Lanovab

(Last updated: June 30, 2024)

One of the most devastating parts of Covid was not being able to go to Cafe Bon Bon for more than three years.  Their desserts are simply to die for, and I couldn’t wait to swoon, dissolve and deliquesce over a Lavender Lemon Tart and Guava Raspberry once again.  After tracking down their new location in the St. Lazarus District, I was dismayed to see that it was no longer a restaurant, more a place to drink coffee, and all of the pastries, save for the Lemon Tart, were gone.  Before taking off, the manager told me not to despair though, that a new restaurant was in the works, and it would be opening soon in Taipa, at Nova Mall.

A couple of months later I was fortunate enough to be invited to Lanovab’s soft opening that took place in April 2024.

Betty Fung smiling at Lanovab
The Artisan, The Pastry Maker, The Darling Diva of Desserts

It was then that I finally got to meet the owner Betty Fung, who later graciously agreed to be interviewed for my “Chef Corner” segment, where we discussed her pastries, culinary journey, and favourite dishes at Lanovab.

With a patisserie degree from the esteemed Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, she’s a force to be reckoned with, and you absolutely must try her two top desserts: Lavender Lemon Tart ($68) and Tiramisu ($58).

Lanovab lavender lemon tart
Lavender Lemon Tart

The Lemon Tart is simply not of this world, capable of taking you to another time and place altogether.  Halfway through, I felt parts of my body start to liquefy into the table, my soul overcome by a sparkling rush of endorphins and serotonin.  Free flowing in a dreamy sea of bliss, I have no idea what H feels like, but how could it possibly be any better than that??

Lanovab tiramisu
Tiramisu

Suffice to say, both desserts were quickly reinstated on my hallowed list of 10 Can’t Miss Macau Dishes.

To celebrate Lanovab’s opening, Betty has introduced two new chocolate tarts, one using rum sourced from Fiji and the other the rolling hills of Speyside, Scotland, in the form of world renown Macallan whisky.

Lanovab fiji rum chocolate tart
Fiji Rum Chocolate Tart

Of the two, I found the Fiji Rum Tart ($58) more agreeable, with the Macallan Tart ($58) a touch too rich, heavy and peaty for my palate.  Perhaps something that only true single malt lovers will enjoy, I’ll just be sticking with the luscious Lemon Tart forever, until the end of the time.

Lanovab Macallan whisky chocolate tart
Macallan Whisky Chocolate Tart

Turning to the food menu, Lanovab specializes in Western-Asian fusion, with a team of dedicated chefs/advisors originating from Thailand, Malaysia, Portugal and Macau.  Most dishes are well above average, firmly in the 4 to 4.5 star range, the only issue being there often isn’t enough of it.

Lanovab interior seating

I joked to the manager that not only are the portion sizes designed for Asian women, but Asian women on diets.  If you compare what you get at Lanovab to many Portuguese and Chinese restaurants around town, where a bowl of something can feed a table, the difference is like night and day.  If they only gave a third more than they currently do, then Lanovab would be five stars all the way.  As it is, I was often left wanting more.

As for what to try, let’s start with the dishes that are mostly just spectacular.

Lanovab Portuguese cabbage soup
Caldo Verde Soup ($58)

Sometimes available for just $35 as a lunch add on, the Caldo Verde soup is exceptionally smooth, balanced, and brilliant.  I can’t think of a place in Macau that does it better, and basically all Portuguese restaurants serve it.

5 stars

Lanovab Gambas AI Garlic Shrimp
Gambas AI Garlic Shrimp ($128)

Very good starter, prepped in a light garlic and olive oil sauce. Fresh as all get out, it won’t disappoint.

4 stars

Lanovab Thai Style Pomelo Salad
Thai Style Pomelo Salad ($118)

I’m no expert on Thai food, but I think it’s pretty legit.  All kinds of sprite, kick, and zest coming from the coconut, lime juice, and various herbs and spices.  If this salad doesn’t tickle your taste buds, then they’re not alive!

