My love of the Ritz-Carlton is well documented and well known, and those feelings also extend to its gorgeous Chinese restaurant Lai Heen, located in the luxurious environs of the 51st Floor.
A recipient of 1 Michelin star for four straight years now, it gets my vote as Macau’s preeminent venue for upscale Cantonese dining.
All of the things that put the Ritz-Carlton in a league of its own: the amazing attention to detail, the warm personalized service, the pursuit of excellence, carry over into Lai Heen as well, making it virtually impossible to go there and have a bad meal.
I thoroughly enjoyed three of their staple offerings: the Smoked Binkert with Carrots and Mushrooms ($68), Roasted Goose ($218) and Garoupa Fillet ($428). Now times change and menus evolve but there will always be some variation of these dishes available, and the Garoupa Fillet is much more appropriately priced now, only $258.
After trying it, I thought $428 was a little excessive, which is one of two reasons why Lai Heen has 4.5 stars and not 5. It was still a wonderful dish though, and I really enjoyed the sweet synergy between the XO sauce and soft fleshy meat of the fish.
The other reason for the downgrade was because the second appetizer was extremely disappointing, the Deep Fried Shrimp Toast for $108.
A very discordant dish, the garlic and chili didn’t mesh with the shrimp at all, of which there were only 3 tiny balls. It was also difficult to pick up and eat together, which is probably why it got scrapped and hasn’t been seen on the menu in years. Suffice to say, if it ever comes back, look the other way!
Except for the one misstep with the shrimp, everything else was amazing, with the Roasted Goose the best of the bunch.
Perhaps the best goose in town, the temperature they served it at was just right; the sweet and sour plum sauce the perfect foil to the expertly prepared meat.
The Smoked Binkert was another star, a bona fide taste explosion, succulent and moist, with ample texture and crunch.
All excellent examples of Michelin quality food, how Lai Heen only has 1 star I’ll never understand.
Besides the a la carte, Lai Heen also offers a couple of set meals that look very appealing, a 5 course set lunch for $498, and an evening Michelin Degustation menu for $2088, that comes with 8 courses. Wine for both meals costs extra – $128 for lunch (2 glasses) and $550 for dinner (5 glasses).
When you’re the signature restaurant in Macau’s most celebrated hotel, you need to check all the boxes and Lai Heen does just that.
So long as Head Chef Bill Fu stays in charge, I’ll continue to give Lai Heen my biggest endorsement.