of the branches of the Pearl River, affecting the current flow. The reclaimed two-lane road formed a natural barrier to the one of the branches of Pearl River where sediments rest. In other words, overtime the sediments built up and naturally formed the land around the Cotai Strip region. Yes, "technically" the so-called reclaimed land was a deed by nature without much cost to anyone. Of course further work must be done before construction can be done on those "reclaimed" land but the foundation and most costly part was result of natural sedimentation. Maybe it is just me but operating such lucrative business as casino on a naturally formed "reclaimed land" is both very smart yet ironic in a sense right? Alright, enough with my side information, time to get back to food! :)

Interior

As mentioned by HK Epicurus in his wonderful review of this place earlier, one of the key difference between this Macau (and Beijing) outlet vs the Hong Kong one is the use of real fruit wood to roast the Peking duck. Made in China (长安壹号) at Beijing may or may not use the particular Lychee Wood because I simply forgot or was too subtle to notice at that time for my taste bud, but there IS a significant difference in terms of flavor if it is roasted by wood vs gas.

Chef at Work

Where they get their wood from is really not my concern but accordingly to sources the fruit wood used was apple wood. The Peking Duck arrived quite fast and the chef, after a brief introduction with a smile, started to do its magic with the knife.

Peking Duck

Similar to the other two outlets, the Peking Duck was served so-called "Beijing" style in three distinct dishes of different cut. The first being the crispy skin only which you can dip in the sugar for a mouth-watering sensation in a literal sense thanks to the fat in the skin perhaps. :) ... if you want to test your taste buds for the subtle yet key flavors of roasting by wood, the skin is would be the easiest to distinguish or detect in my opinion.

Peking Duck

Second dish was the meat only which lacked duck flavor for some reasons. I should have asked where they got their duck from.

Peking Duck

You can start to play with the neatly folded crepes to go with the meat or ...

Thin Pancakes

... the skin + meat dish which I preferred.

Peking Duck

The rest of the duck can either be prepared into a soup or deep fried with salt and pepper. We opted for the salt and pepper method and it came out quite good, not as overly salty as the one we tried at Sha Tin 18 in Hong Kong. Quite perfect to go with beer I would say.

Fried Duck

The meal basically ended after the duck (before the salt and pepper fried duck pieces) because it was downhill from that point on ... unfortunately. The Wood (apple wood) fire roasted honey glazed pork (char siu) was fairly dry, okay too dry!

Applewood Smoked BBQ Pork

Sweet and Sour fish was ... rather weak in terms of flavors with the size of the fish rather small compared with those I had before. Up to this moment I still don't understand why they use fruits to put on top of the fish, for decoration or taste which actually made it worst. Just keep it simple please.

Sweet and Sour Fish

Sauteed Bitter Melon and Fresh Fungus can be a very good choice for those health conscious individuals because flavor was quite bland, a sign of little or no sodium added. *note to self: healthy with no sodium right?*

Vegetables

The Sauteed Ox Tail with Black Pepper Sauce looked decent and flavor was alright as well but not tender enough as in overly firm to the bite.

OX tail

Just from the color at the bottom of the fried dumplings, one may assume them being overcooked and one would be right! The bottom was a bit burnt.

Fried Dumplings

Pan-fried Minced Beef Pancake was fair with a crunchy exterior and flavorful fillings I have to admit but those who get the end pieces would have been unlucky (ie: me) because it was technically empty of any minced beef. Either it was the problem at preparation or it was the cutting skills. Sigh ...

Beef Pancake

Did I mention about the services? Well it started off with the booking mix up but due to the fact it was the Chinese New Year period I was cool about it. For a party of 10 we were assigned a long table. For some of the dishes, we places two orders so both ends of diners can reach easily and have enough to share. A few of the waitstaff placed BOTH identical dishes on ONE single side of the long table, repeatedly as well. What else? This is a hotel establishment, a fine dining joint I can safely assume but our plates were never replaced with clean ones even they were filled with bones from the ox tail, fish and duck pieces! 5-star service redefine? I am not being picky here but I am just stating the obvious in relative terms for establishment of such standard! Among the 3 outlets mentioned, I have to say Hong Kong has the best services while I prefer the duck from Beijing.

Likes:
  • the use of wood to roast the peking duck 

Dislikes:
  • sub-par service 
  • wood fire honey glazed pork a little bit too dry 

Avg Spending: MOP 200 - 300 per person

Beijing Kitchen 滿堂彩 (Macau)
1/F, City of Dreams,
Estrada do Istmo, Cotai, Coloane-Taipa
Tel: +853 8868 1234






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5 comments:

gastronomous said...

man... now i have to get me some peking duck!it looks wonderful

baobabs said...

stunning photos!!! My favourite haunts for duck is Duck de Chine, da dong, made in china and the under rated huang ting at peninsula!

Anthony said...

Thanks for your post.

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kitchen units said...

I love the peking duck. Those are nice shots as well, making the colors really stand out.

Jason said...

@Kitchen Units: it is worth a try indeed!

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