4.5 stars

Lanovab tomato and chili garlic spaghetti
Tomato and Chili Garlic Spaghetti ($88)

A simple spaghetti, mostly using just olive oil, cherry tomato, and baked garlic.  Tasty to the nth degree, I just wish there was more of it!

4.25 stars

Lanovab smoked salmon linguine
Smoked Salmon Linguine ($108)

Very refreshing, with just the right amount of cream to complement the noodles.  The smoked salmon was a wise choice too, going really well with the linguine and sauce.  Could I just be given a little more of it please?

4.5 stars

No restaurant is going to be perfect across the board, and Lanovab is no exception.  Here are a few selections that maybe could be better.

Lanovab wild mushroom soup
Wild Mushroom Soup ($65)

Slightly weak sauce, I prefer a soup with more presence.  There was nothing rounding it off, no oomph, nothing leaving a mark. Pretty good texture and balance though.

3 stars

LaNovab Tom Yung Soup
Tom Yung Soup ($88)

One big bowl of hot, with far too much spice and burn.  I can’t recall if that’s how Tom Yung Soup is supposed to taste, but I personally prefer more nuance.

2.5 stars

Lanovab garden salad
Garden Salad ($68)

A big no for me, thanks to the balsamic sauce. Elaine Benes probably wouldn’t approve either, since it’s not a BIG salad. Also could benefit from having more “stuff”.

2.5 stars

Lanovab grilled salmon
Grilled Salmon ($148)

Toothpick thin serving that shows the worst side of Lanovab, in my opinion.  Perhaps the other half fell on the floor accidentally, so they didn’t want to give it to me?  Tasty for sure, where’s the rest of it?

3 stars

Lanovab Australian Wagyu Flank Steak
Australian Wagyu Flank Steak ($238)

Hard steak to judge, since I can see the merits.  For one, the meat is flown in from Australia and never frozen, so it’s extremely fresh.  Second, it’s a generous cut that the chef did right by.  I just prefer steak that’s slightly drier with more char, not so liquidy and moist.  For some parts, it felt like I was chewing on water, which obscured the taste of the meat somewhat.  However I also do know that some people enjoy steaks done this way.

3.5 stars for me, maybe 4.5 stars for others

Three other dishes are on my radar that I will report back on soon enough: Thai Style Green Curry Chicken with Rice ($128), Portuguese Seafood Rice ($128), and Pork Rack ($248).

There’s also an exciting new dessert to try, straight out of Proust novels and the Lorraine region of France.  I have no idea what a Madeleine is, other than a sponge cake that’s supposed to be buttery and slightly sweet.

Lanovab Madeleine
Madeleine

Looking quite scrumptious, I’ll probably pair it with Lanovab’s newest creation that’s out just for summer, a drink I never thought was possible.  I doubt you’re ready for it, so sit down if you’re not already.  It’s my great pleasure to introduce their latest, greatest signature cocktail, the Lavender Lemon Tart!!

lanovab lavender lemon tart cocktail
Lavender Lemon Tart Cocktail

Made with limoncello, lavender gin, and a bit of blended whisky, I wish someone would inject it straight into my veins right now.

Service is a big plus at Lanovab thanks to their crack team of Filipino waiters and waitresses.  Super polite and professional, they still remember how to smile, in stark contrast to quite a few servers around town who would rather drill nails into their toes than be courteous or bring you anything.

Lanovab exterior

The best value at Lanovab can be had at lunch, when sets cost just $78 to $118, and come with a free soft drink, soda, soy milk or hot lemon water. If you prefer coffee instead, add $20, while soup of the day is available for just $35.

Afternoon tea is on from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm daily, and is a rather straightforward affair.  Simply order any of their regular desserts and it comes served with tea.

Lanovab bar area

Breakfast is available all day for $108, consisting of eggs, beans, salad, bread, and veggies. Coffee can be added for $20, while Portuguese infusion tea is $35.

Be careful about ordering sides of rice, as they cost a staggering $28.  $10 is pretty standard around town, and they could probably make money if they charged $3 instead.  Given their portion sizes are pretty rough already, let’s hope they reconsider that price so that people leave Lanovab full, instead of having to head for the nearest McDonalds, Otta Bombana styles.

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